People people people it’s all about serving the people.
Hospitality Jobs for the Traveler
Getting paid to travel around the world would seem to be the ideal job. Until you remember that you’ve also got to baby sit a whole bunch of dumb tourists who are always getting lost, holding everyone up and moaning that there’s no ketchup on the tables.
You can make some good commissions on the side though and get to see a bunch of places you might never have got to otherwise.
Check out the Roadjunky Tour Leading Guide for more details.
Check out the Roadjunky Tour Leading Guide for more details.
You don’t have to be Tom Cruise spinning bottles in the air to work as a bar tender. You don’t even have to know how to make a thousand drinks. The main thing is that you keep people talking and therefore drinking. Hence the cliché of the patient, listening bar tender, who can keep people company at the bar and yet serve all the requests coming in.
The nature of bar tending varies from bar to bar and country to country. In the US it’s something of an art whereas in Europe it’s on the same level as working in a café. It’s only really worth doing in countries where it’s standard to tip bar tenders e.g. the US, parts of Scandinavia, Israel and high class joints in Asia.
You need to be quite a together person, sociable and really patient with all the drunken fuck-ups who will want to talk to you and ‘tell the facts of their lives like small talk on strangers’, to quote the immortal Tom Waits.
Bar tenders also get laid a lot, apparently.
In some places of the world, bartending is as simple as pulling beers out of a fridge, in others you’re expected to know a whole array of fancy cocktails. There exist courses to help you with the latter but the main thing is to get some experience in a small bar. Approach bar owners directly and charm your way in.
Working as a waiter or waitress can be a minimum wage slog or ridiculously easy money, depending on where you serve up the eats. Working in a cheap diner may only cover your living expenses but a cocktail waitress in New York could retire at 30 with the tips to be had.
In countries where people tip (most of the world) your take generally works out at around 10-15% so the more expensive the restaurant the more you’ll make. You’ll also find people who like to show off by leaving conspicuously large tips and you’ll soon learn how to play to their egos.
To work the plush places you’ll want to take care with your appearance so that you look like you’re worth the money. Keep smiling and get to know the customers as much as possible. If you actually care that they’re enjoying their meals then that will come across and they’ll be more likely to show their appreciation.
To get job waiting tables you just need to walk into restaurants and hype your experience and skills. It’s all about confidence and ease in this kind of work.
Hostessing is a job commonly found in South East Asia, Japan in particular. It’s a job open only to women and the Western look tends to cause quite a stir in a continent of homogenous appearance. Blue eyed blondes can’t go wrong.
Hostessing involves working in clubs where men come to drink, smoke and feel important. Your job as hostess is to sit at tables with them, light their cigars, fill up their glasses and laugh at their corny jokes.
Note that sex or physical touch (beyond maybe holding hands) doesn’t come into it – they go elsewhere for that. You’re simply there to boost their ego and cheer them up.
It can be quite nauseous work to simper and smile like a doll for the average drunken Japanese boss who comes in with the underlings from his office, cracking adolescent jokes all night and leering at you but the money is really fucking good. Anyway, perhaps there’s room for being a hostess with an attitude if you can pull it off.
Working as an au pair is usually for young women who want to go and live abroad but without having to be fully independent. They take care of the kids of the family they live with and the latter gives room and board, some pocket money and moral support.
For the work that you do as an au pair – taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, babysitting on weekends – the money really isn’t worth it. You could do a real job, pay your own rent and actually make some money.
It’s normally quite an easy gig though as the host families appreciate that you’re young and shouldn’t demand too much of you. If you get a good placement then your hosts will be supportive and help you adjust to the whole cultural experience of living in another country. It’s also a good way to learn a new language through immersion.
Of course you could be unlucky enough to end up with a really mean family and lumbered 6 days a week with the most obnoxious kids on earth. It’s a bit of a roll of the dice. Check it out thoroughly.
Whenever you see a restaurant, café, bar or small shop, you can bet that there’s room for a manager. Most owners want to sit back and let the profits roll in and, even if they still do work hands-on, few will want to work all the time.
If you’ve got the ability to deal with the public, kick the workers into shape and make money for the man, then you’ll be invaluable. Obviously, it helps if you know something about hospitality, retail or whatever but you can always fake a few references and rely upon a natural talent for organisation, delegation and bluffing.
No one travels more than a steward or a stewardess (flight attendant is too PC for us). They take flights like most people catch the train and all they have to do is ask you if you want pretzels with your tomato juice.
You do need qualifications for this job but almost every country has their own airline and if you speak a couple of languages you could well be in demand by other airlines. You need to be able to handle weird hours, jet lag and hundreds of people who may be rude, difficult or freaking out at a quaint belief that they’re hurtling through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour.
It’s a professional job that pays well, there’s a lot of flexibility on work schedules and you can take loads of holidays each year. It is heavy on the system though and it’s easy to burn out.
Cruise ships are probably at the most disgusting end of consumer travel and are a world in themselves. Hundreds, even thousands, of passengers pay a huge sum to be sailed around the world on liners that have all the social activities, sports, gambling, discos and social life that they’ve always dreamed of. And then every now and then the boat stops at a port and they get an afternoon on shore to be ripped off by the local merchants.
As cruise ships are like small towns, there’s a million types of jobs you can do – bar tend, wait tables, cook, look after kids, perform on stage, take photos, work as security, organise entertainment etc and you don’t even have to be very good at any of these – no one of any great talent would be found wasting their time on a cruise ship.
Hours on cruise ships are long but as there’s nowhere to spend your money, it’s easy to save.
Families who want to go on holiday and have everything organised for them often go to summer resorts where the kids have activities laid on for them, the women can get massages and the men can get drunk around the pool. Summer resorts tend to attract a fairly vulgar crowd out for a good time and bad behaviour, so be warned.
Summer camps are always in need or reps (representatives) to ferry the customers to and fro the airport, explain the rules and the schedules, sort out problems with the accommodation and do just about anything they’re asked, short of sexual favours.
Like cruise ships, there’s also room for the usual hospitality crew of cooks, waiters, performers and cleaners.
The bonus is that there are loads of summer resorts on islands with great beaches so whilst your working hours may be hell, at least you’ll have found a way to swim in paradise every day without going broke.
You’ve probably already stayed in a few of them – ever thought about working in a hostel? There’s quite a fast turnover of staff in the hostel world and receptionists are always in demand.
Hostels often employ backpackers cash in hand, reasoning that they’re likely to be good at the job as they understand the needs of the clientele. Hostels rarely pay much but you get a lot of kudos from the cute guests which is always a bonus. And odds are it will be in a place that attracted you in the first place. You’ll meet a ton of people – get their addresses so you can sofa surf if you ever visit their country.
Write to millions of hostels via hostelworld.com and make your pitch.
Hotels are a cut above hostels and will tend to employ receptionists with some computer skills and language skills. Porters just need to be strong though and there are tips for everyone in most hotels. Again, whilst hostels will employ any scruffy vagabond, hotels like to keep appearances up so to get a job you’ll need to look the part.
Whilst summer camps for kids are only really big in the US, they’re found all round the world and this seasonal job offers opportunities for people ready to entertain hundreds of over-excited, hyperactive, screaming kids all drugged up on white sugar and absence of parents.
It’s all about fun, games and character forming on summer camps so you’re supposed to be 100% with the program and make the kids follow suit. If you’re good at sports you can instruct and if you can make fires and put plasters on grazed knees then you’re bound to get a job.
Camp America programs get European teenagers to come and work for peanuts but if you get a work visa then you can actually make money at these camps. A fake green card may not work here as law forces the organisers to make extensive background checks.
There’s always plenty of work in the winter as well anywhere there’s a mountain with ski-able slopes. You don’t need to be an instructor to get work – there’s loads of demand for chalet staff to look after the guests, people to work in the bars and man the shops.
Try to get a job working with the guests as they tend to be fairly wealthy to go skiing in the first place and will tip well. Supplying bottles of whiskey and coke late at night is the kind of angle you’ll want to work.
At the very least you’ll get to go skiing for free or very cheaply.