A lot of us share the dream of traveling around the world full-time. In reality though, we have bills to pay and we have to be able to feed ourselves. For most of us, that means a job that we can do while we’re traveling or one that involves travel for work. I spent a lot of time in college trying to explore the best way to do this and I’ve talked to many people (interviewing over 60 women) on how they balance their careers and their travels. After some research, I wanted to share my list of the best majors for travel (in no particular order)!
I’ve included links to relevant Woman of the Week interviews where I’ve talked with working women from around the world to find out what they do and how it helps them travel. I’ve also included some relevant links for more information about these majors.
Remember – a degree is just a start and doesn’t mean you have to work in this field or that you’re limited in your career. But here are some of the top majors that make finding a job with travel options easiest.
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Education is the super popular major for those interested in travel, and for good reason. Especially if you’re an English teacher, there are options for you to teach in almost any country. Depending on the country, sometimes you can acquire free accommodations, have a really great income, and even get incredible benefits of vacation time. All from the vantage point of a different country!
It’s important to make sure that you have the appropriate qualifications – teaching is a really hard job and some people get into the field thinking it’s an easy ticket to travel and are disappointed and surprised. But if you’re ready for the challenge, a degree in education can help you see the world whether you’re working abroad or traveling during the summer breaks of which many people are so envious.
Majoring in business is another field that can be hugely helpful. Obviously this is a broad category, but I’ve met a lot of business majors who either travel for work or I forwarded great benefits because of their salary but allows him more flexibility than others. You could start your own business, provide consultant or in a list of services to other businesses, often remote, travel to conferences representing your corporation, The list goes on and on.
I know many people for whom their business degree has given them a lot of options, even if they’re not working specifically on a business position. Sometimes these jobs just have a lot of benefits in terms of income, and if you can manage to find a remote business roll or a place with decent vacation time you can afford to do a lot more than you could otherwise. Even if you need to work really hard for a few years and take a year off I know long-term adventure, business can be a great option.
A degree in international management will give you the skills to manage global businesses and organizations. This will give you the chance to work from a lot of different countries, depending on the organization with whom you are employed. This is less likely to be a remote roll and more likely to be a long-term position you assume abroad, so it might be better suited for those who want to relocate more permanently to a new location.
Similarly to international management, this major prepares you to specifically focus on managing a nonprofit organization. There are thousands, if not millions, of nonprofit organizations around the world. All you need to do is gain the required skills for the position, find a cause you care about, and start applying! Many of these positions could be remote granting you even more travel opportunities, but if you apply to an organization based in another country, you’ll be guaranteed a chance to live abroad at a minimum.
Nowadays, so much of marketing takes place online or on social media. And luckily, most of that begins on your computer or phone, making marketing a great fit for remote rolls that allow you to travel. With a degree in marketing, you can help a business or organization you love find their ideal customers. Maybe this company is stationed abroad and you move to join them there, or maybe you can convince them to let you take your role remotely and work from wherever you want!
I am currently employed as a marketing manager for a non-profit Fair Trade store called Global Gifts. It’s a remote role except for store events and visits for product photos and such, but you’d never think it by their four brick-and-mortar shops!
Web design, computer programming, or anything related to computers and technology can be an incredible option people who want to travel a lot. We may seem obvious but most of these positions require you working from your laptop or a computer, and in many cases these positions are are there any remote, or can become remote with a little sweet talking to your boss.
I’ve also seen tons and tons of people start to run businesses consulting and helping other people with the web aspect of their own business. If you’re not a programmer, any sort of programming you might need for your website, at, or whatever else can be incredibly overwhelming and you need an expert’s. That’s where you come in!
A large number of photographers are freelancers. If you want to be a travel photographer then you’ll find clients who need your photography skills, go where they are, and work your magic. It definitely requires a lot of business savvy, dedication, and flexibility – but the flexibility can be what makes travel so possible. If you’re a wedding photographer and you can do shoots for destination weddings. If you’re a travel photographer, well, enough said. With portrait photography, you can really work from anywhere in the world.
I’ve even met a man who is a crisis photographer, making most of his living by traveling to war zones or areas hit by natural disasters a few times a year, and selling his photos to BBC or other similar news stations.
LINGUISTICS & LANGUAGES
Linguistics and language studies aren’t the same thing, actually. Language studies would include learning Arabic or Swahili, while linguistics is the study of how language is formed and spoken. Still, both offer some interesting opportunities to visit the region of whatever language you choose to focus on for immersive experiences.
Once you have your degree you can relocate to conduct research or teach, for example. Studying a specific language could also give you opportunities to teach the language online, giving you a more remote role that could open up even more travel opportunities.
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With a nursing degree you have to option to join a lot of organizations that do nursing work abroad. Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, and UNICEF are just a few examples. It’s incredibly hard work and doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be having comfortable travels on pristine beaches. You’ll work long hours and on medical missions typically be sent to regions suffering after natural disasters or dealing with outbreaks and epidemics. But the work is rewarding and much needed.
An alternative to medical missions is travel nursing, where you can work shorter contracts in different cities. This gives you a chance to lay down a bit more stability while still getting to explore a new area. Two Dusty Travelers is a great blog and resource for travel nursing and volunteering abroad, ethically.
As the name implies, a major in international affairs gets you working on issues affecting countries around the world. There is a lot of room for specialization here toward a topic you’re really passionate about. Maybe you’re working for a non-profit that deals with maternal health or world hunger. Maybe you’re writing policies to protect populations in need. Or maybe you’re an advocate for your favorite cause, traveling to countries speaking out about your beliefs.
TOURISM & EVENT MANAGEMENT
If your dreams of working and traveling include visions of you being directly in the travel industry, this is probably a top major to consider. Studying tourism and event management can set you up with the background knowledge to work in a travel agency, work abroad at a major museum or park planning events for travelers or lead tours through your favorite city.
If you want to take your work outdoors and abroad, why not study outdoor recreation? With a major in this field, you can be the first in line for jobs in a national park, leading adventure activities like scuba diving or trekking for travel companies, or teaching your favorite outdoor recreation activity to newbies in a foreign country.
Journalism obviously means you’ll be doing a lot of writing, and luckily that can usually be done from your laptop. You might need some Wi-Fi to conduct research on whatever topic you’re writing about but once it’s collected, you could write your article from the mountain tops or the beach – wherever your heart desires!
Closely related to journalism, a major in creative writing could be a perfect start to your remote life as an author. If you’ve always dreamed of writing a novel then this might be the major for you. Whether you’ve already got a contract for a manuscript or you’re hoping to self-publish, you’ll need a laptop and some self-discipline and then you can write from wherever in the world you wish to travel.
DIGITAL COMMUNICATION & MEDIA
Just about every business and organization that exists could is utilizing digital communications and social media to promote themselves. (Or at least they should be and/or want to be!) Considering it’s a job that can be done almost entirely from your laptop or phone, it’s a great one for those who want to work remotely. Whether you’re employed by a specific agency or work freelance, there are tons of options in this field that is only going to keep growing.
Global studies gives you a background in international issues which – no shock here – opens you up to some great chances to work with globally-focused organizations. It’s a somewhat broad field with overlap in International Relations and International Business. Your classes might include
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST MAJORS FOR TRAVEL
So there you have it, 16 of the best majors for jobs to travel the world. Whether you move abroad to work with a foreign organization or you assume a remote roll and travel wherever you want, these majors can open the door for you. Of course, the great thing about these majors is that they’re super broad and can be done in your home country as well. Once you have the degree and the skills you can transfer them just about anywhere!
To be sure, there are plenty of majors not on this list that afford you plenty of similar opportunities. In fact, I majored in history and mental health (a self-designed major). I ended up working in a remote roll for a program that pairs college mentors with incarcerated teens so you might have imagined I’d studied criminal justice – none of the three which are on this list.
The same rules apply for just about any major – either find an organization abroad who will hire you, or figure out a way to take your skills remote. Either option can lead to you typing your big reports and sending emails from the airport, on the way to your dream destination.
For a few more interviews with people who majored in subjects not listed here, check out the following: