Working in travel isn’t all far-flung locations and endless educationals. But the perks can be pretty good, the people can be pretty great, and if you’re passionate about exploring the world, a job in the travel industry might just be your dream career. So here’s how to get there…
For those new to the world of me (hi, please stay), I haven’t always worked in travel. I started my career in brochure marketing at a theatre, moving into events marketing for a students’ union, and then ended up working for a great little tour operator doing all kinds of marketing bits – digital, social and brochure. I now work purely in social media across four of the UK’s most acclaimed adventure travel brands. As part of the role I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, like my recent Western Canada road trip. It’s a coveted career for many – so here are some of my best tips for getting a job in the travel industry…
All photography by Kaye Ford
What do you actually want to do?
Saying you want to ‘work in travel’ is basically like saying you want to work in ‘sports’, ‘food’ or ‘fashion’. It’s a great starting point that you’re passionate about an industry, but there are SO many jobs in travel, you might need to narrow it down a little. Some of the areas you could go into include: sales (travel agent or in-house), product and operations (planning and logistics), marketing (digital, print, social…), customer service, front of house, tour guiding…the list goes on. If you’ve got experience in an area already, like marketing or sales, in another industry, that could be your way in, even if it’s not your long-term goal.
You don’t need a specific degree for a job in travel
Whilst there are travel and tourism degrees and modules out there, you don’t necessarily need one to work in travel. In fact, most people I’ve met have degrees in other areas – or no degree at all. Mine’s in drama and film studies, so not an obvious link – but my marketing experience in other areas combined with my blog are what got me my current role. So don’t worry if you chose something completely different to study!
Do a course in a relevant area
This one sounds a bit contradictory to the above, and it’s not a necessity, but it shows your interest and drive, plus you’ll learn some helpful new skills – be it travel-specific, or a marketing/sales/business course.
Show a real interest in travel
It’s all well and good saying ‘I LOVE to travel’, but if the only thing you can do is show a potential employer your holiday snaps from Magaluf last summer, you might not be onto a winner. Starting a travel blog (or even a travel-focused Instagram account) is an awesome way to showcase your travels. It doesn’t have to be pro-blogger quality content with fancy photos, just having a demonstrable way of showing your interest puts you a step above the rest.
Where to look for travel jobs
- Travel Job Search
- Searching by industry on the usual job sites
- LinkedIn – you can select industries in your ‘Career interests’ page and get alerts for new jobs that might be of interest
- Bookmark the ‘Work For Us’ pages of companies you like the sound of (and their parent companies), and check them regularly
Make sure you also keep an eye on the social media accounts of companies you’d love to work for – that’s how I found my current role!
Engage with companies you love
If there are a couple of organisations you’d kill to work for – interact with them! Social media is amazing for this – engage with their content, and you’ll not only have a better knowledge of what they do, but they might just remember you when your CV finally drops into their inbox.
Speculative applications – are they worth it?
I get a lot of people on social media asking about jobs, and I’ll always just point them in the direction of our jobs page. If you want to enquire about internships or work experience, have a look for information on this on careers pages – some companies may be more open to this than others. If you are going to make speculative applications, make them relevant, interesting and aimed at the right person. ‘Got any jobs going?’ on Facebook messenger is highly unlikely to bring success.
Instead, I’d suggest looking at other ways you can build a relationship with a company. They have a blog? Ask if you can write a guest post about one of their destinations. That way, when an opportunity does come along, you’ll be more memorable.
Making your application
There are loads of resources out there on how to apply for jobs that you don’t need me to regurgitate now – and, tbh, Google is your friend. They all apply to travel jobs too. Just make sure that passion for travel is hanging out plenty in your cover letter and question answers.
You got the interview! Now what?
Of course you did, you excellent human. Again, there are plenty of generic tips out there on interview technique. I’m actually notoriously shit at interviews, so I’m not the best person to ask. The thing that did it for me is that I’d genuinely researched the company, and had actual thoughts and opinions on what they did. Turns out, my observations on what I’d change on the website were aligned with their actual redevelopment plans.
Getting THE JOB is just the first step – yep, you’ve landed yourself the first rung on the career of your actual dreams, but there’s plenty to learn. And learning is what it’s all about. Soak up knowledge like a big fat sponge from everyone you encounter, ask questions, try new things, and keep developing your skills.
And enjoy those educational trips, obv.
Some other useful resources: