Carol Orton: From Litigator to Travel Advisor.
What surprised you most about the transition?
I was surprised how positive the response was. I came up with a potential client list and sent one email. I’ve never had to send another marketing email.
How did you decide to begin a career in travel?
I was a litigator at a law firm before I took some time off to raise my kids. When figuring out what to do next, I realized I wanted to do something that had flexible hours. I didn’t want to go back to a regular office job. I thought a lot about what makes me happy and what I could do, where I could use my skills in a new career. I had always loved to travel. Advice for people: “Put aside your pride–figure out what makes you happy.”
What do you love about your job?
Working with people and the personal interactions. Also, I have met a whole range of people all over the world in the travel business. I have found out about careers I never knew existed. Also, I love learning and researching about travel.
What are the hard parts of the job?
I’m constantly worried that something will go wrong while someone is on a trip. You feel responsible the entire time someone is on a trip–you’re never “off.”
What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into this business?
Find someone to mentor you. Have someone you can ask when questions come up, e.g. how does this work? Also, it’s important to be detail-oriented. There is so much detail work involved and so many moving parts. Also, be a “people person” who enjoys interacting with clients.
Tips for people who want to do this?
It’s so much easier to help people if you’ve been to the place you’re helping them go.
What are the top places you’ve travelled to?
This is so hard to answer because it depends what travel category you’re talking about — do you mean adventure, culture, nature, big cities…? Some of my favorites are Croatia, Spain, Italy, Central and South America, the Galapagos, and Southeast Asia.
Any tips for travelers?
Just go! Your health could go at any time. Also, travel agents add tremendous value, especially if you’re going to a country you’re not familiar with.
For more information about being a travel consultant, check out our Amava Spotlight.
Before designing her dream job as a travel consultant, Carol’s professional life has included stints as a lawyer, a school board member, a soccer mom, a PTA president, and a fundraiser for public schools in her community.