Destination Experts Wanted: Dream Job

Hello and welcome. I’m Madeline Jhawar, and I’ve been creating custom Italy itineraries for independent travelers for a couple of decades. First, I did it on the side, for family and friends, for fun. Then 10 years ago I started Italy Beyond the Obvious and have built a successful business doing what I love. What do I do, exactly? I create incredible customized vacations for my clients. Best of all, I earn money doing all of this. I receive emails on a regular basis from people who say:

Please teach me how to do what you do. You have my dream job!

Over the years, I’ve given advice over email and have written articles to help people set up their own fee-for-service travel consulting businesses. I’ve been interviewed about my somewhat unique fee-for-service approach, and have been a guest on numerous podcasts. I wrote an article called How to Make a Living Helping Others Travel, which you should read if you’re thinking about doing this. I wrote another article about How to Make Six Figures as a Travel Consultant.


People would read these articles but still had questions, and I came to realize that what I have created over the past decade is not quick and easy to teach. So I documented my methods and took a couple people under my wing to teach them how to set up a business like mine.

Testimonial from a former mentee:

I started my French travel consulting business two years ago and could not have done it without the guidance and advice of Madeline. Her skill set is incredible, and her profound knowledge of the business of travel consulting is unparalleled. Beyond this, Madeline is able to explain business strategy in ways that someone like me, who before starting my company had no experience in business whatsoever, can understand and apply to my company effectively. The quality of her work is inspiring, and her streamlined, detailed, and efficient lesson plans leave out nothing. I cannot recommend Madeline’s coaching enough.


In 2019, I’m launching TRAVEL BEYOND THE OBVIOUS to teach people how to do what I do. But I’m going to offer it in November of 2018 to a very limited groupby application only, at a big discount. If you’d like to be a part of this initial group, please apply below! PLEASE READ THIS FIRST:


If I’m going to teach you how to make money as a destination expert, then that means:

  1. You’re a destination expert. You have a deep knowledge of your destination, which means you’ve spent a lot of time there, know how to get around, know how to communicate with the locals, and understand the country’s “wow” factor to help others enjoy it, too.
  2. You’ll give travelers personalized recommendations, based on the client’s needs and interests. This means you will need to understand the client, be able to offer a wide range of recommendations, and offer a time-consuming, high-touch service.
  3. You will charge fees like a consultant. I am not going to teach you how to be a travel agent and we are not going to discuss “The Travel Industry” in this course. [If you’d like to discuss the travel industry with me separately, I have a lot of opinions on the subject and am happy to share them. But I don’t think it’s necessary information in this course and would take up a lot of time.]
  4. You want to create a business, not a hobby. This means you’ll also run marketing, finance, operations, and more, in addition to actually planning trips.
  5. You want to create an online business. I am not going to teach you how to set up a storefront. You will have a website and an online presence.


Did you read that and think “YES”? If so, you may be a great fit for this course! But wait — please read this first.

Do you have the right background for a destination expert training course?

There is no “correct” background needed in order to learn how to make money as a destination expert, but you need to have some sort of relevant background.

  • You MUST already be a destination expert. I cannot give you destination expertise. If you aren’t ALREADY an expert in your destination, this course isn’t right for you.
  • You MUST be able to support yourself. Building this business takes time and you will not earn a lot of money right away.
  • You MUST be able to work independently, be self-directed, and be detail-oriented. You’ll be the boss. Nobody will be telling you what to do, although I’ll tell you how to do it.
  • I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you have some sort of business experience in your past. No need to have founded your own start-up, but if you’ve run your own small business before, you’ll have a giant advantage.
  • I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you have sales experience. No need to have been VP of sales in a company, but you’ll be convincing clients to give you money in exchange for you doing the work. If you’ve never sold anything to anyone in the past, this will more challenging for you.
  • BONUS: If you have worked in the tourism industry, if you have customer service experience, if you speak the local language fluently, if you are a good writer or have ever written a blog, and if you have event planning experience — IN ADDITION TO all of the above — you may be an ideal fit for this job!

Destination Expert Training Course Basic Information

DATES: November 2018 – Feb 2019

You’ll watch pre-recorded videos of the eight lessons on your own time, and then after each lesson, we’ll schedule a 30 – 60 minute call to review the material, and go over any questions you have.

WHERE: Online

Pre-recorded video format. Each week, I’ll send you a link to about an hour of video to watch for that week’s topic. We’ll schedule a follow-up call together so you can ask for clarifications or let me know whether anything was missing or unclear.

WHAT: Destination Expert Training course

  • Eight online classes or modules (see details below)
  • Facebook group so participants can interact with each other (maybe)
  • Handouts and recommended reading
  • In English only


Destination Expert training course modules

Lesson 1: Customer, Services, Pricing

Lesson 2: Customer Acquisition

Lesson 3: What to do when you get a customer

Lesson 4: The 5-step Travel Planning Process

Lesson 5: How to earn money

Lesson 6: How to stay up to date with your recommendations

Lesson 7: Tools

Lesson 8: Measurements, Lessons Learned

My experience: what you can expect with a successful business as a destination expert

As a Destination Expert, I help people set up 8 – 21 day trips for anywhere from 2 – 6 people, although sometimes I do up to 15 people.

This includes:

  • Personalized advice and booking of the itinerary, accommodations, activities, logistics and food.
  • I charge fees and I am very transparent about what travelers get and what it costs. Table of fees and services here.
  • General Italy travel advice including on travel insurance, money, maps, technology and cell phone use, driving tips, packing tips, guidebooks and phrase books, and cultural tips.
  • Costs and accounting: we work within our travelers’ budget. They leave for Italy knowing what has been paid, what is remaining to pay, how they are going to pay it, when, to whom, and whether a tip is recommended.
  • Our travelers leave for Italy with a detailed written itinerary. Sample of Gold Itinerary here. Although note we have moved to an app which is even better!
  • We get rave reviews! Check out testimonials here, Facebook reviews here, Google reviews here.


As a Destination Expert, I do not do the following:

  • I do not Book flights
  • I do not rely solely on commissions
  • I only do Italy – no other countries
  • I do not sell package tours
  • I do not mark anything up – clients pay all vendors directly


As a destination expert running your own business, you will decide how many hours you want to work, and how many trips you can handle every year. In 2017, Italy Beyond the Obvious did 50 trips: 23 at the Travel Coaching level; 21 at the Gold level; and 6 at the Platinum level.



To apply, send an email to and tell me:

  1. Tell me about yourself. Send me links to your online pages — LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, a Facebook business page (no personal Facebook pages) if you already have one.
  2. What is your destination? Please include the words Destination Expert for [your destination] in your email subject line.
  3. Tell me about your background. What qualifications do you already have (see above) that would make you a good candidate for a travel consultant training course?