Careers involving travel
There are many jobs that involve travelling. We have loads outlined below – but before you plunge in, take a moment to check what you’re expecting from a career involving travel. You don’t want to realise when you hit the surface that the icy temperature, seaweed or Hammerhead sharks weren’t what you had in mind.
Are you hoping to visit desirable holiday destinations and have time to enjoy the attractions? Do you want to explore remote locations and meet people or animals you’d never otherwise encounter? Does ‘travel’ automatically mean ‘international travel?’. Would you expect to get a say in where you go and how long for? There are few jobs that resemble a free holiday, and the closer the resemblance, the less you’re likely to earn. So you’ll need to pin down your priorities.
If you can’t spot an option that suits you, consider whether you’d prefer a non-travel-related job with a high salary that will pay for five-star holidays. Take a look at our round-up of jobs that pay well if this sounds better for you.
Jobs that let you travel the world to nice locations
Looking for the classic travel job that will take you to appealing places and give you the chance to appreciate them? Options such as travel writing or leading adventure tourism expeditions will take you to ideal holiday locations – just don’t expect to get rich. Travel industry jobs can also be a good bet, though be pragmatic – as a trainee hotel manager, for example, your next placement could be in Birmingham rather than Bermuda.
- Travel writer – you could move into travel writing after training and working as a journalist in a different area, or – if you already have extensive travel experience and relevant writing samples – straight after school or university. There are some permanent travel writing jobs but many travel writers work freelance, writing articles, reviews or books for a range of different media such as magazines, newspapers, websites and travel guides. Don’t expect to earn a lot, be prepared for stiff competition and consider taking on non-travel-writing work too to help pay the bills. But on the flip side you will travel to places that are worth visiting and spend time checking out their attractions. Our media section can tell you more about how to get into journalism and related careers.
- Travel industry jobs – options include hotel management, adventure tourism and travel agency. With some employers and roles you will travel very regularly – for example graduate trainees with international hotel chains may move hotel every few months, and you can expect to be constantly out and about if you lead adventure tourism expeditions such as rock climbing or kayaking. Travel agents spend most of their time at the office selling holidays, but many get to try out hotels and packages that they sell from time to time and receive discounts on their own holidays. Visit TARGETcareers’ hospitality and travel section to find out more about the types of jobs and employers you can choose from and how to get into the travel industry, plus find specific details on adventure tourism careers on the TARGETjobs website.
Jobs involving travel that help you understand and influence the world
Perhaps you’re more motivated by seeking to understand or influence the world around you than tracking down the best beach. The jobs below involve varying amounts of travel, depending on the precise type of work and employer, but often allow you to learn more about the world, influence it and/or help others. NB travel writers’ jobs can also fit this category, depending on their specialism.
- Journalist – how far you get to travel will depend on the organisation you work for and the type of news you cover. There will be extensive overseas travel opportunities if you work on the foreign desk of a major broadcaster, news agency or newspaper such as the BBC, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg (all of which have offices in the UK). You’re also likely to get some foreign travel opportunities if you cover a different area such as the environment, technology or entertainment, where there will be stories to report on in other countries from time to time. If you work for a local newspaper or radio station you will travel within your own region. Use our media careers section to find out more about becoming a journalist.
- Charity and non-governmental organisation (NGO) jobs – charities and NGOs do good work all over the world, helping people, animals and the environment. In some jobs you’ll travel overseas the whole time – for example if you are a humanitarian worker engaged in disaster relief, a doctor with Médecins Sans Frontières or a crew member on a Greenpeace ship. Others are more office-based, such as policy roles, but may still involve very frequent travel. Find out more about types of jobs in charity work and how to get into a charity career. You can also read about careers in humanitarian work on our graduate careers website TARGETjobs.
- Careers with the Foreign Office and British Council – the Foreign Office promotes and protects British interests around the world, while the British Council develops relationships with other countries through culture and education. Both offer jobs in the UK and abroad. If you want to be a diplomat the typical first stage is to join the Diplomatic Service as part of the Civil Service Fast Stream; as your career progresses you’ll typically change roles (and potentially countries) every few years. Find out more about how to get into a career in public service.
- Photographer – most photographers do at least some travel as part of their jobs, whether that’s around their local area to photograph weddings or staff at local businesses, or off to the Amazon in search of amazing wildlife shots. If you specialise in photojournalism, you’ll need to get yourself to wherever the latest story is. There are some permanent jobs for photographers but many work freelance. Take a look at our media section to find out more about careers in photography and how to get into them.
- Architect – why just travel to new places when you can make your mark on them? Architects spend the majority of their time in the office, but travel regularly to meet clients and see the construction sites where their projects are taking place. If you work for an employer that’s involved in projects abroad then your job is likely to involve some foreign travel – or you might even be posted overseas. Read more about an architect’s job and similar roles. You can also find a more detailed overview of architecture careers on our graduate careers site TARGETjobs.
- Academic – academics typically work for universities, carrying out original research in their specialist subject as well as teaching students. Academia is a very international area – there are likely to be other academics researching similar topics to you all over the world so, while your day-to-day base will be your own university, you will typically travel regularly to conferences in different countries to talk about your work and hear about what others are doing. You may also need to make research trips to different locations in the UK or overseas, for example to use an original source that is housed in a particular library or carry out field work. The first step towards a career as an academic is an undergraduate degree – take a look at our degree subject guides to find a subject that inspires you. There’s a detailed description of an academic’s work in our lecturer job description on TARGETjobs.
Jobs that require travel and pay well
Take a look below if you’re interested in jobs that require travel and pay well. Be aware that you’ll go where your boss sends you; there’s no guarantee that the location will be interesting or beautiful, or that you’ll have time to explore before returning home. These careers will suit you if you don’t want to be stuck in one place but aren’t fussy about where you go.
- Technology consultant – technology consultants advise businesses and other organisations on how they can use IT to help them work more efficiently, and can also assist them to put these changes in place. As such, they need to spend plenty of time wherever their clients are based, which could be in the UK or overseas. Work patterns vary, but you might typically spend a few months splitting your time between your current client and your employer’s head office, then move on to a different client. Use our IT section to find out more about types of careers in IT and how to start a career in technology. There’s more information on careers in technology consulting specifically on our TARGETjobs site.
- Management consultant – management consulting is similar to technology consulting, but you could be advising on and helping to bring about improvements to any aspect of a client’s business, not just its use of IT. Clients could be businesses, public sector organisations (such as the NHS) or charities. Management consultants typically spend a good portion of their working week with their clients – often in a different part of the country or the world from where they normally live – so there’s lots of travel and hotel stays involved. Take a look at our business section to find out what a career as a management consultant involves and how to become a management consultant.
- Accountant specialising in audit – if you fancy life on the road – and don’t mind that that road winds largely around the UK – you could work as an accountant specialising in audit. Auditors are hired by businesses, public sector organisations and charities to check that their financial accounts are in order and free from fraud. Client organisations can be based anywhere, and each audit typically requires at least a few days at the client’s office, so there is a good deal of travel involved. Find out more about accountancy careers and how to become an accountant in our finance section, and a more detailed look at audit careers in particular on the TARGETjobs website (referred to here as ‘assurance’).
Other jobs with opportunities to travel
Not seen anything so far that suits you? Perhaps one of the careers below would be a better fit.
- Teaching English abroad – learning English is popular all around the world, and many organisations like to hire native English speakers to help teach it. You could teach in a private language school (organisations that run courses to teach foreign languages, often in the evenings), school, college or university, and perhaps pick up some tutoring work teaching individual children or adults. There are plenty of organisations that will help you line up work – for example the British Council runs an English language assistant scheme, with placements of six months or a year – or you can approach employers directly. Take a look at our graduate careers site TARGETjobs for more information about teaching English as a foreign language.
- Interpreter – interpreters specialise in translating live speech or sign language. Sometimes this is over the telephone but often translators are present in person, so you will travel to wherever your services are needed. This could be a business event, a conference, a diplomatic summit or a court trial, for example, and will often be overseas. A degree in modern foreign languages is a typical first step towards this career, followed by a postgraduate interpreting qualification. Also take a look at our interpreter job description on TARGETjobs, our graduate careers site.
- Events manager – are you super-organised? Do you like to make sure that every detail of a project is under control? Then you could be an ideal events manager. Events managers can organise anything from business conferences to weddings to festivals; some roles involve planning events at just one particular venue but many others deal with lots of different venues, which can include quite a bit of travel. You can read more about the role in our article on jobs in hospitality and travel and use the UCAS course search to find events management degrees.