Jun 19, 2024


Those of us who are young and unrestrained by the responsibilities of ‘adulting’ often experience a strong urge to travel and experience the world.

The only hurdle tends to be the financial means to realise your ambition and support you as you feed your wanderlust, be it for the summer, a few months or even a year.

Well, the right internationally-accredited fitness qualification, like a fitness instructor or Personal Fitness Trainer certificate or diploma from a reputable academy, can often be your ticket to travel the world!

Global gallivanter

Health and fitness is a booming industry globally. With the right credentials and some related industry experience, it’s possible to apply for jobs in other countries where a demand exists for fitness professionals.

The US market, for example, is booming. Figures released by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show that over the last decade the US health and fitness industry has grown annually by 3-4%.

A simple Google search will reveal thousands of other available jobs in far-off lands like Qatar, Europe and Australia. Even high-end hotels require health and fitness professionals to staff their gyms and cater to the needs of their clientele.

This not only offers an opportunity to see other parts of the world and gain valuable life and work experience, but you’ll also earn US dollars or other foreign currencies. Your living expenses may also be minimal if the hotel provides board and lodging.

Registering with a recruitment agency that specialises in international placements for fitness professionals is a sensible first step for a qualified job seeker looking to expand their horizons. There are also numerous job sites, such as GlassdoorIndeed and LinkedIn where you can view available job listings and apply directly to employers that are hiring.

Ship shape

Another extremely popular option among qualified health and fitness professionals is to cruise the world on a ship. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become an integral facet of luxury cruise ship holidays, so leading companies like MSC Cruises, which operates a number of the most modern cruise liners in the world, offer numerous work opportunities for specialist instructors.

Cruise ships have state-of-the-art gyms, massage rooms and other specialist
indoor and outdoor physical activity amenities that need to be managed by qualified fitness professionals. Duties can range from group exercise instruction for aerobics, yoga, stretching, Pilates and Latin American dancing classes to one-on-one personal training, supervision and facilities management.

The benefit of working on a cruise liner is that you get to travel to multiple countries, often visiting the world’s most scenic oceans and stopping over in memorable port cities where crew and staff can often disembark to explore the city of call, all while you earn an income! All of this makes for a highly sought after work and travel opportunity for those looking for some fun and adventure.

Applicants generally need to be between the ages of 21 and 35, and they must have a degree, diploma or equivalent qualification in gym-related fields or fitness instruction. A good knowledge of English and at least one other language is often also mandatory.

Working for a luxury cruise operator would provide opportunities to work year round in places like the Mediterranean or Indian Ocean, or seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, North America, Canada and South America.

Employment contracts are regulated by the FIT – CISL – ITF union for sailors. Required travel and other documents include a valid passport, an STCW 95/2010 certification, which is the minimum legal requirement for all crew working commercially at sea, and a medical certifications. You can contact cruise operators directly to explore available employment options.

Paul Mills