Work and Travel Abroad: Bartend Your Way Around the World

by | Dec 18, 2022 | Work Abroad Backpacker Jobs | 0 comments

Pretty much every town in the world I have visited has had a bar of some sort. Some classier than others! And in the bar, or behind the bar I should say, there usually was a very friendly bartender quite willing to pour me any drink I wanted. Now if you are looking for work while you travel, a travel job as a bartender is a good option. It not only pays a way to top up your bank account but can often bring free accommodation and food with the job. It is pretty easy to get a bartending job and in my opinion. And it is a great way to bartend your way around the world. 

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The first bartending job I got while travelling the world was in a little country pub in the English countryside. My travelling companion and I had actually called in for a Sunday roast and noticed the sign at the bar that staff were required. I spoke to the manager and next minute, I’m working behind the bar. We decided to stay and do a summer bartending. The job entailed serving the customers drinks, mostly it was pouring beers or lagers as the Brits like to call them. Other duties were to keep the bar clean and tidy, pick up empty glasses from tables and put them in the dishwasher. Also to empty ashtrays and occasional help out serving meals. For this, my friend and I got free accommodation, well, we had to share a room plus our meals while on duty. As we were in a small town there wasn’t anything to spend our wage on, so I was able to save heaps. In fact, what I was able to save over the summer paid for a 3 month rail jaunt through Europe.


Do You Need a Qualification to be a Bartender?


I never had a qualification to be a bartender. My boss showed me how to pour a beer and explained how to mix some drinks. It was pretty easy really. In some countries you may need a qualification. In Australia you are required to have a RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) Certificate. This can be done online and is pretty easy to get, and is a must to work in a bar in Australia. Needing a qualification will also depend on what kind of establishment you get a bartending job in. The English pub I worked in didn’t require a qualification or experience. However, it would be different if I went for a job in a cocktail bar in a 5-star restaurant. So if you want to do bartending as a job to travel the world with, I’d suggest getting some experience to take with you. Travel bartenders are needed everywhere.


Why Bartend Your Way Around the World


  • Often don’t need a qualification or any experience.
  • There is a bar of some sort in every town so easy to get work.
  • Can be a lot of fun and you will meet lots of people.
  • Get paid to top up your travelling funds. Or get accommodation, food and cheap drinks in return for working.
  • Great way to work and travel abroad.


READ MORE: Backpacker Jobs


Where Can you Get a Bartending Job?


It was only after I became a bartender that I realised that bartending is a great career path. You can work in backpacker bars hostels, casinos, holiday resorts, on cruise ships, on tropical islands (remember Tom Cruise in Cocktail!) and other exotic and fun places. You can literally go anywhere in the world and find a job working as a bartender to make money to further your travels.


What Visa do You Need to be a Bartender


Yeah, to legally work you will need the appropriate work visa. You could do this type of work on a working holiday visa or even a digital nomad visa to top up your money. Some employers will sponsor you, such as cruise lines. If you cannot work legally, maybe work in exchange for accommodation and food. Hostels that have a bar often let you work in exchange for a bed in a dorm and discounted drinks while on duty. If legally you cannot work, working in exchange of accommodation and food will allow you to travel for longer and spend less money. I did meet other bartenders who had been sponsored by the bar owner for a work permit – you just never know! This happened to a number of people I met in the Canadian ski resorts.


How Do You Find a Travel Bartender Job


  1. Network. Get yourself out there. Arm yourself with a CV and talk to everybody you can. Walk into different bars and ask. Tell them you are looking for a bartending job. All they can say is ‘no’ or hopefully ‘yes’. Leave your CV with the manager, yes, the manager, not the staff, as they may forget to pass it on. Maybe frequent the place to get to know the manager.
  2. Answer ads both hung up on hostel notice boards and in establishment winds.
  3. Check out the classifieds in newspapers both printed and online.
  4. Consider websites such as Workaway and Worldpackers. 
  5. Contact employment agencies for cruise ship jobs.
  6. Check out Facebook groups for travelling bartenders.


Seasonal Jobs for Bartenders


Have a look where you are and what season it is. There are many seasonal vacation spots for bartenders to work such as in ski resorts, summer beach destinations, party boats and special events. So if winter is coming on you may want to head for the hills to a ski resort for a job. Or if there are special events happening such as Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany you could get a hospitality job. So consider the seasons of where you are to get a bartending job.


Bartend on a Cruise Ship


If you have a couple of years bartending experience on land, you may qualify for a job as a cruise ship bartender. You will need to commit to a season. I think you could handle sailing the Caribbean for 3-4 months at a time! Working on a cruise ship as a bartender is often lucrative as you won’t be spending your money while onboard.


Bartend on a Super Yacht


Super Yachts are massive yachts that require a number of staff for it to run efficiently. Depending on its size and clientele it may require a bartender to serve the guests. You will need to commit to a season and you may not see land for a while, but you will be working and travelling abroad. And being paid to sail the world.


Are You Ready to Bartend Your Way Around the World?


Bartending is a universal profession. And the best thing about travel bartending is that anyone can do it with hard work and the right work ethic. So if you are looking for a fun job, that pays, and you can do anywhere, consider bartending! Have you been a bartender somewhere? I’d love to hear in the comments following.


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Female pouring a beer become a travelling bartender and work abroad.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!


Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from raileurope. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers and World Normads has policies for general and adventure travel.


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Hi. Sharyn here. Savvy Australian female with a passion for travel and working abroad. I’m on a mission to provide you with my best tips, tricks and hacks to work abroad and travel the world. If I can do it, so can you!  Read more.


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