Each day we aim to inspire, educate and entertain the travel industry. Our community is spread far and wide across the country and even the world.
We decided it would be fun to get to know our community better and learn about the diverse lives you lead.
Here’s our chat with KARRYON reader and Travel Counsellor Jake Cassar on what it’s like to work in the travel industry while raising two sons through to what he said to his client who wanted to go on holidays to the moon.
Where in Australia are you based?
I am a Travel Counsellor based in Melbourne. I have been in the travel industry for 12 years now.
Prior to becoming a Travel Counsellor, I worked for one of the world’s largest travel groups until I received my 10 year-long-service leave and felt it was time for a change.
In those 10 years, I had also become a proud father to my two boys (who have been to more countries than some people I know), and was craving a lifestyle that would allow me to work, travel and be with my family as much as possible.
No more wasted hours to the office in the daily commute, and no one to answer to and shape my business and targets. These goals really pulled me in to become a Travel Counsellor and work for myself.
What is a typical work day like for you?
It mainly depends on my two sons’ schedule and how I work around them. Being the main caretaker for them I am able to work when I can and need to really.
Usually it starts with a wake up call from my youngest (6-6.30am!) as we sit at the table and eat our breakfast I go through my emails and work out how my day will unfold.
We all know in the industry that we need to be on hand in case of an emergency or someone stuck at the airport.
I try and schedule client meetings around nap times or days they are at school or daycare and the days I have them at home I am able to work on my marketing, quotes, emails etc whilst they play away, and eat all the snacks in the world which keeps them quiet.
If I haven’t been able to get done what I wanted that day, I spend an hour at night when they are asleep and smash out what needs to be done for the day.
The flexibility of not working under a structured 9-5 day means I am able to do my dream job and not letting the fact I had children come into my life take it away.
I still travel as much if not more than I did when I was working for a big corporation travel agency as I don’t need to ask for time off and can take work with me wherever in the world there is an internet connection.
Although I am only six months into the new job, the famil opportunities are a lot more than I was previously offered.
Where is the weirdest destination anyone has ever wanted you to send them?
Weirdest is a hard one as I embrace the weird, random destinations myself.
I would probably answer with a young, single mum who came one day with her son that was around 5 years old and she asked to go to Senegal, Kenya and then to Afghanistan with her son to film a documentary on skaters in these countries.
I didn’t find it that weird but maybe the fact that she was taking her son to these destinations worried me a little but she assured me they would be safe and had locals that were protecting them from any dangers.
What’s the most unusual question a client has ever asked?
I got asked once (I’m not joking and they were serious) if they could take the offer they saw on a billboard to the moon.
I answered with we could normally sell you a flight to anywhere in the world but not the moon at this moment sorry (this was before Virgin galactic was even an idea). Later that day I did notice on a billboard advertisement saying “let us take you to the moon”. It was an advertisement for a PlayStation game.
What do you love most about working in the Travel Industry?
I’d be lying if I didn’t answer with the perks. The amount of free or heavily discounted travel I have been able to take advantage of in my time is insane. If I could add it all up I could probably have bought a house outright!
It has helped me get to over 75 countries in my time, but to also experience and be able to sell travel to clients when they know I have been there and done that helps a lot with my business.
I do love being able to spend the time and sit down with my clients and help them plan and book a tailor-made holiday that they just cannot book online – trips for travellers, not just tourists.
- READ: KARRYON COMMUNITY: Meet Caroline Cameron, Travel Counsellor
- READ: Travel Counsellors’ commitment to sustainable tourism
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