Travel Coach vs Travel Agent

Sonia Cruz Oro

Whenever I tell people that I am a Travel Coach, most think on a Travel Agent. It is understandable; after all travel coaching is a relative new concept. However, these are two very different careers within the travel industry.

On one hand, you hire a travel agent when you want to delegate all the research/booking for your vacations. You decide on when and where you want to go, and then you rely on the agent's expertise to provide you the best option available for them.

On the other hand, you hire a travel coach when you want to learn how to use the power of travel for your benefit, for the rest of your life. You are looking for guidance on HOW you can create the best trip for you, according to your personality type, your values, your needs and wants. A travel coach can also help with the research, but most importantly they will work closely with you to identify the insights, resources and tools that will allow you to travel with intention so you can achieve the goals, experiences and transformation you are looking for.

Actually, research shows that you doing the work involved in planning not only empowers you, but also ends in a more enjoyable experience for you.

Travel is an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, grow, learn and connect, leading you toward profound experiences and lasting insights. Travel coaching empowers you to take control over your travel goals and to have the experiences you need in order to have the transformation you want.

Ultimately, you decide how deep you want to explore.

"Travel experiences are life-changing when done with intention and purpose. "



This journey starts with a growth mindset and the willingness to embrace inner change. If you are looking for a transformation from your travels, you will need to take time for some introspection. And goal setting is the first step.

Knowing your intention and purpose will not only help you in prioritising tasks and deciding what's important for you, it will also keep you accountable for achieving your desired outcome.

A good way to think about this is imagining that you have come back from your trip:

  • What would you like to explain?
  • What have you seen and experienced?
  • What has changed for you?
  • How do you feel now?


Travel creates a unique opportunity to rediscover who you really are, free from social expectations, assumed roles and workaday responsibilities. It creates the space and state of mind for the important matters and ideas to surface, so you can embrace them.

Seek connection with your inner self, with others along the way, with the place you are, with nature, with something bigger than yourself.

This might take the form of the following:

  • Writing a journal,
  • Meaningful conversations with strangers,
  • Hiring a tour guide,
  • Asking genuine questions,
  • Listening proactively,
  • Learning from others,
  • Being curious about their traditions, etc...

Many people engage passively, but if you participate purposefully, you'll see yourself and the whole world with new and fresh eyes.  


In our hectic society it's getting harder everyday to disconnect from the daily routine. We feel pressed for time, like there is not enough time in the day to do all the things we need to do. Sometimes, we are the ones keeping ourselves busy just to avoid looking inside - because when we stop 'doing' we are forced to look at a reality that we might not like.

Travel gets us out of our mind. It's a unique opportunity to do the ff:

  • Slow down,
  • Disconnect from the external world and open our hearts fully,
  • Tune into how it feels to 'be here right now',
  • Practice mindfulness,
  • Focus on our 5 senses: what can you see, hear, smell, taste, touch

 Real transformation is through the body.


Travel has its challenges. You are bound to face the unexpected and unavoidable. So, when packing, don't forget to add some positive attitude, flexibility, compassion and most importantly, your sense of humour!

It's eventually up to you to see challenges as an opportunity to grow, rather than allow these setbacks to ruin the rest of your trip.

Prepare for the expected by writing down the challenges that you expect to face during this trip? What are you fearful of? How will you conquer these fears? Remember to be always kind to yourself.

On that note, it's always useful to have a list of positive affirmations in your toolkit to keep your vibe:

  • "I am embracing life",
  • "I am charting my own path",
  • "I a ready to grow",
  • "I've got this",
  • "I am proud of myself for doing this work".

Remember, traveling is a privilege that should help us to connect with gratitude.  


Being in our familiar routines, our jobs, our homes make us feel safe and 'in control'. Our social roles give us a sense of identity, prestige, recognition. However, when we travel, the human being underneath these roles is brought into the light. When we don't know the language, the culture, the norms, it can trigger feelings of discomfort, insecurity or fear not 'fitting in'.  

If any of these feelings arise when traveling, deal with them with vulnerability. This is a unique opportunity to send love to these parts of yourself by connecting with your heart and sharing your truth unapologetically.

There is nothing weak about being vulnerable, it takes guts! Be bold about going deep in your conversations (vs small talk), share your real thoughts and feelings in a journal, in messages, or with others where you are. This is not about expressing everything that comes to your mind but being able to feel your feelings, accept them, and express them.  


One of the reasons why travel is such a great catalyst for transformation and growth is that it has the power to change your mindset - if you allow it to do so. 

If you can come back home viewing yourself, others and the world around you through a different lens, then we can say you've been transformed. While on your journey, try to reflect on the perceptions, beliefs and past experiences that shape your current experience of the world - including your experience of the place, the people and the reality around you.   


This journey doesn't finish when you return home. Actually it's when you start to take action to ensure long-lasting transformation. 

I know it's tempting to delay this step and just plug in again to old patterns and routines - you might have dozens of emails to reply and lots of work to catch-up with. That's why I want to remind you about the Law of Diminishing Intent: 'The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it'.

Look at your journal for inspiration and write a list of 3-5 actions that you can implement right now to move you forward to your goals:

  • What are the parts of this journey that you want to keep with you?
  • What do you want to start doing differently?
  • What do you value that is not reflected in your choices and routines?
  • If you could change anything about yourself, what that would be?

Search for those meaningful changes you want to implement in your life, and take purposeful action


Sonia Cruzo Oro is a well-experienced and certified travel coach who believes in the transformational power of travel.

She is also the author of How to Create a Life You Desire.