Category: Travel & tourism jobs

Hospitality Jobs Abroad – Bartenders

Bartending is not just knowing how to mix a drink, make a good cocktail, or garnishing that exotic drink your customer just ordered, it requires more than that. As a bartender, or bartendress, you are in a “front end” position, which means you interact closely with people coming to the establishment. You must like people, enjoy conversation, and be a good listener. After all, as most of us know, the stories often get longer and sadder, as the evening wears on. You really don’t have to be a juggler, dancer, or a singer to please your customers, as we’ve seen in the movies. If you have such talents, however, you are skilled in “flairtending,” as you’ve added entertainment and variety to the job of bartending. The best bartenders treat their customers well, remember their preferences, and greet them by name. In return, many of these satisfied customers will return again and again to the same club, bar, or pub where they feel at home in a friendly environment.

Bartending has come a long way from being just a job somewhere in a smoke-filled, dingy room to a very popular occupation, with annual worldwide conferences and competitions in the art of what is often referred to now as mixology. Bartending jobs can be found in every country of the world where people tend to gather and socialize frequently. Bartenders do not make a lot of money in many countries, and tipping outside the U.S. can be a sometime thing. However, there may be compensation of another sort in bartending jobs overseas. Some bartenders, especially those hired in Ireland and the UK, are often able to live at the same place where they work. This can be a good deal for young people without enough income to pay for separate accommodations, transportation, and even their meals. Of course, the downside to this is that you are more readily available and may be called upon to work longer hours, open and close, or fill in for other staff.

In addition to the small town, city, village pubs, and neighborhood bars, there are always jobs for bartenders at island resorts, restaurants, hotels, airports, and even on cruise ships. As you gain experience and recognition, your services may be in demand for private parties, weddings, and numerous other social events. For long term employment, you will need a work visa or some other type of permit in most every country. Only a few employers require contracts, but many will require that you have a sponsor in the country where you want to work. Since this may be a problem, some people will enter the country on a tourist visa, find a sponsor, and then apply for the bartending job. In countries, such as Mexico, you have to live there for 3 to 5 years before you can legally work. There are a couple ways to get around some of these restrictions, however. If either one of your parents or your grandparents was born in the UK, for example, you could work there for as long as 5 years on a so-called ancestry visa. In France, you may be able to obtain a private business permit, if you have the means to set up your own establishment. (This is probably impossible for a bartender who is just starting his or her career.)

The pay for bartenders in Australia is usually quite good, but your qualifications must include a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. Courses are reasonable and can be completed online in about 4 hours, which will allow you to apply for most bartending jobs, except in New South Wales, where the course has to be completed there.

Formal training is usually not a requirement; however, a certificate of completion from a bartending school or other similar course, as well as references, will help considerably in your job search. Some employers may or may not require at least 2 years of experience, but if their turnover has been substantial, they will appreciate someone who is reliable, hard working, and seeking long term, permanent employment. There has been a recent trend to offering more extensive, professional training to help bartenders who want to become members of the International Bartenders Association and establish a profitable and rewarding career. A few schools do offer job placement overseas after you complete their course, and worldwide job openings are posted frequently on the Internet.

You should remember that bartending can be stressful, as are most customer service jobs. There may be complaints and unreasonable demands from impatient, weary travelers and out of town visitors. You have to welcome the regulars and after work customers, and have patience to deal with the loud, noisy crowds that descend during happy hours. On the plus side, however, bartending is a great option for anyone who is interested in interacting on a daily basis with people in another country. It provides an opportunity to earn some money, perfect the skills of your occupation, practice or learn a 2nd or 3rd language, and gain a real understanding of the country you work in and respect for the people you work with. Bartending can be interesting and fun wherever you decide to work, as people everywhere always appreciate good service and a pleasant personality.

Sharon Slayton

Worldwide Employment Opportunities For Au Pairs

If you’re young, between 18 and 27, enthusiastic, and have a genuine interest in learning the culture of a foreign country, you may want to consider employment as an au pair. Au pairs have a wonderful opportunity to widen their perspective on the world, as they learn to appreciate the values and traditions of the people with whom they will share a unique and mutually rewarding experience.

Some of us may not realize the difference between a nanny and an au pair, since childcare is a major responsibility of both. A nanny is often more professionally trained to perform their duties and may or may not live with the family. As such, nannies may work in an efficient, yet impersonal way and may not establish as close a relationship with their employer. On the other hand, au pairs live and work with the family, and as the name implies, are treated and respected as an equal, rather than just a paid employee, babysitter, or servant.

The main qualifications to be an au pair are a love of children, good social and communication skills, and the ability to interact daily with the family you live with. Your employer will run a thorough background check, request a medical report, ask for character references, and in some instances, require you to have a driver’s license. If you will be caring for infants or children under 2 years old, in particular, your experience should include at least 200 hours in this type of childcare. Of course, knowledge of the language of the country and that spoken at home is a necessity. This too offers a great opportunity to improve your skills in a foreign language in a warm and friendly environment.

Au pairs are paid a salary, which will vary from 260 Euros a month or more depending on your experience, the hours you work, the number of children you’ll care for, and the country where you will be employed. Obviously, the more education and training you have, the better your salary. Au pairs are assured of at least one or two years of permanent long-term employment. Usually, they are required to work at least 25 hours a week, with occasional evenings and additional babysitting time. Most au pairs in Europe will have two days off and from three to five evenings free, as well as certain holidays and vacation time. If you’re considered an au pair plus, you will work a few more daytime and evening hours, but your salary will be increased. Keep in mind that the majority, if not all your expenses will be paid by your host family including accommodations, meals, laundry, and various other items as agreed upon. Some families may pay for your bus or train passes, cell phone, Internet access, and even allow the use of the family car.

The majority of jobs for au pairs are found in the UK; however, au pairs are needed in numerous other countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Employment may also be available in Asia, India, Australia, the U.S., Canada, and South America. The Internet, depending on the country you live in, will be able to provide you with resources for finding suitable and reliable employment through au pair agencies and organizations. Both the family and the au pair will be carefully screened and interviewed before recommendations or referrals are made.

As with any type of employment, a legal contract prepared before employment begins is advisable and recommended in most countries. The terms of the contract should include names, addresses, and contact information for both the host family and the au pair. Salary amount, how paid and when, as well as vacation and holiday pay, should be included. If you work additional hours, be sure to ask about overtime pay and have that included in your contract. Usually, the foreign visa, if required, is paid for in full or for a specified amount by the host family. Information on taxes and details of health insurance and how they will be paid must also be addressed. A description of the accommodation you will be provided should specify what furniture, appliances, and other amenities are included.

You will have certain rules to follow as an au pair, such as smoking, drinking, and allowing visitors to the home, and these should be spelled out in the contract. As the children’s au pair, you will have a schedule to follow, a list of their medications and special needs, if any, as well as discipline, safety, and emergency procedures and authorizations as agreed upon with the family. The contract should have a timetable for performance reviews and pay increases, if any, and the length of notice required in the event of termination.

Your interests and involvement are centered around the child or children, and will include feeding or preparing some of their meals, getting them dressed and ready for their day, helping them with their studies or household chores, arts and crafts, and whatever else their daily activities may be, whether it is school, play, or outdoor excursions. Frequently, your host family will encourage your taking language lessons and may pay for these, as well. As a member of your new, extended family, you will often accompany them on vacations, visits with relatives, and shopping trips, as well as attending cultural events and taking part in many other things that families enjoy.

There is an interesting alternative to being a full-time au pair, known as a “demi au pair.” In this type of employment, you will work only in the afternoons for a maximum of 15 to 20 hours a week, with a few of the same duties, but you will have more time to study and focus on learning the language of the country where you are employed. You will be required to attend language classes in the mornings and still live with and maintain close interaction with the family to enhance your language skills and childcare training. The small salary or allowance, at least 50 Euros a week, you will earn as a demi au pair will provide you with spending money or go toward a longer stay and more travel abroad.

Besides the excitement and adventure of living and working in a foreign country and learning to be a responsible individual, the rewards of being an au pair cannot be measured in dollars and cents. In many instances, the close bond you establish with the family will last far beyond the term of your employment.

Guest article by Sharon Slayton

The David Neeleman story

This is a very interesting read (though you will have to put up with quite a few ads on the page).

David Neeleman is best known for starting JetBlue, but that was his 3rd airline (he’s started 4). The first, Morris Air, he sold to Southwest and went to work for them but got fired. Then he started WestJet (not sure how he moved on to Jet Blue). Then JetBlue was 3rd and now he’s working on Azul (operating in Brazil where Neeleman was born).

Anyway, my summary skips lots of good details so I highly recommend the article.

Anyone ever thought of becoming a travel counselor and getting paid to write travel plans?

I was reading this article in which Arthur Frommer recommends using a travel counselor to help you plan an itinerary.

Thinking up travel plans is pretty much the reason i started this blog so why am I not a travel counselor? I bet most of the people reading this blog also like coming up with travel itineraries so I’m wondering if anyone else has ever thought about the travel counselor gig.

Based on this article, the money seems pretty bad at $27,000 a year. I’m in education but even I make more than that. I don’t think I would do it as a full-time job but I could see it working as a part-time job depending on how much work goes into each itinerary and how much money you get per itinerary.

Also, that article makes it sound like travel counselors work for agents with whom they share the fruits of their labors. I could consider that but I don’t like paying commissions.

One weird thing is this:

The Internet will never replace the expertise and personal relationship travelers have with their travel agents.

Up until that point they were talking about being a travel counselor – not a travel agent. But at the very end they switch – it seems like just a mistake.

Rental advice, Hawaii deals, “free” travel, cruise ship comedian expereince

Here’s an article on choosing a vacation rental. Since we talked about that for pet friendly stuff, the Outer Banks, and other places (like Hawaii rentals in the past) I figured this article was worth a link.

Speaking of Hawaii, these deals don’t seem like true bargains and stay 4 nights, get the 5th night for $50 is far from free but I guess the recession doesn’t make Hawaii that cheap…

Here’s an article on going for really cheap vacations. Not quite free, but closer than any of those Hawaii deals.

One of the things they mention is traveling for free by becoming a travel agent or taking some other travel industry job. That brings me to this article, a very interesting one from a cruise ship comedian’s perspective. He didn’t actually seem to like being a cruise ship comedian but his story is interesting even though it’s negative.

Basically it seems that the comedian wanted more VIP-type treatment than he got. At one point he complains that no one helped him find a hotel when a hurricane in Miami left him stranded in St. Thomas where the previous ship dropped him off. The poor guy had to find a hotel room all by himself.

And this story also talks about the not-quite special treatment:

A purser was supposed to escort guest entertainers down the gang plank, through customs and then through some secret door where I could get right back on the ship. Unless I latched onto one of the bigger entertainers on board that week, I was always sent down a wrong hallway, ending up outside and behind the three thousand people waiting to get on.

Sure I’d be angry if it happened to me, but I actually think it’s pretty funny that the guy had to latch on to a “bigger” entertainer.

Can we use vacation time to get ready for a new career?

Here’s an interesting article on Vocation vacations, a company I mentioned way back when. The article seems to be suggesting that a vocation vacation might help you if you need to switch careers because of a layoff. Apparently customers agree:

And while the company still offers the same spectrum of more than 150 job mentorships, more people are thinking practical over pie in the sky. Vocation Vacations today are more likely to be booked to test jobs in the culinary field, freelance writing, or the nonprofit sector than something like a brew master or sports announcer – “whatever is the most pragmatic and can be done in a turnaround time of months versus years,” Mr. Kurth said.

Now you can accuse me of putting all my eggs in one basket, but I prefer to use my vacation time to do something noteworthy in my own field. For me that means publishing papers, giving speeches, earning extra degrees or certificates, etc. Maybe it’s a little different for me because we need educators even during a recession but I’m confident that I could find another position easily thanks to the work I’ve put in. So I say try to become the best at what you do instead of getting ready for a new career (assuming you like your current career – if you want to do something new then you should certainly begin preparing for it).

Mobile technology, running a business, traveling

Here’s an article about a traveler who runs her own business while she flies around doing her thing. It seems like more than I could ever organize:

Certainly, mobile technology is what frees up Fallis to criss-cross the continent while staying in touch with clients, following the progress of various projects, scouting decor ideas and managing a team of 30 assistants — all in different locations.

The one idea that sounds pretty practical to me is to check Facebook to see who will be around wherever you’re going.

Travel agents from England and UK come through

Here’s an interesting story about a couple from New Zealand who went to Thailand on their honeymoon. They did it at the same time protesters shut down the airport… Apparently their travel agent helped them get to Phuket eventually. They seem to expect their travel insurance to cover at least some of the extra expense.

Here’s a British article about another couple who went to Phuket. Their insuarnce does not cover “civil unrest” but they also credit their travel agent for getting them home.

Travel agent = low stress job?

Yahoo jobs is recommending travel agent (along with mathemetician, archivist, and conservation scientist) as a low stress job:

Travel Agents

Some aspects of this profession include computing costs of travel and accommodations, booking various tours, and selling travel packages. Although accuracy is paramount to success on the job, least stressful aspects include a comfortable pace and low frequency of conflict situations.

BLS notes the average earnings are $29,210 and Shatkin points out this job affords flexibility to be self-employed or work part-time.

“Stressors of any job include the duration of the work week, dealing with angry people, confronting situations and competition. People should look for a job situation where normal work hours are encouraged.”

I am slightly surprised – I would have thought being a travel agent does get stressful fairly often. Of course that brings up the whole thing about card mills and real travel agents… If you can figure out the meaning of the last comment left on that entry I just linked, I’ll owe you one.

Tourism classes in Japan

I’m not sure how many will find this article interesting. The short version is that tourism classes are becoming more popular in Japanese universities. Students think the courses look good on their resumes because Japan is trying to boost tourism.