Making travel work for you: The top 4 jobs for wanderlusters

words Alexa Wang

If travel broadens the mind, why does it tend to limit your career chances? If the travel work dilemma is one you’ve struggled with, perhaps the fact that a 2014 survey of a 1,000 backpackers found that 19% said that their current boss viewed their time spent travelling negatively might make you think. Add to that the fact that 34% admitted that they found it hard to start work again after returning from time abroad.

It is generally considered that by satisfying your wanderlust you will have to put your career plans on hold. In today’s job market it can be difficult to enter the world of work, and a gap year sized blank space on your CV will hardly improve the situation. Thinking about jobs whilst backpacking might be the answer.

Not only can it harm job prospects, choosing travel over your career won’t even make you happier. The Independent published research that shows those who fulfill career goals before age 27 are happier throughout their adult life. Yet for many of us travelling is not just the opportunity for a holiday, it’s a vocation.

Fortunately, there are jobs that allow you let travel work for you, learn valuable skills, and jump-start start your career at the same time. So you can travel and work around the world all at the same time. Travel and work programs are becoming more popular options.



If you are suited to a career in translation, no job will offer a better opportunity to go places, both in your career and as a traveller.

As business becomes more global and businesses have work in multiple languages, the roles of translators will become increasingly important. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of translator and interpreter jobs in the U.S. is expected to grow by 22% between 2008 and 2018.

It’s easy to see why multilinguists with a penchant for travel might think a career as a translator or interpreter would be perfect for them. However, there’s much more to translation than speaking multiple languages and a love of travel. Translation experts Global Voices have identified the skills needed to be a good translator, which includes a relevant degree qualification, the ability to work to tight deadlines, a localised knowledge and strong research skills.

travel work

Construction worker

Often, construction workers will relocate to different locations for several months depending on the project and when construction workers travel, they not only see the world, they help build it. Construction workers can not only make good money and do lots of traveling, but you don’t necessarily need an expensive degree either.

Construction could be a good move career-wise as well as geographically; the average annual salary for trade and construction workers in the UK totalled £38,704 in 2015. A report by DKM consultants indicated that the industry would grow by 9% a year up to 2020, a growth that could sustain more than 100,000 additional jobs in the UK.  

Jooble currently has lots of jobs related to the search ‘construction’.

travel work balance


If you have an interest in archeology and are really committed to seeing the world, and not just the parts put on postcards, then archaeology may be the perfect career for you and great for wanderlusting. The starting salary for an archaeologist in a site assistant role can range from £19,853 to £20,926. Whereas senior archaeologists earn on average anything from £36,552 to £40,276

However, archaeology is not the easiest profession to break into. Becoming an archaeologist requires a degree. According to the Society for American Archaeology, the few positions that become available “are highly competitive and there are generally more qualified applicants than there are available jobs.” It is also likely that a relatively small amount of your time will be spent in the field.

If you’ve not got an archaeology degree and can’t afford the thousands of pounds needed to obtain one? You could become a travel guide and talk about archaeology instead with Archaeology Travel. You may earn less, but you’ll travel more and it is a far easier profession to get into.


English teacher

This is perhaps one of the most obvious ways to earn money and travel. Although the increase in demand for translators is evidence of an increasingly multilingual world, the English language is still hugely valuable.

For example, language learning website Duolingo has 120 million users around the world, and currently teaches 19 distinct languages. In a study of their users’ activities, they found that the most popular second language to learn by some distance is English, being the foreign language of choice in 116 out of 194 countries.

Unlike translation, you don’t have to speak multiple languages to teach English, which is just one of the reasons many young adults teach English as a foreign language on their gap years. There are plenty of jobs out there, but to get the best jobs in the best schools you will need to have a degree. For experienced teachers with the most qualifications, the average wage can range from £25,000 to £38,000.


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