TRAVEL

Get Paid To Travel With These Stellar Real-Life Jobs

Aug 18, 2013 | Updated Jan 12, 2015

Ahh, what the world would be if we Americans were paid to vacation... but alas, we're not.

Live as close to the dream as possible with one of these travel-heavy jobs.

Wildlife Photographer
Once you’ve mastered the camera, you might find a gig taking pictures of penguins playing in Antarctica or cheetahs prowling the African savannah. Your photos could be auctioned as art, sold to research organizations or –- the ultimate –- featured in National Geographic.
Pro: Watching from the brush as gentle giants roam the forest
Con: Poison ivy
Potential pay: $35,980 per year
wildlife photographer

Writer's Assistant
When an author needs a reporter for on-location research or a wrangler to handle fans on a book tour, you’ll be the right-hand man.
Pro: A sneak peak at the next great American novel
Con: Transcribing each line of the next great American novel while your boss dictates
Potential pay: $31,000 per year
author

Athletic Scout
Scouts work for both college and professional teams. You’ll hit up practices, games and training camps around the country, tracking elite athletes to add to your roster.
Pro: Free field passes to big games
Con: How many high school lacrosse playoffs can you really watch?
Potential pay: $36,680 per year
sport scout

Cruise Ship Bartender
After a cozy (read: squishy) night on the ship's crew deck, you'll mix cocktails for travel-happy passengers with a view of the water.
Pro: A few hours to explore each exotic port
Con: Weekly lifeboat drills
Potential pay: $2,750 per month
cruise ship bar

Celebrity Au Pair
Many wealthy families - famous or otherwise - hire nannies for vacations. Your duties could range from changing diapers in a hotel room to playing board games on a yacht deck in the Mediterranean sun.
Pro: Watching tabloid stories unfold in real time
Con: Winding up in the tabloids
Potential pay: $34,188 per year (and that’s for a non-famous family)
nanny

Location Scout
After talking with a movie's director, you’ll hunt down about 40 spots for filming the scenes. You’ll then negotiate pricing and handle crew setup on the day of shooting.
Pro: Getting a glimpse of Adam Sandler
Con: When Adam Sandler requests a basketball court on set
Potential pay: $300 per day
film shoot

Wedding Planner
A destination wedding isn’t just a plus for guests: after months of prep in the office, planners arrive at exclusive venues up to a week in advance to oversee setup and make sure the big day goes smoothly.
Pro: Leftover cake and an empty dance floor at 2 a.m.
Con: Bridezillas
Potential pay: $44,260 per year
wedding beach

Flight Attendant
We don't mean to state the obvious, but you'll get to fly all over, with perks like a flexible schedule and instant family of in-flight pals.
Pro: Free snacks.
Con: That one passenger with "intestinal issues."
Potential pay: $37,240 per year
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  • Fez, Morocco
    See More of the Best Places to Travel in 2015

    For more than a decade, Marrakesh has been the Moroccan destination on everyone’s list. Fez, about 240 miles northeast, was often an afterthought. But slowly, quietly, a sophisticated scene is taking root. It started with expats and locals restoring riads, and continues as hotels, restaurants, and galleries pop up. The biggest news is the Hotel Sahrai, with a hip rooftop bar and 50 rooms, many overlooking an infinity pool. Other notable places to stay include the medina’s Karawan Riad, whose seven renovated suites offer a modern alternative to more traditional riad hotels, and Palais Faraj, a 19th-century palace transformed by architect Jean-Baptiste Barian. On the culinary front, Restaurant No. 7 is making waves with a rotating series of acclaimed guest chefs. It’s the brainchild of British food writer Tara Stevens and American Stephen Di Renza, part of a group of expats who are encouraging experimentation. So far, overdevelopment isn’t an issue. Whether this will last—especially with the 2015 debut of an upgraded airport, set to accommodate 2.5 million passengers, five times the current volume—is anyone’s guess. Don’t wait to find out. This is the moment to see Fez. Find out more about T+L's top pick for 2015. —Richard Alleman

    Photo: Céline Clanet
  • Catskills, NY
    See More of the Best Places to Travel in 2015

    The region that welcomed Jewish families in the ’50s, hippies in the ’60s, and soon, perhaps, casino gamblers is also making room for a new tribe: hip, design-crazed travelers. A string of stylish B&Bs have opened, many of them by transplants from Manhattan and Brooklyn (call them “hicksters”) who value buzzwords like local, authentic, and handmade. Among them are the bohemian-chic Hotel Dylan in Woodstock, the Arnold House in Livingston Manor, with its tavern and diminutive spa, and Phoenicia’s Graham & Co., where the retro amenities include Tivoli radios, bonfires, and a badminton court. Area farms provide the ingredients for inventive restaurants like Table on Ten, in Bloomville, which just added a trio of whitewashed rooms upstairs. The blackjack tables—and a few megaresort proposals that envision the return of the area’s Borscht Belt heyday—may be only a few years off, so now is the time to enjoy fly-fishing, hiking, antiquing, microbrewery-hopping, and other placid pursuits. —Peter J. Frank

    Photo: Alessandra Mattanza / The Hotel Dylan
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
    See More of the Best Places to Travel in 2015

    If Amsterdam is a study in old-world elegance, then the scrappier port city of Rotterdam is all big, futuristic ambition—and its constantly unfolding city center has become one eye-popping explosion of style. The latest attraction, and reason enough to visit, is the MVRDV-designed Markthal, an igloo-like horseshoe that houses 96 stalls (Dutch cheeses to Moroccan spices, reflecting the polyglot city), 20 shops, nine restaurants, and 228 apartments. It also happens to feature Holland’s largest artwork: a trippy nimbus of mammoth, tumbling fruits and vegetables arching across the market ceiling on 4,500 aluminum panels. Other recent starchitect landmarks include the multipurpose Rotterdam Central Train Station and native son Rem Koolhaas’s nhow hotel, sitting like a pile of stacked metal boxes on the south bank of the Maas River, the city’s reigning cultural hub. After visiting the neighboring Netherlands Photo Museum and the lipstick-red New Luxor Theater, toast a trip well-taken with a Dutch Blossom cocktail in the hotel bar. —Raphael Kadushin

    Photo: Stuart Forster / Alamy
  • Puerto Plata, D.R.
    See More of the Best Places to Travel in 2015

    Far from the resort-clogged beaches of Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic’s less-frequented northern shore has remained largely under the radar. But developments slated for 2015 in Puerto Plata are bound to lure well-heeled sun-seekers. First up is The Gansevoort, offering three-bedroom apartments with private pools and four-bedroom penthouses equipped with rooftop hot tubs. Later in 2015, Aman Villas will become the second Caribbean outpost from Singapore-based Amanresorts and the first golf-integrated Aman Resort. It’s the first phase of a development that aims to introduce some 400 residential villas, along with sports and equestrian facilities. Each is a welcome departure from the island’s cookie-cutter all-inclusives—and a promising sign of what’s to come in the luxury circuit. —Lindsey Olander

    Photo: Gansevoort Hotel Group
  • Wasatch Mountains, Utah
    See More of the Best Places to Travel in 2015

    You can craft a linear story arc from the first edition of Robert Redford’s film festival in 1984 to the summer 2014 purchase of Park City Mountain Resort by Vail Resorts—the behemoth operator’s second recent foray into Park City (it bought the Canyons in 2013). Along the way a small mining town became a cauldron of Olympic athletes, Hollywood’s A-list, and luxury hotel brands like St. Regis and Waldorf Astoria. But a ski region blessed to have won the geographical lottery—seven world-class resorts span three parallel canyons in the rugged Wasatch Mountains, all within an hour’s drive—remained second fiddle to neighboring Colorado, whose star has shined brighter. That’s about to change. Where Vail’s vaunted Epic Pass goes, a legion of loyal snow junkies follows. The new year brings new restaurants, high-speed chairs, and lifts, including one that connects Canyons to PCMR, making it the largest ski resort in the U.S. And the industry is buzzing over a proposal that seems headed for approval called One Wasatch, which would link all seven ski areas in a European-style mega-network spanning 18,000 acres and 100 lifts. The project will have major tourism implications, introducing a new flock of riders to what locals proudly declare on their car license plates: the greatest snow on earth. —Nathan Storey

    Photo courtesy of Canyons Resort
  • Istanbul
    See More of the Best Places to Travel in 2015

    You can’t walk through a neighborhood in Istanbul these days without stumbling upon a debutante hotel primping for its grand entrance. Political unrest hasn’t deterred visitors, with tourism numbers soaring to new highs and hotel groups rushing to meet growing demand. In September 2014, Raffles moved into the business district’s glitzy Zorlu Centre, one of many sleek additions to the ancient city’s sinuous skyline, featuring a mall, office space, and a $350 million performing arts center. Up next: St. Regis in tony Nisantasi and Soho House in trendy Beyoglu. The Vault Hotel debuted in March in Karaköy, Istanbul’s neighborhood du jour, with stately interiors befitting its provenance as an erstwhile bank: an ornate façade, an old-fashioned cagelike elevator, a steel vault–turned–liquor cabinet presiding over the bar. In November, the Morgans Hotel Group unveiled 10 Karaköy nearby, steps from a bevy of new restaurants (join the throngs of stylish locals grazing at Colonie). Even hallowed Old City isn’t immune: Morgans’ next venture, the Mondrian Istanbul, will glam up prime real estate amid Fatih’s Ottoman domes. —Sarah Khan

    Photo courtesy of The House Hotel
  • Chengdu, China
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    Famous for its 1,600 pandas, most of which still live in the wild, Chengdu has introduced a 72-hour no-visa policy that makes it easier for Americans to drop in on one of the city’s three major panda research facilities. (For seeing the black and white bears without turning blue, the best months are June to October.) But it’s worth sticking around longer to experience what’s doing in Chengdu, a city on the rise. One of the shiniest attractions is New Century Global Centre, the world’s largest building, complete with an artificial beach. And there’s a slew of new hotel addresses. London-based Make Architects wraps a three-dimensional woven façade of timber, brick, and step stones around The Temple House, which also incorporate a thousand-year-old Chinese Buddhist temple and restored Qing dynasty courtyard building. Swire’s third “House” hotel opens in January 2015 with 100 rooms, while Six Senses opens the sustainable timber doors at Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, with 113 whitewashed suites, 30 minutes outside town in the still-unspoiled bamboo forest near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Qingcheng—the birthplace of Taoism and the Dujiangyan irrigation system, an ecological engineering feat dating back to around 256 B.C. —Cynthia Rosenfeld

    Photo: An Qi / Alamy
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