Are you an adventurous traveller looking for an opportunity to explore the world and make some cash, all while having the time of your life?
Well, if you’re thinking of taking a gap year, either straight after high school, varsity or between a career switch, then you don’t have to stick to teaching English as a foreign language or becoming a nanny abroad (even though the pay cheque is quite attractive!).
There are many alternate, exhilarating job opportunities waiting across the globe for you to indulge in. From going on an adventure as a ski instructor, to exploring the wild and even getting active as a dance sequence extra in a Bollywood film – plenty of quirky, exciting opportunities exist. You could even become a postman in Antarctica...
Nature lovers, writers, adventure-seekers and even dancers – there’s a gap year job for every kind of traveller. Here’s our pick of 5 alternate gap year jobs worth travelling for.
Become a reindeer or husky guide in Lapland
Quiet as a tomb, Lapland is where nature dominates. And this winter-wonderland is expanding in terms of tourism, with more interest in its offering of resorts, skiing and other snowy activities, jobs are opening up in the tourism sector.
This might just be a great new opportunity for matrics to travel and make money after leaving school during their gap year. Instead of heading off to the US to work on a ski resort or on a kibbutz in Israel like before, now it's time for Lapland.
And the work opportunities aren't exactly mediocre. With helpers needed to work as photography guides, 'Santa's elfs', Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) watch guides, husky or reindeer carers/guided, and as waiters, kitchen staff, etc., there might just be something for everyone, according to House of Lapland.
If you love being surrounded by wildlife and nature, then consider travelling throughout Africa and working on of the continent’s many game reserves.
Workaway.info, the world's leading community for volunteering, working and cultural exchange, offers many opportunities at game reserves that often need assistance in exchange for food and board.
If you register with workaway.info you will be able to access information on registered hosts across the globe, and begin your wildlife journey.
Be an extra in a Bollywood movie
Do you enjoy dancing? Did you ever want to make an appearance in a movie? Then consider becoming an extra in a Bollywood movie. Now you can explore India while getting a role in the world’s second largest film industry!
According to Orbitz, casting agents regularly scout various areas for recruits to become extras on set. The top places to meet such agents are in Mumbai at Colaba Causeway, Leopold Café, Gateway of India and Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel where you can sign up directly to be a film extra.
But like with any casting agency, be sure to do your homework before hastily signing off anything. Orbitz advises that budding Bollywood extras must expect to work long hours, do it for the glory (and the story) not the money, ask agents for an ID and only go along if you’re part of a group, and ask for the title of the movie.
Become a ski instructor in the Alps
If you want to escape the South African heat and love to play around in snow, head to Switzerland and become a ski instructor.
Imagine getting paid to ski from 9am to 5pm? Of course, you must be reasonably fit and an adventure-seeker for this kind of career path - with an affinity for colder climates – but if you’re looking to explore Europe, this certainly is a unique way to do so.
You can get instructor qualifications through an organisation such as Altitude Futures, which offers programmes in Verbier, Switzerland, through which you can achieve your British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) licences.
Be a travel blogger – anywhere in the world
Travel wherever your heart desires and document your adventures electronically in a blog, vlog or myriad of other social media that allow you to share your story with the world.
The best part is work for no one! … And you can always sell your stories, videos and awesome travel pics later on.
The tricky part however, is ensuring you are able to finance your own travels and risk not receiving any profit unless you have contacts that hook you up with great travel deals, and media houses that are willing to invest in your work.
But at the increasing rate at which this industry is growing, travel bloggers certainly are doing something right and redefining the way we travel in the process.
Become a dinghy sailing instructor in the Mediterranean
If adrenaline-fuelled travel is what you’re looking for, then consider a career abroad in adventure sports.
Make the ocean your office by taking a gap year to teach dinghy sailing with the Flying Fish Royal Yachting Association (RYA), that offer dinghy instructor courses in Vassiliki, Greece.
“You don't need to be an Olympic hotshot to be a good instructor,” says the site offering courses for beginner or early intermediate sailors that can reach instructor level in six weeks.