The travel industry has taken the internet by storm and has successfully built a strong niche to provide consumers with plenty of travel options, assistance, and deals no matter where they come from. With the demands of the industry also come more opportunities for those looking for online work in the travel industry.
Aside from travel bloggers who share their personal travel experiences and actually earn through sponsorships and ads, travel-focused professions like booking agents, cruise marketers, and airline customer service jobs (among others) are now being offered as work-from-home opportunities.
Today, we’re going to focus on one specific profession: travel itinerary planner or travel consultant, which anyone who is exceptional at planning, organizing and traveling on a budget can perform with ease.
Travel Itinerary Planner Job Requirements
As a travel planner, your job is mostly like a tour guide, but instead of joining the tourists around towns, attractions, nature, and other off-the-beaten paths, your job is only to create a solid plan based on a customer’s requests and budget. You don’t even have to meet them formally.
To become successful with this profession, you’ll need:
- A website – It’s always a good idea to set up a website as your portfolio and a means for people to contact you. If your time permits it, posting on the blog would provide you organic traffic from keywords like “travel planning service” or “(place) itinerary.”
- Extensive knowledge in the travel industry – You need to know the ins and outs of the travel industry, including when to score low-priced airline tickets, wide range of accommodation options beyond 5-star hotels, and other travel specific considerations.
- Real-world travel experience – While the job is mainly conducted online, either through emails or a hosted platform like UpWork.com, you still need to be well-traveled and not just on popular destinations. Having first-hand experience allows you to plan and recommend properly since you know how much expenses are “really” locally, or have been through popular and unpopular destinations.
- Excellent communication and negotiation skills – Most itinerary planners also negotiate deals with hotels, travel agencies and other companies. Of course, you’ll have to make sure you profit more from the deal to sustain your business.
- Connections with the travel industry – This doesn’t just involve big hotel chains, airlines and cruise companies. You’ll have to expand your connections to be able to bag deals, especially those that require prior booking.
- Advanced marketing skills – Freelancing is tough, so it’s important to learn marketing techniques in this modern world. Aside from your website, you should also have online presence on social media networks, forums, and more.
How Much Can You Earn as a Travel Itinerary Planner?
Generally, online travel agents earn an average salary of $30,000 per year. The biggest perk with this job is the amount of travel deals you can receive, which you can either use personally or sell for extra income. However, because freelancing is a very fluid thing, this income could either go up or down, depending largely on the effort, time and capital you plan to invest in this profession.
In some cases, you can charge a fixed amount per itinerary, or base your fees on the travel budget of your clients. The great thing about freelance travel jobs is that you have total control of pricing your services, unless of course you apply for a full-time home-based travel agent job with a third-party company.
If you’re willing to invest in marketing your services, you can earn more by targeting potential clients through Facebook Ads, Reddit Ads, or even Google search.
Finding Jobs as a Travel Itinerary Planner
Realistically speaking, getting leads from a newly-built website is near impossible, unless you spend a lot of money promoting the site and posting ads everywhere you can. If you’re ready to go and provide travel itinerary planning services now, instead of waiting for your site to hit it big, you can always find work actively.
Freelance job sites like Elance, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour are great sources of work-from-home opportunities. You can also find consultancy jobs on travel agencies that welcome freelances regularly.
Do note that you shouldn’t abandon your blog, even if you’re bagging clients left and right from job sites. Add posts regularly and if you can, make your posts personal with stories about locals you’ve met, new experiences you discovered, food you want to share, and tons of pictures. The best portfolio travel itinerary planners could provide is an interesting blog post with plenty of personality, useful content, and engaging photos.
The Bottom Line
Planning other people’s trips can be a challenging, yet fulfilling profession. What’s interesting about a job as a travel itinerary planner is that since you combine blogging with freelancing for work, you won’t notice that you’ve been building a self-sustaining blog in the long run. And since people can make a full-time income with their blogs, it’s a win-win having both a passive income-generating blog and quick-cash-making freelance jobs.