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Travel Consultant
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f you're someone who loves to travel, got loads of experience in foreign countries and you have a knack for finding those special out of the way places that make a trip so memorable, then you would probably make a great Travel Consultant. Using your personal knowledge and experience of a particular city, country or region combined with research that you do on the Internet and in guidebooks, you will create customized travel itineraries for clients, sharing your experience with others who are bound for distant shores.

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Depending on the needs of your client, you may be required to compile everything from a one-page overview of must-see chruches in Milan to a detailed hour-by-hour itinerary for a 2 week driving tour of Southern France. You may also be asked to book rental cars or accomodation, or even bicycles for that matter, but be prepared just in case, and adjust your rates accordingly to cover the cost of long-distance phone calls, faxes and deposits.

Startup costs will include a computer and Internet connection to do your research and communication with travel agents, airlines, car rental companies and hotels. Network by asking everyone you know if they know someone who could use your expertise; your clients will come to you largely by word-of-mouth. You might also try contacting a few travel agents for referrals. Visit travel fairs and distribute your calling card. Hanging around the travel guidebook section of your favorite bookstores and striking up conversations might also help pull in a couple of clients.

Anyone with a computer can put together a pretty complete travel itinerary these days. You'll want to set yourself apart by offering services and expertise no one else can. Take the time to get to know your client and be ready to make those special suggestions that show you understand and appreciate his or her unique preferences and travelling style. You'll want to know your destinations backwards and forwards, of course, so be prepared to plow much of your income right back into your own personal travel funds. The good news is though, that this is that if you're a great Travel Consultant, the money coming in will be far more than the money going out. Besides, you get to indulge in your passion for travelling. It's almost like being paid to go on holiday!

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