Jobs for someone with good skills who prefers travel?
February 8, 2017 12:44 PM   Subscribe

I am currently on a job search and wonder if there is any way to search for a job that the main facet is travel. I'm not looking for something that necessarily brings me to places that I could use as a vacation starting point, but really anywhere.

I have a background in finance, have impeccable references and am at a point in life where I can have no set address. Are there any jobs that require a physical person with general smarts and know how to show up somewhere, or is this a thing of the past? Even a courier position would be interesting.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I know a couple of people who do consulting, which involves going around to different companies/organizations in various places and doing, um, something. To be honest I have no clue what those guys actually do. But from what I understand, with a finance background I bet you could break into that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on February 8, 2017

I work in international health and travel a lot. Perhaps so you look into becoming a project manager or the like for an NGO or international agency?
Or there's always flight attendants or marine/sailing work in which travel is the essence of the job.
posted by emd3737 at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oil buyer. Trainer for a company that sells software to businesses. Leadership/management training.
posted by zdravo at 1:08 PM on February 8, 2017

Definitely look into consulting. My last consulting job was proposal development in healthcare (a combination of writing, editing, business development, research, presentations, and general cat herding) and there was quite a bit of in-person travel to medium and large cities in the US. Sometimes the sames ones over and over. Lots of hotels. Lots of room service. Sometimes I'd be on my own, sometimes I'd be with other consultants from the same firm.

But know, too, that it was pretty intense and we didn't have much time for sightseeing. Sometimes I'd catch a late flight back and be able to spare a few hours -- I got a day in NYC, an evening sitting in the sand in Virginia Beach, an afternoon in Phoenix lugging my suitcase around Roosevelt Row. But sometimes I couldn't -- like, one time, I went to New Orleans and never got past the airport hotel. That kind of blew.

I also used to be in account management/sales (for a web development group) and there were trips. Sometimes to our corporate HQ (in Germany!), sometimes to client sites (New York, San Francisco, etc.). So see also lots of sales type jobs, which can be fun if you don't go too Glengarry over it.
posted by mochapickle at 1:15 PM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

If travel is your primary goal, and you have a finance background, consulting for sure. Deloitte, Accenture, BCG, Bain, etc.

But be really honest with yourself about what this kind of travel is like. It can be brutal, and it takes a very special person to handle it long term. I've had a lot of friends in that business, and none have kept at it for more than a few years. It's like the movie Up In the Air except less glamorous.
posted by primethyme at 1:30 PM on February 8, 2017 [11 favorites]

Corporate Training, as many people have mentioned, but that is going to be a very extroverted job and not everyone can do it. I know that I would not do well in a job where I had to meet and constantly interact with 10-20 new people every week or so.
posted by soelo at 2:15 PM on February 8, 2017

Consulting, as others have mentioned.

You could also look into working for an internationally-focused quasi-governmental body, like the IMF, World Bank, Bank for International Settlements, etc. If you have PhD it'll be easier but even if not I'm pretty sure they'd be interested in practitioners as well.
posted by dismas at 2:18 PM on February 8, 2017

If you're open to something more adventurous, why not consider an NGO like Doctors Without Borders? People with a solid background in finance are definitely needed!! If you want more specific information, feel free to memail me (I've been accepted for an HR/Finance position, and I'm just waiting for a field placement).
posted by hasna at 2:21 PM on February 8, 2017

Consulting isn't really traveling in any traditional sense. Here is what consulting is like in the big firms. You fly out to the client on Sunday. Go to a big office building until Friday. Fly home. It's a corporate job with long hours and then you sleep at the Marriott. If you're a partner and doing sales, you fly to more places to pitch work.

Lots of people make the leap from consulting to industry. Relatively few make the jump in the opposite direction. The old joke is consulting is a great place to be from. It's a crap place to be, but it's good to have it in your background.

If travel is your goal, I'd look to jobs in the industry - hotels, airlines, logistics.
posted by 26.2 at 4:12 PM on February 8, 2017 [7 favorites]

Field Engineer and Sales Engineer would be job titles to keep an eye out for. Depending on the product and territory, those roles can be traveling a lot.
posted by tybstar at 6:54 PM on February 8, 2017

So. . .you want to be employed by a company (or yourself) where the main focus is on getting you in front of a client and doing something related to finance? Or do you want to transition to being something like a travel guide?

I've done freelance business / finance consulting that involved a lot of travel -- working on-site for 1-4 months at a time was fairly typical. I also worked with international events -- ie I would host a networking area at a larger event, etc, or they would book me as a presenter (I usually present about business development or fundraising), which involves travel as well. Just an FYI, I only lasted 3 years doing this full time and I'm greatly relieved to have a fixed address now and not have to go anywhere unless I want to.

The other side to this is simply to work remotely and travel as you wish, as opposed to how your employer wishes.
posted by ananci at 7:03 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh! I just remembered at a large tech company I worked with there was a traveling person from Salesforce who would come to train everyone on setting up enterprise systems. They would come for a week or two and then go train some other company. Salesforce is really ramping up their market share, and is apparently a great company to work for / with -- maybe you could do some training and apply there to be in-house, or become a freelance Salesforce consultant. I don't personally know any freelancers who do this but I do know that this is a thing, as I've seen many companies hiring consultants for Salesforce set up and training.
posted by ananci at 7:39 PM on February 8, 2017

main facet is travel. I'm not looking for something that necessarily brings me to places that I could use as a vacation starting point

This is perhaps where you'll find that business travel generally doesn't work like that - you travel somewhere, work really intensely, travel back, sleep in the more or less grotty hotel down the road from the office. You get a real appreciation of airports and such, you rarely see any part of the cities you travel to. If your plan is to skip the 'going home' but in the middle you still spend a lot of time in places you'd never have chosen to go to because you know, the meeting in Chicago is really in talk to people who actually do this for a living.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:05 PM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Are you American?

You could be a Foreign Service Officer or a Foreign Service Financial Management Officer.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 9:49 PM on February 8, 2017

I manage a US-based team for an international NGO, and I travel domestically for a week or so every month or two (would be more if I said yes to every opportunity) and internationally about once/year (ditto).

The key I think is that the teams I work with are all distributed around the US (and globally when I work on international projects), so we have to get together to meet. I would think any NGO, domestic or international, with a similarly distributed staff would be the same.
posted by lunasol at 3:01 PM on February 9, 2017

I teach part-time at a disreputable university in California. There's absolutely no travel whatsoever as part of my job duties, and the salary is unimpressive. But I have summers off and a six-week winter break, which leaves me plenty of time to spend a couple weeks in Bangkok or ride my bicycle through the mountains of Yunnan province, without having to cram exploring into an already-full work week.

My partner works remotely for a digital agency, so he'll often come with me since it doesn't matter where he works from, as long as the work gets done. Occasionally this means he runs into a snag where the internet is lousy somewhere really rural, but we circumvent that by not traveling to possibly iffy locations before he has a big deadline. Similarly, sometimes he has to be up late for a Skype meeting on the other side of the world (when it's the middle of the workday in the US, it's 11PM in Bangkok!).

There are career-related downsides to both these options. In my case, I've prioritized travel and flexibility over having a career, and I suppose it's biting me in the ass to some degree (insofar as how adjunct teaching requires specialized skills but tends to be a cul-de-sac, professionally speaking). Also I don't make very much money relative to the cost of living in my urban area (but if I accepted more classes, I'd earn more--so again, this is largely my own conscious choice). In his case the downsides are fewer (and in general often specific to one's particular employers), but perhaps they include the requirement of excellent time-management and, maybe, to be well-enough liked by your bosses that when you can't make a scheduled Skype meeting at the last minute because of connectivity issues, no one's especially put out?
posted by tapir-whorf at 5:25 PM on February 9, 2017

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