The Strangest Jobs in Travel

    Working while you travel isn’t a path paved with riches. Low wages, monotonous tasks and bosses from hell are all part and parcel of trying to top up your funds on the road. I’ve had some pretty rubbish travel jobs in my time – toilet cleaner, building site worker, caption writer for soft “adult” mag (not as good as it sounds) – but nothing comes close to a guy I met in Argentina who had just finished working for four months in a factory screwing the lids on tubes of toothpaste. The deadness in his eyes made me realise that cleaning up other people’s waste was eminently more tolerable than risking RSS, digital arthritis and brain meltdown for extra cash. He looked so mentally scarred, I’d wager there’s a good chance he never cleaned his teeth again. But travellers aren’t the only people to hold down oddball gigs. Those in the employ of the hospitality industry can also have some pretty weird job titles too – and I’m not just talking about those guys in customs who seem to enjoy frisking you a little too much. Here’s a look at some of the strangest travel jobs in the world.

    Apparently, in Venice, the menace of al fresco sandwich-eaters supercedes the plague of pigeons – Photo credit

    Airport Hunters

    Having a bloke shooting a gun into the air at an airport would normally be cause for alarm but the rifle-wielding snipers at Zurich Airport are actually on the payroll. It seems the Swiss hub was having trouble with birds, rabbits and even wild boars stumbling onto the runway. The airport hired a couple of hunters to dispatch the pesky animals posthaste, buying them a one-way ticket to the big terminal up in the sky.

    Monkey Chasers

    All hotels endure a bit of thievery from time to time but the Amanbagh Resort in Rajasthan has a problem with a hairier and more agile kind of burglar. The native rhesus monkeys can’t get enough of the sweet cookies left for guests on their terraces and pounce on any biccies left unattended. As a result, the hotel employs “monkey chasers” to patrol the grounds and mimic the calls of dominant males to keep the macaques in check. Wouldn’t it just be easier to give them a packet of Oreos and call a truce…?

    Hotel Tanning Butler

    Top of the list of questionable jobs during a global economic crisis? How ’bout “Tanning Concierge”? The bronzing experts at the W Scottsdale in Arizona not only offer advice about the right SPF lotions but can also pop up to your room for a little airbrushing session. You know, if the whole “sitting in the sun in your swimmers” thing is a little too complicated for your tiny brain.

    Sandwich Police

    Most male travellers believe it’s their God-given right to walk around with their shirt off while on holiday but you can understand why it’s frowned upon in certain social situations. But being told off for eating a sandwich in public? Well, if you’re a topless, sarnie-eater in Venice, expect to be reprimanded by a volunteer “sandwich cop” as part of La Serenissima’s effort to class up. You’d think if that was the purpose the volunteers’ time would be better spent targeting the pigeon hordes that defile the city’s World Heritage monuments.

    Human Bed Warmer

    Hotels will do anything to make your stay more comfortable, but the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum might have taken it too far. A year ago, the London hotel offered the services of a human bed-warmer to heat up the old king-sized in time for that “sleepy walk to Bedfordshire”. Which reminds me of the time my mate was in the bottom bunk of a hostel dorm … just below the “Human Bed Wetter”. But that’s another story altogether.

    Heard of anyone with a strange travel-based job, or had a terrible travel job yourself? Let us know by commenting below!

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