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The Professional Traveller

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Do you love travelling?

Like getting the best value from your travel experiences?

Enjoy comfortable travel with interesting experiences?

Me too!

I’ve been travelling professionally for over 36 years.

Now I am helping others plan and book their perfect trip.

Latest Testimonials

May 2024 – Tour

Melanie is a gem. Friendly, going and down to earth. A great knowledge of the highlands.

If you are short on time and want an exceptional experience then this is the tour for you.

Darlene 23/7/23

 You are a great tour leader. Your knowledge of place, your sense of humour and your laughter carry the day.

June 2024 – Tour

Shetland is undeniably memorable but you made it more so.

Sarah & Barry

August 2023 – Tour

We only had one day in Inverness, and our tour guide, Melanie, made the most of it for us. I highly recommend her to anyone who wants to see the best of the Highlands without joining a crowded bus or boat tour.

Noni 20/9/23

Your knowledge and organisation was top-notch. Your sense of humour and relaxed style were added bonuses.

The Professional Traveller

Bargain Trips I’ve Booked

£500 for a 9-night trip to Baku and Istanbul (including 6 flights and all accommodations)

£250 for a 4-night trip to Valencia in an apartment with a rooftop jacuzzi (including 4 flights)

£250 for a 4-night stay in Vilamoura in a suite with half board

£250 for a 4-night stay in Alicante in a 4-star seaside hotel (including 4 flights)

£70 for year-long travel insurance with a health condition and Covid cover

£180 for 3 night trip for 2 people to Riga staying including 4 flights for 2 people

£250 for a 4 night stay half board in a suite in the Monte Gordo including flights

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Latest Recommended Travel Gear

Latest Travel More and Spend Less Posts

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Latest Scottish Highlands Posts

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Latest Invergordon Cruise Port Posts

Latest Airport Lounges Posts

Latest Annual Travel Insurance Posts

Latest Coach Holiday Posts

About Melanie

about melanie featured

Everything you need to know, and probably some stuff you don’t, about me and my travel experience.

About the Professional Traveller

about the professional traveller

The purpose of this site, why and how I set it up – the story of my business

Work With Me

work with me

Work with Me – as a coach holiday reviewer, destination reviewer, hotel reviewer

Definition of a Professional

engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime

What It’s Like to Be a Professional Traveller?

Travelling for work-related reasons is very different to travelling for leisure. In my early years of travel, I worked at a lot of exhibitions and events. This meant that whilst I travelled to the destination once there I generally travelled between the exhibition area and the hotel – many people who travel for business will tell you the same thing.

A growing trend in travel is for people travelling for work or business to extend their trip and do some personal travel. I have been lucky enough to do this a few times, staying over in Bangkok for several nights on my trips back from Australia for example. It looks like a travel trend that is going to continue!

Travelling as a Tour Manager taking coach holidays is very different. The role involves focussing on the guests and making sure they have a great time, rather than your personal sightseeing. Any free time is often taken up dealing with administration issues, sorting out problems or simply confirming all the details for the next leg of the journey. Sometimes I never left the hotel we were staying in as there always seemed to be more work to do and things to check!

That said when travelling with a great group this role doesn’t feel like work at all, more like travelling with a wonderful group of people who like to have fun.

Read more About Melanie

Read more About the Profesional Traveller

Professional Traveller

a person who is travelling or who often travels

What Is a Professional Traveller?

I. Introduction
A. Definition of a Professional Traveller

The definition of a professional traveller is someone who gets paid to travel. Travel is their job, it is not part of their job. Many people travel in relation to their work (business travel) but travelling is not the focus of their work.

A professional traveller is someone whose job is travelling. They may work full-time or part-time – that doesn’t really matter.

There is a growing group of people referred to as ‘digital nomads’. These are people that are able to work from anywhere. They have remote work that they can do from anywhere in the world. Whilst this type of work does involve travelling, travelling is not the purpose so they wouldn’t be classed as professional travellers.

Someone who has a travel blog could be a professional traveller. They are able to work remotely while updating the blog, but they are travelling to get material and content for the blog.

Content creators such as social media influencers could be classed as professional travellers, but only if all their content relates to travel They are often paid by local tourism boards to create social media content. That means they are paid to travel to places.

Other examples of professional travellers would be tour guides, tour managers, cruise ship workers, and flight attendants. They are all paid to travel with groups and cruises.

(Read more about What It’s Really Like Having a Job That Travels the World)

(Read about the differences between Professional Travellers and Ordinary Travellers)

B. Benefits And Challenges of the Profession

The major benefit of getting paid to travel is just that – you are getting paid to travel. You are being paid to go to places where others pay to go.

The major challenge of getting paid to travel is that you are there to do some sort of work. It means that the demands of the job come first. This can mean that there is sometimes very little or no time at all to do any exploring on your own. This can mean that whilst you have visited a place you haven’t actually experienced it in any way.

Sometimes when travelling with groups I am so busy I don’t have time to even get out of the hotel.

It can also be quite lonely when travelling professionally – especially if you are doing something like my job as a Tour Manager. Whilst I am always travelling with a group I am not part of the group in the same way. I can’t actually do my job if I am. I certainly can’t spend time with people in the group that I really like, even if I want to. That would cause an uproar amongst other group members!

I have to remember that my guests came to experience the holiday, they didn’t book to come on holiday with me! That’s something that many Tour Managers find difficult to separate out.

I remember a guest asked me once why I never wore shorts while I was on holiday with them. I explained that it was because I wasn’t on holiday, I was working, obviously doing such a good job they didn’t realise how hard I was working!

II. Types of Professional Travellers
A. Adventure Travellers

Adventure travellers may be professional travellers if travel is their main focus. They may be travelling to experience different climates, conditions or experiences. They may be travelling to experience different challenges such as mountain climbing, walking, and hiking.

The focus of their trip is the activity they are taking part in but they have to travel to compete or take part in it.

B. Digital Nomads

As mentioned above digital nomads do travel and move around but unless they are travelling for work i.e. to create travel content they are not professional travellers. That said given they stay and work in one place for extended periods of time they often have a great insight into a destination, with a slightly different perspective from a regular traveller.

C. Tour Guides

Tour guides, tour managers, cruise escorts, and tour directors – are all professional travellers. They are all travelling to accompany groups on tours and holidays all over the world.

They have to travel to do their job. It can’t be done remotely.

Some tour guides specialise in a particular city, destination or country. That might mean that they only travel locally for example.

Some tour guides specialise in a subject area such as architecture, wildlife or history. This means they are travelling to share their specialist knowledge of an area or a subject.

D. Flight Attendants

Flight attendants are definitely professional travellers, although the benefits of being flight attendants are nowhere near as good as they used to be when they had longer layovers for example.

Flight attendants do get time to explore a destination and are great at packing plenty in during their time there. If you want some top tips about the places you are flying to then ask your flight crew!

E. Cruise Ship Workers

Cruise ship workers travel for extended periods of time – sometimes many months in one go. Whilst their job may not be related to travel directly – they could be part of the entertainment crew for example, they still have to travel for their work.

Cruise ship workers often spend a season travelling in one area of the world and get to know it very well.

As your cruise ship personnel for tips on places to go and things to do – the chances are they will have some great local suggestions.

F. Language Teachers Abroad

Many people use teaching languages abroad, for example teaching English, as a way to get paid for being overseas. The requirements for teaching time vary from job to job. This means there are opportunities for exploring when not working.

Teaching a language abroad is a great way to get a different experience of a destination and to learn a great deal about the local community and culture.

Whilst not necessarily professional travellers, this is a great way to save money on travel by working in a different country.

G. Volunteering Opportunities

There are many volunteering opportunities available to travellers. These offer a great way to experience a destination and give a local insight into the community.

However, those travelling to undertake volunteering roles are not necessarily professional travellers.

III. Qualifications for Professional Travellers
A. Education Requirements

There are no formal qualifications required for professional travellers. There may be specific training required for your travel role. For example, flight attendants will have to undertake specialised flight training before starting work.

B. Personality Traits Necessary for Success

To be a professional traveller you need to be flexible, and adaptable and get on with people. You also need resilience. Being calm under pressure is another great trait to have.

Travelling is unpredictable. Anything can happen and it often does. This can mean that the best-laid plans suddenly need changing. A professional traveller knows these things about travel and is prepared.

People skills are essential for anyone travelling professionally. That might be because you need to placate an angry customer, or because you need to find a way to solve a problem.

C . Technical and Language Skills Needed

Language skills are great if you want to be a professional traveller. You don’t have to be fluent but basic language skills are always going to be helpful.

D . Other Job-Related Qualifications That Can Be Beneficial

Some sort of first aid qualification could be beneficial if travelling professionally. This can be controversial for some travel companies though as it may make them liable for any harm caused.

Personally, I have always thought it would be more harmful to do nothing in a medical emergency.

Some adventure travel companies require their guides and drivers to have this training as they are often operating in remote areas a long way away from healthcare facilities.

IV . Financial Considerations for Professional Travellers

Travelling professionally is not always paid as highly as most people think. Most people think you are on holiday for a start! A few years back I worked as a cruise escort. The pay for each day was £45. Whilst my meals on the cruise ship were all included no drinks were so these all had to be paid for. The £45 also was gross, I had to pay my own tax and national insurance out of that as I was self-employed.

Given the working day started at breakfast and finished after dinner it wasn’t a great rate of pay. I didn’t dare work out the hourly equivalent as it would have been too depressing.

Being self-employed means you need to wait to get paid because you have to invoice. Most travel companies wait at least 30 days from the date of invoice to make payment.

A . Money Saving Tips While on the Road

It can be easy to spend money when travelling and before you know it your budget is gone. A great way to save money is to eat the way the locals do. This could be from street food stalls, from the local market, in the food courts or buying food from the supermarket.

Sometimes it can be difficult for a professional traveller to balance making money with spending money.

B . Earning Money While Travelling

Most professional travellers will be paid some sort of fee for travelling. Tour managers get paid a set rate per day with an allowance for expenses. Flight attendants get paid a fee per hour flying. Cruise ship workers get paid an amount per contract.

The travel industry uses many self-employed workers, especially in the tour guide and tour manager sector. This is to avoid the requirements of working hours directives and holiday pay.

If tour managers were paid for their time the income would be very different!

V . Strategies For Successful Professional Traveling

One of the most consistent issues I see when it comes to professional travelling is that travellers forget they are there to do a job. Travelling professionally is definitely not a holiday.

You are there to provide a service to people. In my role as a Tour Manager, my guests are on holiday but I am definitely working, and generally working very hard too.

A. How to Create an Online Presence as a Professional Traveller

Many professional travellers are creating travel content for their online presence, whether that be social media, a blog or a YouTube channel.

Many social media influencers are also creating travel photography content for their online presence too.

Some create digital guides to destinations. Some create content based on affiliate marketing. There are many variations of ways to earn an income online based on travel.

B. What To Do When Things Don’t Go According to Plan

Anyone who travels regularly knows that things happen. That could be weather, delays, diversions, strikes, or illnesses. Look what happened to travel during Covid19.

Staying calm in such situations can be difficult but it’s essential, otherwise, you can quickly become stressed and overwhelmed.

Being polite is also helpful. Often it is frustrating for everyone, not just the travellers when things don’t get to plan. Flight attendants might not be able to get home as they had hoped for example, or cruise ship personnel might not be able to meet their friends when a cruise port is missed.

C. Preparing Emotionally and Mentally for the Journey

It can be tempting when travelling professionally to plan lots of things in any spare time you might have. This can often lead to additional stress when things change or there is something that needs dealing with urgently.

My advice is to have some ideas of things you might want to do if you get some free time, but not to book anything if you can help it.

Just travelling is tiring and sometimes you just need to take some time to rest.

It can be tricky when travelling to allow enough time for this as it can feel that time is being wasted. It isn’t. Without time to rest properly, it is impossible to make the most of the travel experience itself – everything just becomes like hard work.

D. Creating Lasting Relationships with Local and Fellow Professional Travellers

Within whatever niche of professional travel you are in there is always a little network of fellow travellers to connect with. In my niche of Tour Managers, we often keep in touch with each other, comparing stories of tours and swopping experiences.

One company I work has a Tour Manager What’s App group for each destination where we can keep each other updated as to what is happening when travelling.

Sometimes travelling professionally requires visiting the same place a number of times. This can be a great way to build relationships with locals, which gives a great insight into a destination and culture.

One hotel I visited regularly used to let me take their dog for a walk. Another used to let me borrow their car when I wanted. Both are great local experiences.

E. Making Time for Self Care

Travelling can be tiring enough as it is. Combine that with working and you can have a recipe for disaster and very quick burnout.

Often when travelling professionally it seems there is no time to take care of yourself. This is often the case when travelling with a group of people that you are there to take care of – they come first.

However, an experienced professional traveller knows that they have to make time for self-care or they won’t be able to do their job. As a Tour Manager sometimes that means I have to take an early night to catch up on sleep, or it might mean an early morning walk or gym session before starting the day.

It also means making time to eat properly. This can be very difficult when travelling for work. Having snacks and drinks is one of the professional travel tips often learned the hard way, after a travel hold-up!


Travelling professionally can be a great way to see the world – perhaps a little bit less than you might expect due to work requirements though!

A calm head, polite manner and a good sense of humour will get you through most things when travel goes wrong (as it will at some point)

Making some time to rest will ensure you get the most out of your travel experience

The right values are more important than skills, which can be learned when travelling professionally

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Travel More and Spend Less – articles, guides, and hacks to help you squeeze the most from your travel budget

Annual Travel Insurance – all you need to know about this travel essential

Airport Lounges – Everything you need to know including lots about Priority Pass

The Scottish Highlands – holiday cottages, hotels, things to do, and much more to help you get the most from your holiday

Invergordon Cruise Port – all you need to know to help your plan your visit

Loch Ness Tour – details of a 1/2 day private tour that goes to Loch Ness!

Coach Holiday Expert – holiday reviews, articles, and advice to help you have the best coach holiday

About Melanie – background and travel experience

About the Professional Traveller – what this website is all about and why it was set up

Work with Me – details of the travel review services I provide to destinations, hotels, and holiday companies

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