The top travel vloggers give their picks for best destinations you need to visit in 2020!
Guest post by long-term traveler Jacqueline Boss
It’s easy to be dazzled by the romantic allure of a nomadic, no-roots lifestyle. But as with any path less taken, the way can seem hazier, scarier and more dangerous. I’m here to tell you, as someone who has been paid to travel for 10 years, that it’s not only simple to become a permanent wanderer, but also that you don’t need to be wealthy or retired to do it.
There is a vibrant subculture of travelers doing jobs in beautiful places and living on site in employee housing. Here’s how you can find these jobs and travel indefinitely while saving money.
Companies that provide housing are usually (but not always):
– In the tourism industry
– In destination locations
Every summer, idyllic lakeside summer camps and remote wilderness lodges bloom to life, requiring a huge amount of temporary staff. The same happens each winter at ski resorts, when tourists flood into picturesque mountain towns, spending time both on the slopes and at the surrounding businesses.
The most common ‘get paid to travel’ jobs you’ll come across are:
– Wilderness lodge staff
– Retreat & conference center staff
– Ski & snowboard instructor
– Ski resort staff
– Teach English as a Foreign Language
– Maintenance crew
– Au pair
– Cruise ship staff
– Camp counselor
– Hostel operations
– Farm & garden
– Food & beverage
– Campground crew
– River & kayak guide
– Tour guide
No two adventure jobs will be the same, and no two travelers will have the same experience at the same company. This is one of the things that makes it worth doing.
My own ten-year journey has taken me to a retreat center in the middle of the Hawaiian jungle, one mile from the locals’ secret black-sand beach with a weekly drum circle. Clothing not required.
It’s taken me to the deep snow of a cozy Colorado mountain ski town, to a lush and quiet Buddhist center tucked into a valley in the Catskills, to a postcard-perfect coral lagoon bordering a small Virgin Island community.
It’s taken me on mock missions to space inside a replica space shuttle, to brush-speckled hills where black and grizzly bears foraged together for huckleberries. I’ve been able to watch the Perseid meteor shower from a boat dock in a protected wilderness area, and to sleep by a campfire with my friends in the mountains of the west.
Every day is different in the life of a seasonal adventure traveler. It’s colorful, it’s messy, it’s beautiful, and it’s uniquely yours.
Some of the most enticing perks of the jobs are the non-monetary benefits. Companies generally share the guest facilities and equipment with the staff for free. Some companies throw events or empower the staff to come up with their own events.
Some of my favorite free benefits and activities have been:
– Kayak and canoe access
– Book-themed costume nights
– Talent shows
– End-of-the-world parties
– Hiking trails on property
– Attendance at guest workshops and events
– Staff Olympics
– River rafting
– Skiing and snowshoeing
– Jeep adventure tours
– Jungle dances
Entry level positions will usually pay minimum wage or slightly more.
The places I’ve been most effective at saving money (nearly all of it, after housing deductions) have been those that also have staff dining halls. National Park concessioners often provide meals, as do many other companies.
It’s simple to save your entire paycheck, but it does take discipline. I’ve seen too many coworkers spend their last dollars on a six pack. It really pays to save.
Some people save so well that they plan to work only half the year, usually the summer months. The money they earn lets them travel to a cheaper tropical country or spend time with family in the winter. This is the heart of getting paid to travel.
The easiest jobs to get are:
– Camp counselor
– Prep cook
– Ski lift operator
Even with no experience or college degree, these entry level jobs are easy to get. Housekeeping is the easiest position to get of all.
In any position, do your best and prove yourself as a good worker and you can fairly quickly become a supervisor, sometimes within a season. A high-school aged friend of mine was promoted from housekeeper to housekeeping supervisor within a few weeks of arriving at her first seasonal job.
As you gather more experience, lots of exciting job opportunities come within reach.
There are customer service positions from front desk to activities leaders. You could be a hiking or kayak guide, or an art or ecology teacher. There are roles in ritzier companies that run small charter cruises and adventure travel tours for high-paying guests. Some seasonal travelers choose to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and find schools abroad.
Through your journey you’ll live in a motley assortment of rooms.
My coziest dwelling was a two-story private cabin for my boyfriend and I in the snowy Northwoods of Minnesota, overlooking a quiet lake. I enjoyed a sunny California island studio with windows on three sides. I took baths in a shared room in Hawai’i. And I do mean in the room, bathtub in full view of the three beds. I’ve been in a tent, in apartments, old motel and new hotel rooms, standard dorms, and once, in a primary-colored and windowless bunk room at a kids’ camp.
Usually you’ll be given random roommates, though there are sometimes options for single rooms and couples rooms.
It’s easy to find out what housing is like if you just ask the company. Many will also describe their staff housing on the employment sections of their websites.
Your meal plan will vary by company, ranging from nothing (you’d be given kitchen access) to three full, fresh, hot meals per day and an all-hours snack bar.
The best food situations to be found are at retreat centers, which cater to a fit, healthy, clientele. At these spiritual hubs, I’ve been treated to delicacies like liliko’i chia pudding, dahl and naan, buddha bowls, and barbecue from local wild pigs.
National Park concessioners and lodges often have employee dining rooms (EDRs) with impressive and varied selections. A favorite workplace of mine offered not only hot meals but also a full, healthy salad bar and panini press. And mmm, those curly fries.
Also, coffee. ALWAYS coffee. I always had access to free or $1 coffee. The good stuff too, freshly ground.
Coworkers quickly become family.
Living and working in a small, tightly-knit community of travelers is an experience more like college or camp than anything you’ll find in the “real world.” It’s far easier to make friends, even if you’re shy or introverted. It’s an amazing feeling to reconnect with other people in such a deep way.
There’s always someone around to go on an adventure with – friends to explore the outdoors and sing in the car and do art with you.
You’ll be working with people from around the world, another major benefit of getting paid to travel. They’ll be of all ages, education levels, and on different paths in life. Some of them will be the best friends you’ve ever had. Some of them will be people you’ll date, and as is not infrequently the case at these sorts of places, you may find your future partner in marriage.
Jobs with larger companies can be fun, especially when pre-season staff orientation includes the entire team. This is a fantastic bonding experience and a chance to ease into a new job.
Most of these jobs are in stunning locations, which means your leisure time will be full of free outdoor recreation opportunities.
Many people you meet will enjoy being in nature. They might like hiking, kayaking, camping, and hanging out at the beach or the lake. Especially at places where employees eat meals together, it’s incredibly easy to find someone to adventure with for the day.
The simplest way to find adventure travel jobs with housing is to use WanderJobs.com. It’s the only job board which requires companies to provide housing to employees in order to post a job.
There are many more websites, most much smaller, where you can find similar jobs or jobs in more specific career fields, like yoga, SCUBA, TEFL, and more.
Here’s a mega-list of 100+ resources you can use to find adventure jobs with housing, as well as volunteer work-exchanges, home swaps, and Couchsurfing alternatives.
Cover letters are very important. I’m convinced I’ve had such a high hire rate because of the enthusiasm I’ve expressed in my cover letters. My secret? I only apply to one or two jobs each season that I’m really, genuinely excited about. Then I write from the heart.
Take time learning how to write a good cover letter and have someone objective read it over for you and give you feedback. After a while you’ll get a feel for it and be able to do the process entirely on your own.
Always check Glassdoor before your interview. In many cases, I’ve been able to find the exact interview questions I’ll be asked, giving me time to prepare my answers in advance. When specific questions aren’t available, find a general list of interview questions online and practice with those.
Interviews make most people nervous, sometimes even the interviewer! So just relax and consider it a chance to have a fun chat. Meditate for 10 minutes beforehand, exercise, do something that will make you proud of yourself. Just do anything besides sitting and worrying.
The best parts:
– Live in places people pay to vacation
– Incredible learning & growth experience
– Reconnect with people & nature
– Easy to climb ladder within a company
– Easy to save money
– Lifelong friendships
– Low pay
– Short career ladders
– Very difficult to say goodbye
– Hard to explain your lifestyle to others
Travel jobs aren’t the only solution for people who want to travel long-term. Other travelers prefer volunteering and doing work-exchanges (working 5 or so hours daily in exchange for room and board). These are usually shorter-term, anywhere from a few days to a few months.
By far the best site for work exchanges worldwide is Workaway, and WWOOF is a popular choice for volunteers who want to farm.
Begin your adventure!
If this all sounds fantastic, well, yes it is. But, like anything, it is what you make of it. You can’t show up and expect an adventure to just happen to you. You have to put yourself out there and be vulnerable enough to make new friends and try new things. That’s when the magic happens.
Go. Go toward the magic.
The post How to Get Paid to Travel: Adventure Jobs with Room & Board appeared first on Wandering Earl.
Mysterious and exotic, full of enigma and charm, Caucasus tours are filled with alluring landscapes and lovely people that are sure to take your breath away.
Flanked by the Black Sea to the west and the Caspian Sea to the east, the Caucasus is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, where Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, rises majestically over Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Predominantly occupied by Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, the Caucasus is so diverse and varied that visiting one village to another feels like stepping into a different world.
Traveling to the Caucasus used to be a trip off the beaten path. However, the introduction of the eVisa, made access to the region more convenient and affordable. For those who want to experience the region’s abundance of marvels, here is our ultimate travel guide to Caucasus.
Nestled between Asia and Europe, Azerbaijan is a compelling mixture of both continents. Yet, it is neither Asia nor Europe. It is a mesh of contrasts and variety, ancient and contemporary, rural and urban, quaint and stylish. From the medieval castles dotted all over the country to the modern Flame Tower skyscrapers that decorate the capital city of Baku’s skyline, Azerbaijan is distinctly Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s rich culture and heritage, colorful history, architecture, and diverse landscape, make it a reservoir of unique experiences. History enthusiasts can explore Icheri Sheher, Baku’s walled Inner City, which features the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Maiden Tower, and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs.
At the Martyrs’ Alley and the Eternal Flame Memorial, visitors can pay tribute to the demonstrators killed by Soviet Troops in the infamous Black January in 1990. A stroll along Baku Boulevard with its amusement park, fascinating bars and cafes, and an unobstructed view of the Caspian Sea, would soothe any weary traveler.
The country’s attractions are not confined to its capital. Azerbaijan has a diverse assortment of landscapes, from wetlands and mountains to arid wastelands and lush valleys. Along Absheron Peninsula are mud volcanoes and a burning hillside caused by gas leaking through crevices in the earth, a phenomenon which earned Azerbaijan the title Land of Fire.
In the highlands are idyllic rural villages clustered amidst plush orchards set against a backdrop of blue skies and the Great Caucasus Mountains. Due mainly to its unique climate and terrain, the country enjoys abundant biodiversity, making it a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Yet, Azerbaijan’s greatest treasure is its people. In Azerbaijan tradition, a guest is not allowed to leave the house without a cup of tea, a practice that attests to the locals’ hospitality and warmth. The same aspects are reflected in Azerbaijani cuisine. The richness of the dishes mirrors the people’s love for family and good food. If you’re lucky you might witness locals make the popular dolma, a dish made from grape leaves and stuffed with minced meat. So historically significant is the dish that in 2017 dolma making was included into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Often overlooked as a tourist destination, Armenia is a cache of fascinating cultural heritage, awe-inspiring landmarks, incredible sceneries, and warm, friendly people. The country’s past, although laced with pathos and tragedy, is a testimony of Armenians’ courage and resiliency. An excursion to this ancient and mystical country is as fulfilling as it is enlightening.
In 301 AD, Armenia became the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion. The Armenian King Trdat III begun building Christian churches, including the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the oldest one in the world. Armenia’s religious history is evident in the extraordinary medieval monasteries scattered across the country.
Armenia’s terrain is mostly mountainous, crisscrossed by swift-flowing rivers, and dotted with sparse forests. The dramatically striking landscape is ideal for trekking and other outdoor activities. In the Armenian highlands, you will find Lake Sevan, famous for its crystal waters that switch colors, from azure to deep blue to turquoise, depending on the time of the day.
Perhaps the most iconic natural landmark in the country is the biblical Mount Ararat, located on the Armenian-Turkish border. The mountain’s snowcapped peak is visible from many parts of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. Yet, you can witness its most breathtaking view on top of the Yerevan Cascade, an enormous stairway made of limestones.
A visit to Armenia is incomplete without experiencing its sumptuous cuisine. Kick-off your gastronomical quest with spas a creamy soup made from fermented yogurt. For the main dish sample kyufta, Armenia’s version of meatballs or khorovats, its version of barbeque. To satisfy your craving for a hearty snack, try basturma, dried meat coated with garlic and fenugreek, usually wrapped in Armenian pita bread. Complete your meal with the famous Armenian golden apricot or with a piece of kadaif, a dessert made of shredded dough soaked in sugar-based syrup and layered with cheese and chopped nuts.
From verdant vineyards strewn across lush valleys to ancient churches dotting its enthralling mountain scenery, Georgia’s rich cultural heritage and astounding vistas make it a perfect destination for history afficionados and nature lovers.
By far, the most visited country in the South Caucasus, it offers a wide range of activities that would excite even the fussiest traveler. Its capital Tbilisi has a throbbing nightlife, an impressive array of world-class restaurants, and a chill hipster vibe that attracts people from around the world. However, Georgia’s most valuable attribute is its people. Friendly, proud, warm, and lively, Georgians take hospitality to heart.
Despite its tiny size, Georgia boasts of diverse landscapes, from the picturesque beaches along the Black Sea coast to the vast ski resorts on the surrounding mountain ranges. All across the country are lakes, rivers, and therapeutic hot springs, such as the one in the Borjomi, a renowned health and wellness destination since the ancient times.
Georgia’s attractions are also as varied as its unique landscape. In the north is Shatili Old Town, a spectacular collection of defensive watchtowers and flat-roofed houses clustered tightly on a steep hillside. In the south is Vardzia, a sprawling cave monastery dating to the 12th century, while in the east is the historical province of Kakheti, a premier wine growing region, a mecca for wine connoisseurs and those aspiring to be.
In the west, you’ll find the Gelati Monastery, a monastic complex that was established in 1106 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A short drive north of Tbilisi is the ancient city of Mtskheta, the former capital of the country. Here you will find the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, another structure recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its outstanding architecture.
While in Georgia, you should sample the wine. Some historians believe that Georgia has been producing wine for over 7, 000 years, making it the birthplace of the drink. Take time to enjoy the best Georgian wine along with delectable Georgian cuisine in the company of welcoming locals, and you’ve got yourself an experience of a lifetime.
The wonders and mysteries of the Caucasus are waiting to be discovered and explored. Booming Baku, artistic Yerevan, and cozy Tbilisi – the cities are as multi-layered as the heights and dips of the mountain ranges. Whether you’re looking to satisfy your gastronomical cravings, delve into the vivid history of the region, or immerse yourself in a culture that is distinct yet familiar, there is always something for everyone in the Caucasus.
The Atrium Cafe in Avoya Travel’s new innovation center. Avoya Travel added about 500 travel advisors in 2019. Avoya Travel
Hurtigruten Cruises’ MS Fram in Cozumel Harbor, Mexico. Cruisers are choosing off-the-beaten-path destinations. Dietmar Denger / Hurtigruten Cruises
Expedition cruises such as this one on Hurtigruten Cruises’ MS Road Amundsen in the Antarctic are popular among travelers during this year’s wave season. David Avila / Hurtigruten Cruises
Grandparents and grandchildren enjoy rafting on a trip with Road Scholar in the Ozark Mountains of the United States. Road Scholar / Road Scholar