From Conde Nast reader to business owner...

"I’ve always been passionate about travel. I’ve visited sixty-plus countries and counting!"

I've always used Conde Nast as my go to magazine to research where I need to go next. Being a Travel Counsellor has enabled me to make a career out of my passion for travel.


Travel Counsellor, Sarah Paterson, had worked in accountancy and financial planning prior to starting her travel business. Here, she tells us how her passion for travel enabled her to start up her own travel business with no prior travel industry experience:

“I was on holiday in Italy one summer, when an advertisement popped up for a Discovery Day for Travel Counsellors. We’d been living in Dubai for many years since my husband’s law firm moved him out there, and I’d retrained as a teacher when our children were little. But I found teaching was too inflexible for my family’s needs; I was spending less and less time with my children, and I eventually left. When I saw that Travel Counsellors ad, it was a ‘lightbulb moment’, and I arranged to go along to the Dubai Discovery Day with an open mind, to find out more.

"I’m loving working flexibly and running my own business. Being a Travel Counsellor has enabled me to make a career out of my passion for travel. It’s the best move I could have made!”

After the event, I was sold on the idea, but the upfront cost was a concern - my husband and I wondered if I’d recoup the money, and how long it would take. But I felt strongly it was right for us as a family, so we went ahead. Within six weeks, I’d graduated from the induction, and I had bookings already coming in. I think it’s important for people to consider who’s going to book with them in the first days and weeks when their business goes live, and maybe have half a dozen bookings ready to put on the system right away. It’s also good to take a close look at your immediate contacts - friends, family, contacts, former colleagues - and work out if they are likely to book with you. I had lots of friends who travelled regularly, and I knew I could count on them to book with me. Because I’d travelled so much myself, people often came to me for advice on destinations I’d been to, or itineraries I’d done, so it felt quite natural, really.

Aside from the flexibility of running my own schedule around my family, which is an obvious plus in my job, one of the main benefits of being a Travel Counsellor is just how much we get to travel. I consider it essential research! I have access to great rates and discounts; we’re always taking advantage of industry rates. Even if we have a few days off and travel locally, we’re always heading somewhere. We have so many luxury hotels where we are and it’s very affordable with the discounts we get.

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