Cruise Ships, Yachts and Driving – How to Get Paid to Travel (By Working Your Route)
When traveling the world, transportation is often one of the most expensive costs you’ll have. What if there was a way to travel the world and get paid for it? If you’re willing to put in the hours and work, getting paid to travel is a very real possibility and is something that almost anyone (with enough free time) can do.
Here we’ll look at working on board a cruise ship, working as part of a crew on a yacht and how you can get paid to drive around the USA (by delivering cars to people).
Working on Board a Cruise Ship
It is estimated that over 13 million people a year go on cruise holidays, and that number is always rising as the demand for cruises grows. Around 1% of people on a cruise ship are staff, meaning that there’s an estimated 130,000 jobs available currently employed on ships around the world!
Most cruises circulate around the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, but cruises in the Far East and ones that go round the world (RTW cruises) are becoming more and more popular.
Cruise ship job opportunities are vast, as there are dozens of different types of jobs available. Ships will need waiters, retail staff, cleaners, chefs, casino dealers, entertainers and so on. The reason for this is that cruise ships are almost like floating cities. Because they’re out in the water (cut off from the rest of the world) for so long they need to have everything kind of convenience on board that you’d expect at home.
Despite all of this, jobs on cruise ships are typically hard to come by as the competition is fierce (especially if you want to work as part of the entertainment).
Working on cruise ships can be tough as the hours are typically long and the living conditions can be rough in the lower quarters. Unless you’re an officer or working in a high-end job the chances are your cabin will be cramped and you’ll be sharing it with other people.
How much will you earn? Obviously because there’s so much variation in the types of jobs you can do on a cruise ship it can be hard to determine exactly the amount you’ll earn. As a guideline, most positions will pay around $1600 per month and is you’re working a higher-end job you can expect to earn $32,000+ a year.
How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship
Working on a cruise ship is best done as a profession instead of something to do on your gap year. Most cruise ships look for staff between the ages of 21-23 who are enthusiastic, good communicators and highly professional. If you’re applying for a job where you’ll be working with passengers, your chances of being selected will be massively improved if you speak a second language (as there will be passengers from all over the work speaking different languages).
It’s best to apply at least a couple of months before the date of the cruise as they’ll be a lot of applications to get through. The best time to apply (for a first timer) is around Christmas and New Years, as most of the regular workers will be on holiday, meaning there are more cruise ship jobs available than usual.
Something to consider when applying is where the cruise starts and finishes. Chances are it won’t be departing anywhere near where you are, so you may have to fly to get there. Some cruise companies will pay for this flight and some won’t, so be sure to check what concessions are paid for and which ones aren’t when applying.
To get a job on a cruise ship you’ll need a passport (that’s valid for at least a year), travel insurance and a clean criminal record. Depending on where you’re cruise travels to, you may also need specific vaccinations or visas, but these will often be sorted out for you by the cruise company (or at the very least they’ll tell you what you need to get).
Crewing a Yacht
Working a part of the crew on a yacht can be one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have. The sense of freedom you’ll get from sailing and the feeling of accomplishment as you reach your destination can’t be understated.
Crewing a yacht will also allow you to visit places and experience them in ways that most tourists can dream of. For example, the islands in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean are best experienced by sailing in a private yacht.
Crewing a yacht is most certainly not for everyone, so be sure it’s something that you really want to do before applying. You’ll be out at sea for weeks at a time (or longer) and you’ll be living in a very confined space and seeing the same people all day, so you have to be easy-going and adaptable to survive. You’ll be at the constant beck and call of the skipper and you never know what kind of (potentially dangerous) weather conditions you’ll face. Obviously those that suffer from seasickness need not apply!
It’s likely that when you’re crewing a yacht you end up in a different destination to where you started, so you’ll need to have a passport (that doesn’t expire within the next year) and some way of getting home (such as a return flight ticket or enough money to buy one). This is very important, as immigration authorities are very strict on this (as they don’t want people illegally staying in their country).
Competition for places on a yacht can be tough, so having previous sailing experience (while not necessary) will stand you in good stead. If you have no such experience, crewing courses are available and usually last between one and two weeks. In addition to having sailing experience, knowledge of first-aid is much-needed at sea, so being first-aid trained will also help your chances.
Sailing work is very much a seasonal thing, and the main seasons are from October to May in the Caribbean and April to October in the Mediterranean.
How to Find Yacht Crew Jobs
If you want to find a job crewing a yacht before you leave, you could try going through a specialized yacht crewing agency. This is surprisingly the most difficult way to get a job, however, as lots of agencies will require you to have previous sailing experience. In addition
In addition to this, you can find adverts for jobs in yachting magazines (every country will have their own line of magazines) as well.
Most travelers that end up crewing a yacht decide to do it on the spur of the moment once they’re already on the road (instead of planning it and organizing it all beforehand). The best way to find crewing jobs on the road is to hang around the local marina (and in particular the repair yard, as this is where you’ll find lots of skippers who’re repairing their boats).
Finding this kind of job is more about who you know than what you know, so getting to know a few of the connected locals will help your chances, as will doing anything that gets you in contact with the right people.
A tried and tested method is to put up notices (advertising your services) on the marina’s notice boards and at the local yachting accessory store (known as the ‘chandlery’). If none of this works, try you can always ask around each boat if they’re looking for crew members.
Remember that the larger the boat, the more crew members that are needed, so look for yachts that are between 30ft – 50ft long if possible. Another reason to target larger yachts is that they’re more likely to be going on long-distance trips (which is what you’re looking for).
Great places to find sailing work in Europe are Gibraltar, any of the many Greek Islands, the Balearic Islands (such as Majorca). In the Caribbean your best bets are St. Lucia and Barbados.
Driveaway Cars USA
If you’re spending time traveling around the USA, you might want to look into signing up to one of the many cross country car shipping companies that operate across the country. These driveaway car companies pay you to deliver cars from one place to another, and are always in need of drivers to work for them.
The one (potential) problem with this kind of job is that the availability of work depends entirely on the demand (i.e. how many people want cars delivered and where they want them delivered to). Typically, coast-to-coast routes are the most popular (East to West or West to East) as are routes ending in Florida (especially in the winter time).
To work as a driveaway car driver you’ll need to be over 21 years of age and have a full valid driving license. You’ll have to pay a cash deposit of around $200 to $400 which will be returned to you once you’ve safely delivered the car at its destination. You may also be required to give references.
You will have to pay for petrol along the way, but the company will pay for you insurance and any other costs that arise (such as breakdown cover).
You will be given the task of getting the car to a specific place within a time limit (e.g. one week). This time limit will be worked out by the distance you have to drive and your average speed along the way, assuming that you’ll be driving for six hours per day. The shortest, most convenient route will usually be planned out for you and there will be a maximum mileage cap (on the amount of miles you’re allowed to drive). Because of this (and the time restrictions) you won’t be able to venture too far off the designated route, although a certain amount of slack will be given as standard.
So how do you go about finding and applying to driveaway car companies? The best way is to look in the Yellow Pages directory. They’ll be listed under the ‘Automotive Transport and Driveaway Companies’ section. Note that when applying you should call them at least a week (but preferably two weeks) before you want to travel (as they’ll need time to set everything up).
So that’s it – How to get paid to travel the world! If you have any other insights or ideas about traveling the world and getting paid to do it, feel free to leave a comment below!
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