The Surprising Life of a Travel Director

…It’s Not All Glitz and Glamour!

This week I had a lovely chat with Gracie Minton. She got a bit of attention in a Facebook Group when she posted about being Travel Director and I wanted to learn more.

Even after our first hellos I could tell how she thrives as a Travel Director (TD); she has a bright, engaging manner that makes you trust her right away.

She’s based in St Louis, but she spends a lot of time on the road, thankfully missing much of the harsh winter weather there. But she warned me that the role is not all glamorous!

  • Some TDs spend over 300 days a year “on the road”
  • She once spent 3 hours pointing at a bus starting at 3AM
  • Days on site can start at 2AM and mostly be confined to convention centers
  • Some “programs” involve over 100 TDs working like a small army to deliver the perfect destination event

Gracie says, “You have to be game for anything” to do this job. If you can roll with the issues, adapt to the situation and maintain a custom service orientation then you’ll do great.

“You have to be game for anything”

Her favorite trips were the incentive travel programs that took her to Cambodia, Bahamas and Italy for a month each. Not all her work is like that, but there are plenty of upsides:

  • She got to see Goldie Hawn speak at an event
  • She’s made lasting friendships around the world
  • She gets to keep her flight miles
  • Her per diem can add up to over $12K per year (tax free)!

Gracie started out as a full time TD with Maritz Travel and then switched a few years later to freelance to take a bit more control of her schedule. Now she is free to pick and choose programs that come in from the agency she is registered with. It means her schedule is not as predictable, but that gives her room to pursue her other passions. For example, this summer she’ll be going to Italy to teach.

It’s a competitive industry and you have to be hard working and especially punctual, but for Gracie the pros outweigh the cons so far. She knows that she will always have a place in the TD world now – even if she needs to take a break for other things and come back to it.

Would you want to be a TD? Why or why not?