Travel Jobs

by Carrie Thompson  

flightattendantsBusiness travel is a way of life. I have not worked in an office full time since my college days, and I know for a fact I could never go back to that kind of situation.

Some people are drawn to spending their lives on the road, while others prefer the stability that comes with a 9 to 5. For those of you who are just dying to get your very own travel job, I’d love to help.

There are numerous ways to get out of the office and on to the road, though most of them do require some sort of specialized education. A regular ole’ bachelor’s degree is a good start, though.

>> Also be sure to check the travel jobs tag to see the latest travel jobs we’ve written about on the Business Travel Guide.

Airline Pilot: If you have the patience to wait out the ten years it will probably take to get the proper flight experience and the 50 large it will put you in debt, this is something to look in to. You’ll get loads of time off work to spend as you’d like, and you’ll have the expendable income to do so. Be aware that competition for positions at major airlines are FIERCE, so you need to be stellar at what you do. Also, some good ole’ nepotism never hurt anyone.

Bus Driver: So, it’s not business so much but bus drivers do quite a bit of traveling. This is an option for those of you who have no plans to attend college.

Coding Auditor: This is one of those niche fields that you may never have heard of, let alone thought you could do to travel. Coding Auditors are those people who audit physicians to make sure everything is on the up and up as far as the insurance claims are concerned. You do need a certificate for this type of work, as well as a few years of experience before they’ll set you loose on the road. Assignments can be flexible with you spending several days to several weeks at any given location.

Flight Attendant: When you read the minimum requirements for a job as a flight attendant, it sounds like a piece of cake. In reality, you probably aren’t going to get hired by a major airline unless you are college educated and have some sort of previous work experience in which you dealt with people extensively. Yes, your primary job is to serve people drinks (and dinner if they’re lucky), when a large airline has 40,000+ applicant to choose from, they can sure as hell afford to be picky. The pay is terrible and the schedule can be crap, but then you get tons of days off and you get to fly for free!

Peace Corps: If by business travel you just mean that you want to get out of whatever middle America town you live in, you could look in to the Peace Corps. I seriously considered this one, but as a commitment-phobe I couldn’t promise them two years of my life to live in Zimbabwe or wherever. A college education is required and you should be prepared to apply from 9 months to one year in advance.

Sales and Marketing: When people think travel jobs, they frequently think of the road warrior sales person. This is my background, and it certainly has its perks. Yes, you do have to try to sell things, so if you aren’t comfortable with that you should look someplace else. Unless you have one heck of a sales resume, you’ll need a college education to get your foot in the door with a decent company. But then you’ll get to cover your territory inch by inch. Perks generally include racking up thousands upon thousands of frequent flyer miles and hotel rewards points. You’ll live on an expense account and eat like royalty. Be sure to get to the fitness center, though. Sales can be worse that the freshman fifteen in college.


Sports Reporter for MLB
: I get information every season from Monster.com that baseball franchises around the country are hiring reporters to tell their business at home and on the road. As a huge baseball fan, I think this would be an AWESOME travel job. You need a college education and a LOVE of the game. Sounds easy enough, huh?

TEFL Teacher: TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers get to spend their days in exotic locations such as Korea and Eastern Europe. The pay can range from absolute crap to pretty decent, depending on the location and the school. For this, you’ll likely need a TEFL certificate, although many locations will accept “Western” applicants who are college educated. You generally do have to commit to a year in the country of your choice. The great news? You don’t have to be fluent (or even competent) in the language of your destination.

Travel Director: This is the type of travel job that you never even hear about until you really start looking in to the industry. These souls accompany business travelers to ensure their convention or meeting goes smoothly. That can mean they’re busy doing anything from planning a formal dinner for 500 to sitting at a table for 8 hours just in case a client needs something. The perks can be great, since you get to stay at the up scale properties and eat the yummy cuisine, but you have little personal freedom to do what you enjoy. You’re generally on call 365 a year and have to be super professional. Yes, the competition is ridiculous.

Travel Nursing: This is one of the more widely known travel jobs and definitely a good one. The pay is fantastic and your employer will likely provide you will a place to live and transportation. You can shop around for a fabulous destination, which is nice. The drawback? You have to be a nurse to do it.

U.S. Foreign Service Officer: This may be the most difficult to attain of the travel jobs I have listed. Seriously, even more so than an airline pilot. Foreign service workers are those nice people who work in the U.S. embassies around the world to replace your passport when you get pick pocketed. You will need a bachelor’s and fluency in some sort of foreign language (choose wisely as this will determine where you go). The selection process is comprehensive, including a day-long written exam, an oral exam and a rigorous background check.

photo by mujitra

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