The Best Backpacker Jobs

The Best Backpacker Jobs

One of the hardest parts of backpacking can be earning the money to fund your trip. Many backpackers find themselves slogging their guts out in sweaty kitchens, or waiting tables for low wages just to afford the next leg of their adventure. But, there are some excellent backpacker jobs available, if you look hard enough. We’ve been chatting to travellers and trying to find out what the best backpacker jobs are. We spoke to four lucky backpackers who managed to get out there and find amazing backpacker jobs whilst travelling the globe.

Katie Hillan worked as a sailing instructor in Sydney Harbour during her working holiday in Australia

“I went to Australia as a backpacker with my sailing qualification and landed my dream job. It was perfect; I was outside in the wonderful Aussie sun, enjoying the water and doing something that I love. As well as teaching adults and children to sail, I participated in the set-up of the beach and helped with hiring equipment. I was also able to get some admin experience in the office. The best part of being a sailing instructor in Australia is definitely being in the sun and sea all day every day. If I had to say what I least enjoyed, it would have been the heavy lifting of the equipment to the beach. I would definitely say if you’re going to work to Australia try and find something that you are going to enjoy!”


Charly Stringer is assistant manager at The Challenge Phangan in Thailand; a huge water based obstacle course

“I’ve been travelling on and off for nearly three years now. I’ve worked in a few different places along the way. I’ve always been drawn back to Thailand though, Koh Phangan especially. I landed the job after visiting The Challenge as a customer. There’s a range of different obstacles to complete on the lake including the Rolling Barrels, the Big Red Balls and The Blob which launches you into the air! I got talking to the manager who said they were looking for a lifeguard. I worked for a few months then travelled again before going back home. Then I was offered the chance to return for a year as assistant manager. I jumped at the opportunity and have been back working here now for over six months.
The best part of my job is meeting interesting backpackers and holiday makers every day. I love living in Thailand and experiencing the Thai culture.
We get super busy around the full moon party, up to 400 customers a day. This can be challenging but it’s always fun and there’s never a dull moment that’s for sure! Seeing people get launched off inflatables and face-planting the water never gets old!”

Sarah Pollard works as an outdoor activity instructor at a YMCA camp in Victoria, Australia

“I love spending every day outside in awesome bush or coastal regions. My job involves running activities like canoeing, kayaking, raft building, climbing, archery, and snorkeling. A good advantage is that many camps provide somewhere to live as part of the job. You meet plenty of people and don’t have the stress of having to find house shares. You might have to share a room but it’s much better than a 16 bed dorm in a hostel! You quite often get fed for free too – everybody loves free food right! Some camps can even provide ‘regional work’ and help with securing that all-important second year visa.
The downside is that camps can often be in the middle of nowhere and you need transport to live a normal life. You have to be able to live and work with the same people – you are in each other’s pockets and it can be quite intense at times. That person you have a massive amount of respect for at work might be useless at doing the dishes and this can cause some quite heated arguments!
Adventure Pro is a fantastic website which lists lots of outdoor jobs in Australia, New Zealand and even worldwide.”


Mike McNair worked as a live aboard Dive Master on the Rum Runner Dive Boat in Cairns, Australia

“Working on a live-aboard sailboat may not be for everyone, but for the crew of the Rum Runner Cairns this was the highlight of our time in Australia. The hours were long, but most of the time we didn’t feel like we were working. Cooking, cleaning dishes and making beds were the only jobs onboard the way we saw it. The rest of the time we were entertaining guests with dives, games, dancing, stories, and just being ourselves.
We had the best job in the country. Taking divers and snorkelers out onto the reef topped all other jobs in Oz. Every trip was filled with guests from all over the Earth with very different stories from their travels. Being Dive Masters meant we had the chance each and every dive to show someone an underwater world knowing they were in good hands with the dive crew in the unlikely event there were issues within the dive. If you can handle the motion of the ocean, the skipper yelling at you for doing something “wrong”, eating meals quickly because it’s time to dive and living in sun lotion then working as crew on a live-aboard dive boat might be for you. Read more about working aboard the Rum Runner Cairns here

Have you had an amazing backpacker job? Does your experience beat the backpackers featured here? Get in touch with Wandering Wives and we could profile your amazing backpacker job next.

8 Responses

  1. Lets not forget, to work in most Countries you need a Working Holiday Visa. This type of Visa has a age limit. 30yrs or younger, some are 25yrs or younger. So if your are an older backpacker working in Aus. UK or NZ is not an option. That is if you want to work legal.

  2. It was great being a part of this. Thanks! Love the blog.

    • Wandering Wives

      Hi Mike! Thanks very much for your contribution, great to have you!

  3. Those would be incredible jobs! What a fun way to fund your adventures.

  4. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite of all the blogs I subscribe to – super jealous of all of your amazing adventures!

    • Wandering Wives

      Thanks Lolly, really good to hear that you enjoy reading our little blog!

  5. Nice post! We’re going backpacking next year so we may have interesting jobs to add to the list!

  6. Awesome, we just got to Australia and will be looking for work pretty soon, the YMCA camp job sounds sweet!

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