15 highest-paying travel jobs

It’s been a real wild ride for the travel industry in the past year and a half. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently revealed the industry was hit 18 times harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than the financial crisis of 2008. With global tourism coming to a halt in 2020, over 60 million jobs were lost.

However, with restrictions lifting over the last six months and people “revenge traveling” all over the place, there is job growth in this sector with well-paying jobs in high demand.

Take a look at the 15 highest-paying travel jobs available and learn what skills you need to launch a career in a new part of the world.

1. Sales Director

Average Annual Salary: $175,376

Sales directors are in charge of everything pertaining to sales for their company. This job requires a lot of travel to develop relationships with clients, represent the business at conferences, and complete other tasks.

2. Airline Pilot

Average Annual Salary: $140,601

Airline pilots normally need a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science or another field. You also need an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. As a pilot, you’ll be free to explore each city in which you land. 

3. Cruise Ship Director

Average Annual Salary: $136,000

A cruise ship director is responsible for overseeing all of the other staff members on a cruise ship. This is not an entry level position — you need to have extensive hospitality and/or entertainment experience to excel in this job. However, if you’re qualified, you’ll get to see a variety of cruise ports. 

4. Creative Director

Average Annual Salary: $126,297

Creative directors take the lead on advertising and branding. They work with designers, writers, and other members of the creative team. A bachelor’s degree in advertising or communications will be helpful in this role — and you’ll probably find yourself traveling to meet with clients on a regular basis.

5. Travel Publicist 

Average Annual Salary: $116,000

Travel publicists work with hotels, airlines, and other clients to provide PR services. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, or business. Some companies want to see a master’s degree in PR, too. Travel publicists stay on the go visiting clients and going on press trips.

6. Hotel Manager 

Average Annual Salary: $105,000

To be a competent hotel manager, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in hospitality. You might land a job at a hotel overseas or in a new city where you’ve never lived. Hotel managers also might need to travel to attend industry events.

7. Luxury Travel Advisor 

Average Annual Salary: $100,000

Luxury travel advisors have a different job than travel agents. Whereas travel agents book all kinds of trips, luxury advisors only work with five-star travel — helping boost their annual salary to six figures. Working with a travel agency will help you get clients.

8. Foreign Affairs Analyst

Average Annual Salary: $93,427

A foreign affairs analyst helps government officials strategize solutions to economic, political, and foreign policy issues. It’s essential to be knowledgeable about the country in which you’d like to work.

9. Travel Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $76,380

Travel nurses go anywhere in the world that medical care is needed. You need to be at least an RN and preferably a BSN to be qualified for this job. Then you’ll be able to accept short-term assignments in other cities or countries. 

10. Oil Rig Worker

Average Annual Salary: $75,511

Oil rig workers make a handsome salary for their jobs working as derrickmen, drillers, or cooks. And since these workers rarely stay on the same rig for more than a few months at most, they’re able to travel to different parts of the world. 

11. Archaeologist 

Average Annual Salary: $63,670

See the world and learn its history by working as an archaeologist, where you might be tasked to work on dig sites in far-flung locations. Most archaeologists have a bachelor’s degree in archaeology or anthropology. 

12. International Journalist

Average Annual Salary: $61,822

An international journalist travels around the world to report on news stories. This job requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Communications or international relations may also be helpful fields of study. 

13. Travel Blogger

Average Annual Salary: $63,173

Not every travel blogger makes it big. But those who do manage a career out of their blogs can comfortably fund their travels. You don’t need any special education to be a travel blogger — just photography and writing expertise, and the ability to communicate with brands for partnerships. 

14. English Teacher Abroad 

Average Annual Salary: $42,000

If you have a TEFL certification (required by most countries), you can teach English abroad. Most teachers earn between $2,000 and $5,000 per month in addition to their accommodation. However, most contracts last only a few months. 

15. Photographer

Average Annual Salary: $41,940
Skilled behind a camera? Try becoming a travel photographer. You can work for resorts or travel agencies shooting enticing shots of what they have to offer. Other photography jobs can involve travel, too — like wedding photography or stock photo jobs.