Careers

These are the 15 best-paying careers to pursue if you want to travel the world

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Moya Crockett
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According to a recent Stylist poll, 98% of our readers want to travel more, with almost 38% saying they want to do so “desperately”. But for many of us, real life – and more specifically, work – has a tendency to get in the way of our round-the-world fantasies. Either we can’t afford to simply quit our jobs and jet off into the wide blue yonder, or we’re busy climbing the career ladder and don’t want to jump off in order to travel.

But of course, there are careers where “travelling for work” doesn’t just mean the annual company conference in Dundee. In some industries, frequent travel is all part of the job description.

Job site Indeed has ranked the world’s best-paying jobs for people seeking a border-crossing career, by analysing the average salaries of jobs involving frequent travel. And while some of the careers are ones you might expect to involve travel (such as airline pilot), others are much more surprising.



“Being paid to travel need not be a fantasy,” says Bill Richards, Indeed’s UK managing director. “For people with itchy feet and the desire to work among other cultures, jobs that require a lot of travel can be hugely satisfying.”

He adds: “Loving what we do helps us thrive as an individual and achieve great things as a professional. If you have a passion for travelling and can combine it with a job you enjoy, the salary will be only half the reward.”

If you want your next career move to take you to places you’ve never been before, you might want to read on.

Images: iStock, NBC, instagram.com/dutchpilotgirl

  • Stage hand

    Average annual earnings: £8.22 p/h

    Snapshot of travel time: 6 month contract

    Stagehands – aka stage technicians or ‘crew’ – are the behind-the-scenes staff that make concerts, theatre and film productions happen, working with props, scenery and special effects. While you won’t earn big bucks, you may get the chance to travel by going on tour or working on productions away from home for a set amount of time.

    For advice on how to become a stagehand, click here.

  • Ski instructor

    Average annual earnings: £15,798 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Seasonal

    Unless you’re teaching snow skills on a dry slope in the UK (and hey, there’s no shame in that), working as a ski instructor will inevitably involve spending months at a time abroad – whether you work at a resort in Austria, Aspen or Azerbaijan.

    If you enjoy sports and spending time outdoors and have the flexibility to move abroad, this could be the job for you.

    For advice on how to become a ski instructor, click here.

  • Flight attendant

    Average annual earnings: £20,419 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 100%

    Well, duh. This is one of those ‘not so surprising’ entries: of course being a flight attendant means you spend much of your time literally jetting off to different countries. Entry requirements vary, but many airlines want applicants to have at least four GCSEs, a good level of fitness and be able to swim at least 25 metres (we’d rather not think about why).

    For advice on how to become a flight attendant, click here.

  • Travel agent

    Average annual earnings: £24,333 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: 30-40%

    You might assume that travel agents spend all their time sitting behind a desk helping other people plan their holidays, but it’s not the case. Your company may send you away on “familiarisation” trips to experience a popular destination, so that you can talk to customers about it with authority – and different perks may be on offer depending on where you work.

    For advice on how to become a travel agent, click here.

  • Recruiter

    Average annual earnings: £30,351 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: At least 20%

    Recruiters are in the business of helping other people find their perfect career. According to an Indeed spokesperson, the job involves more travel than you might think – because everyone else wants to work abroad, too.

    “Our data shows that talent is increasingly mobile and looking for jobs abroad,” says an Indeed spokesperson. “As a result, ‘sourcers’ and HR professionals need to keep up with this trend and be familiar with the markets where multinational companies are present.”

    For advice on how to become a recruiter, click here.

  • Pharmaceutical sales rep

    Average annual earnings: £32,062 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: At least 50%

    Pharmaceutical sales representatives work with medical professionals, keeping them up to speed on the latest developments in the pharmaceutical industry and selling them drugs, medicines and medical equipment.

    You’ll have to travel extensively – at the least in the UK – as you visit different medical centres. A degree in life sciences, a background in nursing or healthcare, or sales and marketing experience is usually required.

    For advice on how to become a pharmaceutical sales rep, click here.

  • Travel photographer

    Average annual earnings: £32,470 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 100%

    This one’s obvious. Travel photography is a difficult career to get into, and you’ll have to work hard to earn the salary above – but it can be done, particularly if you license your photography to be used commercially by the tourism industry, or sign a contract with a photographic agency or tourist board.

    For advice on how to become a travel photographer, click here.

  • Travel writer

    Average annual earnings: £32,791 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 100%

    Travel writers will likely choke on their cup of tea at the sight of what Indeed has claimed is their average annual earnings. While very successful travel journalists can earn upwards of £33,000, writing in general is not an especially lucrative field – and it’s hugely competitive.

    But it is possible to make a living as a travel writer, and while it’s not always as glamorous as you might expect, it’s a fascinating and fulfilling career.

    For advice on how to become a travel writer, click here.

  • Auditor

    Average annual earnings: £34,062 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 15%

    An auditor is a person employed by a company to carry out an audit (a detailed examination) of their financial records to make sure that they are accurate and legal. Is a company overspending? Is someone fiddling the accounts? It’s an auditor’s job to find out.

    You’ll often be required to travel to where your clients’ offices are, so that you can work alongside them. A chartered accountancy qualification is required to become an external auditor, and experience in finance, banking, HR or management can also be helpful.

    For advice on how to become an auditor, click here.

  • Global events manager

    Average annual earnings: £34,519 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 50%

    Increasingly, brands and organisations now organise events as a way of engaging directly with people, meaning that events management remains a lucrative and exciting career path. As a manager, visiting the site of an event before it takes place is important – and if that event just so happens to be somewhere sunny on the other side of the world, who are you to quibble?

    For advice on how to become an events manager, click here.

  • Airline pilot

    Average annual earnings: £34,575 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 100%

    Again: an obvious one. Traditionally seen as a masculine job, aviation is a career that increasing numbers of women are pursuing – women like Michelle Gooris (pictured). Otherwise known as @dutchpilotgirl, Gooris regularly shares photos of her life as a pilot on Instagram in a bid to encourage more women into the skies.

    For advice on how to become a pilot, click here.

  • Retail buyer

    Average annual earnings: £39,175 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: At least 10%

    Retail buyers are the people who source products – whether it be clothes, homewares or tech – for shops to stock and sell. They’re responsible for finding suppliers, selecting new merchandise and predicting future sales, among a whole host of other things.

    You’ll spend a lot of time visiting suppliers and trade shows, which will often take place outside the UK – particularly if you working in fashion buying.

    For advice on how to become a retail buyer, click here.

  • Travel nurse

    Average annual earnings: £42,886 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: 13 week contract

    As well as being extremely fulfilling, nursing is an incredibly flexible vocation. According to female travel organisation Women on the Road, international travel nursing is increasingly popular, partly thanks to the perks of the job: as well as getting the chance to work abroad, you’ll also often receive high pay, free housing and health insurance, plus other benefits.

    Canada and Australia are renowned for being great places to travel as a nurse – or you could volunteer in countries where help is desperately needed.

    For advice on how to become a travel nurse, click here.

  • Freelance designer

    Average annual earnings: £45,754 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 100%

    This category includes occupations such as graphic designer, creative designer and packaging designer. “Crucially, these are all roles which allow you to work from anywhere, hence the 100% travel time figure,” says a spokesperson for Indeed.

    For advice on how to become a graphic designer, click here.

  • Management consultant

    Average annual earnings: £55,236 per year

    Snapshot of travel time: Up to 80%

    Management consultants are hired by companies to help them solve any problems they might be having and improve their business performance. Like an auditor, you’ll likely spend much of your time visiting clients in the towns and cities where they’re based.

    It’s a high-pressured industry that’s competitive to get into, and a degree in a subject like business or business management is usually needed.

    For advice on how to become a management consultant, click here.

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. As well as writing about inspiring women and feminism, she also covers subjects including careers, podcasts and politics. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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