27 Resources That Will Help You Make Travel Part of Your Career
Have you ever considered transitioning into a career that involves travel? Many people in the travel blogging world can make it sound like mixing work and travel is easy or that you can change your entire lifestyle in an instant—but it’s not quite that simple.
Many people travel for business or work, while others have made their entire career out of travel blogging, writing, or being a travel “influencer” (i.e., someone who tells other people where to go next). Either way, making travel more than a vacation takes a lot of time and work.
So, what can you do to figure out the logistics of incorporating travel into your career?
It all starts with taking advantage of the resources available at your fingertips—including travel conferences, networking opportunities, websites, job search tools, and more. To get you started, here are 27 of the best resources I’ve found to help you prepare for and successfully build travel into your career.
Travel Conferences and Networking Opportunities
TBEX is the behemoth of travel conferences—a travel blogging conference in both Europe and North America for anyone in travel media, marketing, public relations, or content creation. At TBEX, you’ll have the chance to network, listen to knowledgeable speakers, and learn tips about growing a blog, gaining more followers on social media, and taking the leap into travel.
Started by the author of The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau, the World Domination Summit is a one-of-a-kind networking experience, described as “a gathering of creative, interesting people from all over the world engaging in an immersive experience in life, work, and travel.” From Academies (TED talk-like educational mini events) to Bollywood dancing, it has a little bit of everything.
This conference poses the question, “How can we use the travel industry to make an impact on the world?” To find an answer, a small community of startup leaders, organizations, and travel bloggers get together to discuss the most pertinent issues.
4. Book Passage
The Book Passage conference provides practical, hands-on instruction to budding and experienced writers and photographers—specifically in the genre of travel. The conference has a great reputation among travel authors and writers; many participants successfully get published or launch their career after attending this conference.
Travel Massive is a community of travelers that hosts gatherings and events all over the world (e.g., parties, seminars, and dinners) to network and collaborate. They have monthly meetups in places like Chiang Mai, Denver, Baltimore, and New York.
At this conference, you’ll meet leading women in travel blogging, connect with brands (e.g., TripAdvisor and Go! Girl Travel Network), and engage in the global sisterhood of traveling women. The travelers at WITS are smart and savvy and, with some strategic networking, can become valuable resources and friends.
Sponsored by Go! Girl Travel Guides, this conference is great for both travel newbies and experts. It will get you pumped to travel as you learn tips about a range of topics, from traveling through the Middle East as a woman to dealing with harassment abroad.
International Job Search Resources
8. DevNet Jobs
This site lists a wide variety of jobs in international development—everything from short-term UN consultancies to long-term gigs abroad. You can get a weekly job newsletter for free, but if you’re serious about using the site to find a position, you can sign up for a paid subscription to get access to even more opportunities.
9. Global Jobs
This listserv focuses on international opportunities, as well as several DC- and NYC-based jobs at think tanks and policy centers.
TakingITGlobal is a network of young people who are all working toward solving global challenges, so it’s a great place to connect—but it also features a large database of grants, scholarships, volunteer programs, and jobs.
This job site lists positions in international development and at the United Nations—but make sure you evaluate each position carefully; some postings may be for internal candidates only.
Over 100,000 organizations use this site to post jobs, volunteer opportunities, and internships. If you’re looking for a way to work with a nonprofit organization internationally or stateside, this is the place to find the perfect opportunity.
Fellowships and Other International Opportunities
If you’re looking for a fellowship or scholarship, this site hosts an impressive inventory of opportunities both at home and abroad. The site also offers great content about navigating the application process. Check out an interview with the founder, Vicki Johnson, here.
This program, which has existed for over a century, offers 150 fellowships in 20 countries and works to promote service around the world. It’s a fantastic opportunity to teach English or work at an NGO in Latin America or Asia—and you don’t even have to enroll in Princeton to be a part of it.
15. Boren Awards
This competitive fellowship enables recent graduates to study abroad for up to a year to master a language of their choice.
Global Health Corps provides fellowship opportunities for young professionals to travel abroad with the goal of promoting public health around the world.
One of the most noteworthy international fellowships, the Fulbright allows fellows to pursue research or teaching opportunities in the country of their choice. Currently, the program awards 1,900 grants in more than 140 countries.
If you’re still in school—undergraduate or graduate—and are interesting in immersing yourself in another language, such as Turkish, Arabic, Japanese, or Urdu, look into the Critical Language Scholarship. No matter the current level of your language knowledge, CLS can provide the right opportunity for you.
19. Kiva Fellows
If you’re not ready to move your entire life abroad, Kiva fellows work in microfinance and development—but the job only requires a moderate amount of travel, with most of the work here in the U.S.
Travel Fundraising Platforms
GoFundMe allows people to raise funds for any project, whether it’s for travel, starting a nonprofit, or a personal goal. To date, over $750 million has been raised by users of the site.
This crowdfunding site is specifically for travel. People use it, for example, to crowd-fund expeditions to the Arctic and backpacking trips abroad.
Social Good Resources
If you’re looking to research international project funding options, build grant-writing skills, or find a grant, this is the place to go. The Foundation Center has one of the largest databases of grants and grantmakers around the world.
WhyDev is an online resource that supports organizations and communities committed to development abroad. You’ll find articles that feature unique perspectives and lessons from the field and the famous “52 Pick Up Lines That Will Win the Heart of an Aid Worker.” It’s a great resource for anyone working in international aid or the nonprofit world.
This charity watchdog group keeps charities honest and urges transparency in the social good industry by maintaining statistics on each organization’s impact and budgets and by giving each charity a corresponding grade. This can be a helpful resource when you’re trying to determine which organizations are a good fit for you to work with or volunteer for.
Similar to Charity Navigator, GuideStar encourages investing in charities wisely. To help you make good decisions, it offers up-to-date information (such as annual reports for the previous three years) on thousands of nonprofits that do great work all over the world. Another great resource for researching organizations you’re interested in working with.
Travel News and Information
Currently the largest travel intelligence site, Skift is the go-to website for industry insights, news, and interesting travel-related articles. No matter your destination, Skift is your resource for information on accommodations, airlines, food and drink, conferences, and more.
27. Matador Network
The Matador Network focuses on travel content, featuring tips, and stories from all over the world. It also runs Matador U, a training program that helps bloggers learn the ins and outs of travel writing and get their work published.
If you have always dreamed of going abroad, these resources are a great place to start. Start researching, blogging, attending conferences, and reviewing the opportunities that are out there, and you will be surprised at how quickly you will be able to get out in the world and explore.
Natalie Jesionka has researched and reported on human rights issues around the world. She lectures on human trafficking, gender and conflict, and human rights at Rutgers University. When she is not teaching, she is traveling and offering tips on how students and professionals can get the most out of their experiences abroad. She also encourages global exploration through her work as Editor of Shatter the Looking Glass, an ethical travel magazine. Natalie is a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and served as a 2010 Fulbright Scholar in Thailand.More from this Author