non-traditional jobs that let you travel

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“Digital nomad” is more than a buzzword – it’s a way of life for a lot of travel lovers. Not all of these workers are self-employed, either! There are many careers based around travel, or ways you can work while traveling the country or the world. If you’re looking for a more creative job that puts you on the road more often (or even a side hustle that helps pad your travel account), I have a few ideas for you!

Flight attendant: Full disclosure: I’ve secretly always dreamed of being a flight attendant. One of my favorite blogs, The Flight Attendant Life, does nothing to dissuade this desire. It’s definitely hard work, though. Not only do you get to travel as part of your job, you’ll also have the perk of layovers, flight benefits on your days off, and a lot of flight attendants are based out of crash pads in tropical locations. (Kara from The Flight Attendant Life was even based in Hawaii.) The major airlines aren’t the only ones hiring: smaller airlines like Allegiant and Frontier also have lucrative options, and smaller, boutique airliners are catering to travelers who prefer a bit more comfort. It’s not a pretty website, but Flight Attendant Careers gets updated regularly by tons of airlines adding to their workforce.

Amazon: The online retailer hires hundreds of seasonal “pickers” every year, and they often provide camping facilities for their employees as well so you’re never too far from home. Here’s one review of their work camping experience, and they also offer work from home positions in their customer service department.

Yachting: It turns out that yachting is a dream job I didn’t even know I had until I happened to see Below Deck on Bravo one day (the source of all dream jobs, right?) These positions can be super lucrative, but they are hard work. You’re stuck on a small boat for weeks or months with the same few people, serving to assist the owners or charter guests, and depending on your position, doing laundry all day and night. (Which, honestly, doesn’t seem like the worst job on a yacht.) Read Lucky Charming by Kate Chastain (yachtie on Below Deck,) check out jobs on CrewfindersYacrew, and Bluewater Yachting – or just move down to one of the yacht capitals to get head hunted. (Another tip courtesy of Amy on Below Deckchecking out Craigslist in Fort Lauderdale! is )

VA: Being a virtual assistant is one of the most popular careers for digital nomads, and with good reason. Because there are so many tools out there that let you automate things like social posting, easily edit photos, and communicate with clients no matter what time zone you’re in (not to mention hotspots that allow you to hop on the internet from anywhere,) it’s one of the most flexible jobs available. Like I mentioned in my post on jobs you can do from home, larger VAs or agencies hire subcontractors if you don’t want to start your own business.

Music tour jobs: Growing up, my dream was to be a tour manager. I would still love to go on the road someday, but I’m at an age where it doesn’t really seem like it’s going to happen for me anymore. The music industry does tend to be all about who you know, with jobs often coming through by word of mouth. Bobnet was started at as listserv a few years ago, and it has an online board and Facebook group now where jobs are shared. roadiejobs.com is a resource that does post some tour jobs, and it’s worth checking out (but don’t expect to see a lot of every city as you tour – drives are long, days are longer, and sleep usually takes priority over sightseeing.) Another option to get on the road is to work with a sponsor for a big tour, like Warped Tour. Anti-smoking organization The Truth hires “riders” to travel to schools, concerts, and other events for promotions and marketing. If you’re vegan, PETA also hires touring interns and employees, as do other non-profits on the tour. A lot of them are internships or volunteer positions, but if this is a career you’re interested in and you’re in college, it’s an invaluable experience to have under your belt.

(Or think really outside the box – NASCAR races and teams also travel every weekend, and they have sponsors and merch trucks that need sellers too!)

Dance companies: I love Dance Moms, what can I say. The idea of spending weekends working at dance competitions actually just seems humorous to me! Aside from the parental drama, I do love dance and some of them are really beautiful and moving. Groove, Starquest, and NextLevelDance are just a few of the companies that produce these events.

Bus driving: If you like responsibility and prefer to travel with your wheels on the ground, bus driving is something to explore. Whether working for a travel company like Greyhound or as a private charter, you’ll have the option for long haul tours or jaunts that keep you closer to home.

For a similar side hustle on a smaller scale, look into limousine services or car rental businesses. Even a few hours of driving a week can result in lots of extra tips!

Cruise ships: “But you already talked about boats,” you might be saying. Cruise ships are an entirely different animal than the luxury world of yachting. They seem to have lower pay as there aren’t large tips (traditionally) on cruises, but they do offer many different niches like live entertainment or food service. Apply directly to a cruise line, check the job board at All Cruise Jobs, or hit indeed.com – some cruise lines even hire reservation agents and customer service staff to work remotely.

Event companies: Like the music tour sponsor and marketing companies, there are businesses that are dedicated to setting up large-scale events. These jobs have always seemed super fun, and I have quite a few friends that have worked for companies like Red Frog Events and Compass Rose. Traveling to different cities every week to set up conferences or fitness events, there is often some downtime to head out and check out the locale.

Tour guide: If you’re comfortable leading groups, this could be the best job for you. There are lots of organized travel agencies out there looking for trip leaders! G Adventures has a long history, as does Contiki, who hires local drivers as well as guides. Newer organizations like Remote Year are also looking for operations and experience managers in the cities they visit. If you have a lot of travel experience in a particular region, you can even make more!

Theater crew: If you’re artistically inclined but haven’t ever wanted to chase the rock ‘n roll lifestyle, a touring theater group could be your ticket to fame. (See what I did there?) Since plays and musicals tend to have longer stays in specific towns than music tours, they might be more desirable for someone not interested in the rushed pace of a different city every day. Even if you’re not a performer, there’s a place for you. Check out opportunities with specific troupes (like Cirque du Soleil or Blue Man Group!) or check out job boards at Playbill. brokeGIRLrich also has a super comprehensive resource of theatre job boards as well!

Housesitting: Yes, there are some people who make a career of housesitting! Many wealthy people who have multiple residences hire house sitters to stay at their different homes while they’re away. These positions usually involve a small bit of housekeeping or maintenance, but who cares? For free board in a lot of beautiful locations, I would probably have the tile floors scrubbed cleaned. Most of the job search sites for these positions are paid, and there’s a lot of background checks that can go into the application (with good reason.) Depending on what you’re looking for, House Sitters America, Luxury House Sitters and The Caretaker Gazette are good places to start. Even care.com has opportunities for house sitters!

National Parks: Any tourism industry will have boom and bust times where they need to hire more employees. National Parks are no different, and they’re a popular job option for many retirees who still want to work, but want to travel. It’s not just for retirees, though – many younger people are choosing this option to head out and explore. Check out this post on finding a job in a National Park!

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11 Comments

  • Reply Rachel

    So many fun options! I’ve always thought being a flight attendant would be pretty interesting!

    May 19, 2017 at 9:42 am
  • Reply IAmSamKelly

    Hi Desi! I recommend those open to remote work and who are just getting started should start as a VA. Everyone has a talent! Thank you the list, I enjoy being a digital nomad😃 Smiles, Sam

    May 19, 2017 at 9:46 am
  • Reply Whitney Magnuson aka Mrs. Millennial

    Love these ideas!

    May 19, 2017 at 9:56 am
  • Reply Mel @ brokeGIRLrich

    Thanks for including my post on your list! I’ve definitely seen a lot of the world as a stage manager (and some of it was from cruise ships!). Your list is an awesome resource!

    May 19, 2017 at 10:49 am
  • Reply Casey the College Celiac

    How interesting – I’ve never heard of many of these below! A VA definitely sounds promising as a job…

    May 19, 2017 at 5:10 pm
  • Reply Mattie

    These jobs sound like so much fun! Especially the Yachting! Also – I love that there is someone else out there who watches Dance Moms 🙂

    May 19, 2017 at 5:12 pm
  • Reply Renee

    I have totally day-dreamed about the flight attendant job! Maybe when the kiddos are bigger!

    May 20, 2017 at 11:32 am
  • Reply Sara

    I’ve often considered changing my job to allow for more travel but it’s harder the older you are. I love my current job as a teacher and I do get the 6 weeks off in the summer but I get such itchy feet the rest of the year. Anyway, thanks for this post. Loved it and maybe when I’m older and have had kids that have left the house I’ll consider housesitting! 🙂

    May 20, 2017 at 11:48 am
  • Reply jessica

    thanks so much, i’m always super interested in learning about this.

    May 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm
  • Reply Toni

    Great post!
    It’s funny you mention house sitting because that was something I’d looked into prior to launching my freelance writing career. Although was later able to travel — and pay my way thanks to my writing career — I still held some curiosity about house sitting.

    I do think I might like to try it at some point. 🙂

    May 26, 2017 at 8:40 am
    • Reply Desi

      Housesitting seems like a great thing to do for digital nomads – since we usually make our own schedules, we might as well work around traveling from one house to another!

      May 26, 2017 at 8:43 am

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