Food service industry jobs, such as waiting tables, working the bar, or washing dishes, are great jobs for funding adventure travel because full-time and part-time jobs can be picked up relatively easily, especially if your travels take you near resort destinations.
Another advantage of food service industry jobs, you can also work the job really hard for a short time, while stashing your hourly base and tips in your adventure travel nut until you can quit and travel some more.
If you work in the service industry as a waiter, server, or bartender in your home town, then you can carry those skills on the road and make money while you travel. You’ve probably got the requisite skills to walk into a restaurant in another town and land a job.
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If you’ve never worked in a restaurant before, but believe that this is your ticket to funding adventure travel, then here are some tips to help you get started in the industry.
Don’t Underestimate the Food Service Industry
Not everyone is cut out for the service industry. Being a waitress or bartender can be a very hectic job, requiring multitasking, hustle, and hours on your feet. The hours can be long and late, especially in restaurants with a bar.
On top of the job tasks, the other challenge involves customer service. You’ve got to be good with people (sometimes even the jerks), and always keeping your pleasant personality “on” while waiting tables can be exhausting.
To make sure that you can handle the service industry and that it makes sense as a means for making money while you travel, we suggest you grab a local job before you head out on your adventure.
Not only will this give you experience in the industry to help you land future jobs while you travel, but it will also help you dial in which parts of the service industry are the best fit for you and the money you want to make.
Finding a Local Food Service Job
Most restaurants want their servers to have previous experience, so network with friends to see if you can grab a job at a restaurant where they work.
Before hiring you as a server, some restaurants may want you to start by bussing tables, washing dishes, or hosting.
Take the first decent job that you’re offered, even if it isn’t exactly what you want. At the same time, keep looking for the type of job you do want. The few weeks or months you spend at the first job will make you a little more desirable to you next potential employer and also give you some relevant experience.
Some folks beginning in the service industry find their first waiter or bartender job at national chain restaurants, as they tend to have higher turnover of staff and formalized training programs for entry level servers.
Supplement Your Income to Save Money for Travels
If you have a job now, I’m not suggesting you quit your current job to start waiting tables.
Many people wait tables or bartend as a second job because of the potential to make some good money in a couple nights, especially if you can land the coveted but often highly competitive Friday and Saturday shifts.
Working evenings or weekends as a server will allow you to bank some extra cash in the travel nut, which will help when traveling if work is scarce or unexpected expenses arise.
Finding Food Service and Restaurant Jobs Abroad
The great thing about having restaurant server skills and your desire to travel is that every town and every country has restaurants. Bars, bistros, restaurants, hotels, cafes, etc. need servers to serve customers.
If you are traveling within the US and are a US citizen, then finding a job will require a similar approach as looking for one at home. Network with local friends, if you have any. Hit the internet job boards. Look for help wanted signs in windows.
If you are traveling abroad, you may need to get a working holiday visa to legally work in some countries. However, some restaurants and cafes will allow you work without any documentation and get paid under the table..
These jobs can be hard to find because they likely will not be advertised.
If you’re trying to fund such an arrangement, we suggest asking hostel managers if they know of any businesses that hire travelers under the table. Also, ask other travelers that you meet if they know of any such restaurants, and keep an eye out for restaurants that have Americans or other foreign nationals waiting tables or working in the kitchen.
While working under the table is illegal, it is common for transient travelers to grab a job or a few weeks or months here and there to keep their travels rolling.
Got a tip that will help someone work in the food service industry to make money and travel? Leave a comment to share.