The idea of taking a year off before plunging into the rat race or college is a reckless one to most. But a few weeks ago Malia Obama decided to take a year off before starting college at Harvard and suddenly the idea isn’t sounding so bad after all. Even billionaire Michael Novogratz urged students finishing college to skip the Goldman Sachs internship and take a year to travel instead.
But what if you aren’t the president’s daughter, or the son of a hedge fund billionaire – what are your options? Gap year jobs! Traveling the world without a regular stream of income is a bit reckless, so we’ve researched some viable gigs and tips on how to get them.
7 GAP YEAR JOBS FOR YOU:
1. Hostel Staff
Hostel jobs are popular amongst travelers because they offer housing and are a great way to meet people from all over the world. Given their popularity, it’s important to be prepared before applying to a hostel staff job. Useful for most gap year jobs, it helps to speak at least a little bit of another language as communication will likely be an important part of the gig. Make a serious effort to brush up your CV (Curriculum Vitae) and highlight your hospitality and communication skills.
Websites like hosteljobs.net are helpful in researching hostel staff jobs but if you want to increase your chances of finding something, research local hostels in the cities that you are considering living in and email them directly. Additionally, doing a little bit of research in finding out who currently works at the hostel and what skills they have (LinkedIn and Twitter can be your best friend here) will go a long way.
Another tip is to not wait for tourist season to apply as most jobs will likely taken by then. Instead, start early and apply at least two months in advance.
A final option is to offer volunteering or doing a work-exchange program first. This way you have accommodations taken care of while you look for a more permanent position elsewhere.
2. Freelancer/Digital Nomad
Being a digital nomad or freelancer means you get to build a career while trotting the globe. If you’re looking for a location-independent job consider marketing the existing skills you have as a freelancer through sites like Upwork and Fivrr, or building new skills that you canmarket. If you’ve already got the chops but don’t know how to land a digital nomad opportunity, look up top freelancers in your industry and see how they are promoting themselves – what makes them stand out from the rest?
Of all the gap year jobs out there, this is the one that really requires personal branding. Set up a portfolio page and actively seek out work.Weworkremotely is a great nomadic job search site to help you get started.
3. Holiday Rep Jobs
If working on a resort in the South of Spain sounds like something you’d be into, then a holiday job might be perfect a fit for you. Also referred to as destination rep jobs, they usually involve providing customer service to groups on holiday at resorts. Unlike other gap year jobs, these are often seasonal and relatively easy to land. Ranging from positions like chalet hosts to social media managers, holiday jobs are also a good way to build your resume while exploring a new country. Again, begin your research early and sell the skills you have.
A huge benefit of most holiday rep jobs is free accommodation. Many employers add in the perk of free flights to and from the resort as well.
Don’t be shy in contacting resorts or other travelers if you are considering this option– networking can only help you in finding an opportunity.
Teaching abroad allows you to make a difference while you see the world. While educating students in various subjects, young travelers who choose to spend their gap year teaching often nearby countries on weekends and holidays for cheap. Additionally, you get to interact with locals on a daily basis and meet other young teachers from all over the world.
For English speakers, teaching English abroad is the most popular way choice. To teach English in another country, you first need to enroll in a TESL/TEFL course. Once you get certified, you’ll then need to select a country to teach in. There are several companies like Oxford Seminars who then help you get placed into the country of your choice. Popular destinations that pay the most for teaching English are South Korea and China.
5. Au Pair
If leaving your family to travel is the biggest reason holding you back, becoming an Au Pair is the best choice for you. As an Au Pair, you’ll be part of a host family who will help you learn the language and culture while providing you a sense of home. Mostly between the ages of 18 – 26, Au Pairs provide live-in child care to families in exchange for accommodations and a weekly stipend. The first step in Au Pairing is to find a host family in a city you are interested in by using a site like Au Pair World. Research the steps needed to Au Pair in the given country and be prepared to have a truly life-changing experience.
Fun fact: contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a female to Au Pair.
6. Catering Assistant
Are you a budding Jamie Oliver with a passion for the culinary arts? If a job as a catering assistant in Northern France gives you the chills, then you should seriously consider this option. Requiring minimal experience, catering assistant jobs are a great way to get your feet wet in the world of catering. Prepare to be challenged both physically and mentally as you learn the ins-and-outs of the business.
Packages for catering assistant jobs typically include monthly pay, training and development, and accommodation. All the while, you get to experience a new city and culture.
7. Adventure Tour Leader
Leading group hiking adventures in Patagonia, camel riding trips in Morocco, the life of an adventure tour leader is endlessly exciting. Unlike other gap year jobs, there’s no boss looking over your shoulder so you’ll have tons of autonomy. You’ll get to travel to multiple cities and countries working for most of the major operators.
Skills required to succeed as a tour leader include managing groups, communication, and love for the outdoors. The ability to deal with issues is also an important skill to have as many issues can arise while leading large groups.