poll a row of departing tourists at the honolulu airport and they’re likely to be wondering the same thing: of all of the places to live, why did i choose new york–or dallas or dubuque or wherever–instead of hawaii?
google may not open a waikiki office any time soon, but resort towns offer plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals and people in the hospitality industry. while low-paying service sector jobs are the low-hanging fruit of the resort town job market, doctors, electricians, teachers and other professionals can all earn comfortable salaries in sublime tourist destinations around the world.the happiest careers in americameghan casserlyforbes staffthe happiest u.s. cities to workmeghan casserlyforbes staff13 imagesphotos: the happiest and unhappiest industries to work in
if you’re a mountain lover, turn your passion into a career and live in the shadow of your favorite peak by becoming a professional climbing guide.
most professional guides lead clients for eight months a year on some of the world’s most spectacular mountains. they make up to $70,000 a year, and their employers cover their expenses while they work. todd burleson, president of the guiding company alpine ascents international, says that aspiring guides should spend three or four years climbing on their own, learning the ropes through friends or through a school. once you’ve mastered the basics, apply to train as an apprentice with alpine ascents. if you perform well as an apprentice, you’ll move on to work as a guiding assistant on mount mckinley, and then as a second or third guide on aconcagua, south america’s highest peak. burleson evaluates aspiring guides on how well they manage and interact with other people as well as on their mountaineering skills. good guides can wind up leading clients up everest. guiding is a plum job for a unique kind of person: burleson says that alpine ascents receives up to 70 applications a year and accepts 15 of them.
water fanatics can earn their living on the sea by working as charter boat captains. the u.s. coast guard offers the operator of uninspected passenger vessel license, which lasts for five years and allows you to transport up to six paying passengers. captains’ salaries vary according to location and clientele; nationwide, boat operators earn an average of $40,000.
if you prefer to work–and sleep–under a roof, resort towns offer a variety of service industry jobs. they tend to come with low salaries but flexible hours. oenophiles and food lovers can parlay their passion into careers as sommeliers and chefs. schools like the culinary institute of america offer training in both fields. photographers can work on the slopes of vail or aspen, shivering through long, cold days in exchange for spectacular views and a stellar commute down the slope. the most common job, for which the resort hires you: snap skiers as they get off the lift at the top of the peak.
many of the careers that exist in prosaic destinations are available in resort towns, too. from aruba to zermatt, teachers, doctors, nurses, electricians and plumbers are always in demand. if two weeks in paradise always leaves you wanting more, consider turning your next vacation into a new way of life.