1. Tour Guide: Here’s an interesting career. Douglas Wren, Vice President of Wren & Fida has parlayed his love of travel into a spectacular business and career as a Certified TravelConsultant. Doug and his family reside in North Salt Lake City, Utah, but when I reached out to him for this interview he responded to me from Tanzania. As a line of business, Wren & Fida International offers a variety of travel-related services including meeting management, travel arrangement, guided group tours. What are the benefits? In Wren’s case, he’s a featured speaker at international events, and has co-hosted several broadcast and radio shows. Meanwhile he’s traveled Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East—all in the line of business.
2. Become a Travel Writer. Consider Kate Rice, writer for TravelPulse. Or Johnny Jet, the popular travel tips writer just featured in AFAR Magazine. It’s a glamorous idea, popular enough entire courses are dedicated to the strategies of breaking into this field. At the end of the day, however, despite the thrill of occasional all-expenses paid travel to exotic locations, many aspects of travel writing are also mundane. Demanding editors, less-than-interesting topics and the classic challenges of a freelance occupation (feast and famine cash flow, many solitary hours and the need to be extremely self disciplined) are also de rigueur for this choice of career. But, for many it’s the kind of a business they dream of. If you have a talent for writing and a yen to give it a try, perhaps give it a go on a project or two before taking the full do-or-die leap.
3. Travel bloggers. You could start a website like Stefanie Michaels, self described “Everywhereist” who runs the Adventure Girl website and blog. Flying the inaugural flight of the ZERO-G zero gravity plane with Buzz Aldrin, and a popular celebrity and source on everything ranging from E! Entertainment to Vanity Fair makes Stefanie a bona fide celebrity. Few travel bloggers attain this status, but many great travel-related careers have emerged for individuals who blog. Another great example—Christopher Elliott, a highly popular travel reporter I first worked with 12 years ago on the launch of an outdoor product. Chris has now become the leading voice of travel-related consumer interests in his columns on www.Elliott.org, as well as a popular weekly columnist for Washington Post. Here’s a recent posting from Chris’s video channel on YouTube:
How to get started? Using Twitter, social media, and a personal blog to share travel-related stories might help determine if you have the affinity to turn this interest into a part time or a full time career. Many individuals with fulltime careers find the opportunity to travel blog on the side, such as my own friend Maile, who recently became a regular blog columnist for Huffington Post.
4. Travel Consultant: These careers include consulting services of many varieties—international safety, travel public relations, marketing of travel based products. If you have an interest in travel, there is likely a consulting practice you could enter. Here’s a particularly interesting source- Nolan Burris, the founder of www.nolanburris.com and also www.futureprooftravel.com. He’s made a business of helping current and prospective professionals in the travel industry develop the skills and the strategies to ensure their careers remain vital and relevant for many seasons to come.
5. Jet Blue employee: This kind of a career path deserves special mention—Jet Blue is an example of a travel company whose employees (many of them) are not travel agents, but are able to work entirely from home. Other airlines such as Delta are beginning to consider work at home opportunities as well, but JetBlue deserves particular mention for having been a pioneer on this front. Investigate pay and benefits carefully in this line of work—information boards note these positions can tend to offer relatively lower pay; however, for someone needing a flexible work opportunity, this home based occupation may be an interesting and viable choice.
6. Travel Company Sales. Cruise lines and other destination travel companies very typically allow and support the ability to work from wherever you are. Travel counselors and trip planners can operate from home-based locations. So can representatives of travel products and services you can recommend and sell, either through a central company or in a home-based venture you may be able to start and run on your own.
7. Travel Agent: This is the traditional and most prevalent travel-related industry you can participate in or can run from your home. There are thousands of these opportunities. For a change of pace, consider the possibility of becoming a home-based agent or agency for a company such as Apple Vacations, who gives a home-based worker the chance to serve as a one-stop shop for every element of a vacation—many selling opportunities could emerge from a single transaction.
8. Destination Experts: Finally, here’s a relatively new kind of occupation–a destination expert, working from home in a region you are an expert about. VacationRoost has been a pioneer in this concept, creating a network of Destination Experts who accept incoming calls from prospective travelers and help them choose and manage every aspect of booking a vacation rental from finding the perfect home, arranging air and ground transportation, and even recommending local events and great restaurants. While technically a sales position, this would be an exceptionally good consideration for a “people person” who enjoys helping others, has a zest for living, and would prefer to support a clientele via incoming calls as opposed to needing to call or search to create leads and find new customers on their own.
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