Emily skydiving above Europe.

How To Make $10,000 Per Month With Travel Itinerary Planning

Want to learn about one of the easiest ways to monetize your travel blog?

One of my favorite blogging success stories comes from a student of Scale Your Travel Blog named Emily Concannon.

Emily joined Scale Your Travel Blog in hopes of turning her travel blog into a money-making business. As we all know, creating a sustainable income from travel blogging can take time, but Emily was checked out from her 9-5 job.

Armed with her blogging skills and the desire to create financial freedom, Emily launched a travel itinerary planning business that quickly became a success, pulling in over $10,000 a month while her blog was still just getting off the ground.

Emily joined us for an interview to share tips for starting and growing an itinerary planning business. You can find our conversation below, or you can watch the itinerary on Youtube here:

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    Tell us about yourself and how you got started with travel itinerary planning.

    My name is Emily Concannon, and I’m a full-time travel blogger.

    Back in 2021, I got the sense that the 9 to-5 job wasn’t for me. So I decided to put in my notice at work and dive head first into what was only then a hobby, which was travel blogging.

    I joined a wonderful course called Scale Your Travel Blog. Six to eight months later, I was doing well, I was starting to see traffic come to my blog, but I was nowhere near being able to join an ad network, and I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of affiliate marketing.

    Emily and her husband, Sean, standing under the Northern Lights.

    So I started thinking about what I could offer my readers to help me make money faster. My readers were travelers coming from all over the world and they were really interested in my itineraries.

    I realized I was getting dozens of emails a day from these readers asking things like, “can you help me with this, I’m trying to meet up with my son in Portugal” or “i’m trying to do XYZ, could you help?”

    So I decided to create what I called custom itinerary services. I created packages dependent on how much help the client needed.

    I started to help with everything from flights to accommodations to trip efficiency and making sure people were staying on budget, etc.

    Personally, I really liked focusing on honeymoons. Honeymoons are a big trip for couples, and I loved helping because my clients were already so busy with planning their wedding.

    Emily climbing stairs in a neighborhood in Cusco.

    So, this custom itinerary service became a big part of my blog in the earlier months and years before it became successful with ads and affiliates, and it became a major part of what Emily Embarks is today.

    How much do you earn each month from travel itinerary planning? Are there some months that are more lucrative than other months?

    Depending on your target audience, the numbers that you earn can vary. But I would say on average from itinerary planning, in the spring to summer months when people are frequently planning trips, I was earning between $8,000 and $12,000 a month.

    Emily smiling for a selfie on a mountain while traveling.

    Some months are better than others. Months surrounding the holidays, November through January, tend to be pretty slow. This is a time when people are already traveling, they’re with family and friends, and they’re really not spending as much time looking online for travel deals. Black Friday that’s really the only exception.

    The best time for this business is between March and June. This is when people are planning their trips for the summer, for the fall, for the winter, for holidays, etc.

    Is travel planning the same thing as being a travel agent? Are you a travel agent?

    No, I am not a travel agent. The biggest difference between travel planners and travel agents is the booking process and what’s included.

    Travel planners help with the beginning stages (the planning stages). They’re going to help you plan your itinerary and do all of the travel research needed to create a fantastic trip.

    Emily staring at Machu Picchu in Peru

    Travel agents are going to be with you every step of the way through the booking process, and also while you’re on the trip.

    Another big difference between travel planners and travel agents is that most travel agents work with an agency that provides liability insurance.

    If you just want to help plan trips and provide your own expertise and research for people who might not have time or don’t know where to start, that’s what a travel planner does.

    What do you like about creating itineraries for travelers?

    It’s such a special moment when you can connect people with places they’ve only dreamed of but never thought they’d actually visit. You get to show them it doesn’t have to be as expensive or complex as they thought.

    Emily and Sean at a hot springs during winter with icicles on their eyes.

    It’s amazing to be on a video call with clients and see how excited they get when they realize it is possible to go to Antarctica or to Australia or wherever it might be. You really are helping people’s dreams come true.

    Is itinerary planning something others could do?

    Itinerary planning is definitely something that other people can offer whether you’re a blogger or an agent. It’s super easy to get started.

    It’s not something that you need a following for, which is great. You certainly do not need a social media presence, which I personally love.

    Emily parasailing in Europe with a guide and snow-covered mountains behind her.

    Travel itinerary planning is something you can do with your blog right when you’re getting started, even with a small number of readers coming to your website every month.

    Even with less than 500 readers coming to your blog every month, that is something you can use to start selling your services.

    To be clear, if you don’t have a blog or a website and you want to make this a business, you could use your social media channel to get started.

    My advice is to set up a website and start ranking articles on search engines with SEO. It’s a great way to get people to your site for free.

    Tell us about how your blog has contributed to the success of your travel itinerary business

    My blog has been centered around SEO and finding keywords that would bring in clients that want to book my services.

    Emily and Sean riding a camel in the desert.

    Having a blog allows me to target keywords like, “best honeymoon destinations in Europe,” and that brought me wonderful honeymoon clients.

    Having a blog allows you to target your ideal clients, if you’re using proper SEO.

    Are there any liabilities people need to be aware of when it comes to offering itinerary planning services?

    There are some liabilities associated with itinerary planning. Before you get started, it’s important to sit down and think about or have a conversation about these liabilities. You need to ensure that you:

    • Have a good disclaimer
    • A proper contract set up so both parties know what’s expected of each other and what they’re going to receive in return
    • If offering the booking service is something you want to do, you should talk to a lawyer or your accountant about either creating an LLC that covers you or getting outside liability insurance

    Can you list the steps someone would need to take to get started with travel itinerary planning?

    Before you get started finding clients, you need to think about your ideal client: what do they look like, what they need, and where you want to offer your services.

    If you only want to offer services to Aruba, then your whole package creation and website should be centered around Aruba.

    Maybe your ideal client likes luxury travel to Africa, you’re going to create your business around that idea.

    Step #1: Discover Your Customer Avatar

    So back to step number one, which is creating your customer avatar. This is your ideal client, and you’ll want to identify their pain points and what they want out of your service.

    Emily standing at the top of a mountain smiling for the camera.

    Step #2: Create Your Business Around Your Ideal Client

    Once you know more about your customers, decide which packages you want to create to serve them best, and set up your website around that topic or idea, too.

    This was mentioned above with the Aruba or luxury travel to Africa idea.

    Step #3: Decide How To Grow Your Client Base

    Next, you can decide how you want to market your services, whether it be through social media, through a blog or a website, or however you feel most comfortable.

    Once you get all that set up, you can start learning the next steps, which includes:

    • How to get people to reach out to you
    • What the onboarding process will look like
    • What your picing will be
    • How long you decide to work with each client
    • How extensive your packages will be (do you want to offer the booking process or not?)

    To be clear, you do NOT offer the booking process to your clients, correct?

    Correct, I don’t offer the booking process at this time. Personally, I enjoy the planning portion of it, getting to do the research, creating the itineraries, and making people about the possibilities that are out there.

    Emily using a map to find her way through an unfamiliar city.

    Since you don’t offer the booking process as part of your packages, do you feel that deters people from hiring you?

    In my experience, at least from my audience, I have not seen this deter people from using my services.

    Typically, the people that are coming to my website and blog are pretty comfortable with booking things on their own. They know how to book flights and hotels, the problem is they don’t have the time to do the research to plan these trips.

    Emily standing on a dock extended over a lake with beautiful rolling hills and mountains behind her.

    This goes back to my ideal customer: they knew how to book trips, they just didn’t have the time or the energy to do all the research, so I’m solving that pain point by making the itinerary for them and providing the links they need to book everything on their own.

    This saves them a lot of time because I can have their completed itinerary to them within two or three days and then they can book it whenever they’re ready.

    Are there any unique tips or things you wish you would’ve known that you can share with someone who might want to start a travel itinerary planning business?

    Tip: Be aware of the time commitment and create for your business

    The biggest thing I wish I realized before getting into it was that offering custom itinerary services is NOT passive income. It is something that you need to put time and effort into every week.

    If it’s something that you are planning to offer or you’d like to dive into, take a step back and look at your average work week. Start writing down how many hours you’re putting into different parts of your life.

    Maybe you’re putting five hours a week into email marketing, maybe you’re putting 12 hours a week into writing new blog posts, etc. Get a solid idea of how much time you’re spending and where, and then think about where you could create more time for this business.

    Emily and Sean in Katmai National Park in Alaska with grizzly bears behind them.

    It’s important to know how many total hours a week you plan on working. So if you only want to work 40 hours a week, and right now you’re working 38, think about where you could take back some time.

    Ask yourself if that amount of time is enough to offer itinerary services. Something like eight hours per week is plenty of time for one or two clients (a week).

    But if you’re looking at your week and you realize you only have 3 hours a week to work on your itinerary planning business, it might not be the best fit for you at this time, but something you could look at for the future.

    Tell us about your new course and how it can help others start and grow an itinerary business.

    My course is called Travel Planning 101, and it launches May 1st, which is very exciting. It’s been a long time in the making.

    Travel Planning 101 was designed to not only include everything that someone might might need to start offering custom itinerary services whether it’s to their readers or on their blog, but also for travel agents who might need more guidance or assistance in the travel planning process.

    It’s also great for the DIY trip planner whether it’s a parent trying to plan a trip with their kids or a couple trying to create their own honeymoon itinerary.

    There’s also bonus modules, including the world of airline miles and points, learning how to vet tours and other agencies overseas, vetting hotels before you’ve ever stepped foot in the country, etc.

    Does your course also teach students how to get clients for their itinerary planning business?

    My course includes an entire module on how to turn a reader into a client and exactly how to get those readers in the first place. This includes:

    • What keywords you should be targeting
    • How and when you should be posting these blog posts across your site
    • Where you should be embedding inquiry forms
    • Setting up landing pages
    • How to get the reader’s attention to contact you

    I also include things like how to create a professional itinerary using Canva Pro, that way from start to finish you know exactly what to do.

    ➡️ Learn more and join Emily’s course here >> Travel Planning 101

    Where else can people find you and/or connect with you?

    You can learn more about me on either of my websites: Emily Embarks or Sea To Summit Alaska – these are my two main websites. You’ll find information about me and my husband there and our travels primarily around North America and Europe

    You can also reach out to me via email at contact@emilyembarks.com.

    A HUGE thank you to Emily for all of the strategies and tips that she shared with us about creating a successful travel itinerary planning business.