Finding a job that allows you to travel often can be tough, though it is doable, and you can start taking steps now if your goal is to land a travel job.
Especially when you realize that your average corporate setting allows maybe 10 paid vacation days per year and that you're working 50 out of 52 weeks...then you definitely need to get creative with traveling when you have a full-time job!
It IS very possible to travel when you work full-time or are still in school (see how I took 8 trips in 2015 while working a full-time 8-5 here).
However, if you're itching to get out there for more of a non-stop adventure then you'll need to take action now to get a travel job later.
This post is for those who are looking to create a work + travel lifestyle by working for a company/organization, and want to be traveling for at least six months or so. (To learn more about short-term travel jobs or working as a digital nomad, check out this post and this post).
1. Figure out where in the world you want to go!
This is the exciting part - where in the world do you want to go?! Pending any potential visa restrictions, you can go anywhere.
Choosing where to travel next isn't as easy as it sounds. With so many places in the world to go, this is where most people get lost in the overwhelm and just not plan the trip. Because there are so.many.countries.
Check out this post on choosing where to go next - it's a strategy that makes you narrow down which country is most important to you based on the things you want to do/see and your budget!
2. What do you want to do?
Okay, this may be the part where people get lost in overwhelm.
Or perhaps the entire process is overwhelming, which I totally get. This is why we are breaking it down into steps!
When I was in college, all I wanted to do after returning from my study abroad was go back to Europe.
When I started my job search toward the end of my senior year, I scoured the web for travel jobs in Europe, preferably work-while-you-travel jobs.
I applied to an event planning job in the South of France, but considering I didn't speak French, you can guess how that went... (I didn't get the job, haha).
Instead I landed an opportunity working as a tour guide for a travel company in Italy, where I did social media management in addition to events and leading weekend trips to countries all over Europe. It was awesome!
I HIGHLY recommend reading my Ultimate List of Jobs That Pay You To Travel post and going through my free guide on working around the world if you haven't already. Both are great resources that give you ideas and examples on the many ways you can work abroad.
3. Take a look at your resume and start to fill in holes, if needed
Another important aspect is making sure you have the skills required for what type of job you're looking for and consider where you could improve your skills.
If you're in college and want to work in a study abroad role, see what paid or volunteer positions your campus study abroad office has - typically there are ambassador jobs where you promote the program at school fairs, or student worker positions in the study abroad office that get you more behind-the-scenes action. If you studied abroad with a 3rd-party program, they often have ambassador internships as well.
Are you looking at teaching English abroad? Getting a certification like TESOL, TEFL, or ESL is often required.
Tour guiding? Leadership skills, tour operations, sales, marketing, and communication are skills to highlight.
Blogging, vlogging, freelancing, or passive income streams? #GetStarted now if you haven't already. Having a strong online presence is so important.
Ah, the age old "it's not what you know, it's who you know" saying.
What is you know is definitely important, especially when it comes to both landing and succeeding at a travel job, but who you know is still just as - if not more - important.
You will come across job postings that are competitive. That tour guiding/marketing job I had in Italy? Extremely competitive (5 new hires out of hundreds of applicants). That international conference job I had in China? Even more competitive (3 new hires out of many for the 2-week conference).
How will you make yourself stand out? Corny jokes like mailing the employer a shoe because you "want to get your shoe in the door" are kind of weird and may turn off the employer.
Having a resume that aligns and is tailored with the job's description? That's a great starting point.
Now what if you don't know someone in the company specifically?
Finding someone who does can significantly increase yours odds.
It may take some extra work, but it could be the factor that gets you the travel job of your dreams. Not a bad tradeoff, is it?
How finding a connection helped me stand out for some of my recent travel jobs:
Before I got hired for China, I had also worked the same conference in Europe the year before, and in the US the year before that.
Since the eastern world culture is very different from the western world, having knowledge of both US and Europe conferences definitely helped.
Even more so? Having a good reputation from those conferences, especially since references are required.
Don't burn bridges at any job you have - you never know the opportunities your current situation will provide you down the line.
LinkedIn and Facebook are great places for getting insider knowledge on a certain company or job.
I get Facebook messages literally all the time from people asking about the travel jobs I've had and how to get them. I love answering these questions!
People tend to be nice, especially when giving a quick tip or two about a job they've had, so don't be afraid to ask! The worst they could do is not give you advice about it. Please make sure to not ask for too much, or be pushy or annoying.
Keep it short, sweet, and be nice. Always.
It can take time
Don't get discouraged if you don't land your dream travel job right away. While it's possible you could simply email someone and be hired that day, oftentimes a lot of planning, preparation, and work go into it.
If this is something you want to do, it'll be worth it!
While I put a lot of time into researching and applying to the travel jobs I've held in the past, the memories that stand out are the new friends and people I've met, cool/beautiful/awesome places around the world I've gotten to see, and fun things I've gotten to do.
Working while traveling has allowed me to visit 18 countries across three continents, and there is no way I would've gone to any of those already if it hadn't been for working.
Keep going and take it one step at a time. You'll get there!