Last updated January 11, 2024
Sahara Rose De Vore is a Wellness Travel Coach and the founder of The Travel Coach Network (TCN). She spent a decade traveling the globe and made it to 84 countries by the age of 31.
After believing that there was more to a travel career than blogging and bookings, Sahara became a pioneer in the travel coaching industry. She now educates and empowers ambitious travelers from all around through her global network of international travel coaches.
Sahara is the creator and owner of the world’s first and only ICF-accredited certification program for coaches. She is also a published author and global speaker, seen in various media outlets including Thrive Global, Forbes, Skift, Yahoo! Finance, USA Today and Business Insider for her expertise.
In 2019, Sahara was a nominee by career-changing women in the travel industry for being a rising female leader, best female coach and best innovative trailblazer. We were lucky enough to snag an interview with her on why travel coaching is the next big thing.
Is personal travel coaching new?
When I started my travel coaching business four years ago, there were only a few articles about travel coaching. But it wasn’t really a term that anyone heard about yet in travel.
It’s surprising that it wasn’t something that people called themselves because passionate travelers have been coaching for decades.
When I recruit people into the TCN, they always say, “I have been doing this for a while but never knew what it was called” or “It’s exactly what I describe myself as, but I didn’t know the title existed.”
Is a travel coach similar to a life or career coach?
Since the term “travel coach” has gained traction over the past few years, I realized that I needed to define what it means within the TCN.
I have heard some people who call themselves a travel coach only do so because they coach travel agents.
Therefore, within the TCN, a travel coach is simply a passionate traveler who builds a travel-related business authentic to their own experiences, knowledge and expertise.
Every coach chooses how and what they help people with when it comes to travel. Every traveler knows something unique to them.
For example, some are experts in travel hacking; some travelers have experience in being an expat; some travelers are parents or single moms, or budget or luxury travelers, or travelers over a certain age range or in retirement, or are experienced solo travelers.
The main focuses of a coach are to educate, guide, support and empower people. This can include planning, budgeting, mindset, overcoming fears, self-discovery, retreats, wellness, transformation, diving deeper into people’s motivations for travel, and so much more. It’s entirely up to the coach to decides who they help and why.
Within the TCN, people come from a wide range of niches and expertise. These include travel agents, life coaches, health coaches, tour operators, spiritual coaches, human resources, business travel and the medical field, among others.
What inspired you to create The Travel Coach Network?
There are a few reasons. I graduated from a Hospitality and Tourism Program, and I was really uninspired by the jobs that existed in the travel industry. I then spent years hopping around the globe as an aimless backpacker.
Despite struggling for almost a decade on what I wanted and could do with my love and knowledge of travel, I knew that I enjoyed empowering and inspiring others to incorporate travel into their own life on their own terms.
I knew what I liked and didn’t like to do when using my knowledge of travel. I had no interest in planning or booking trips for people.
Although I had a travel blog that was getting a lot of attention, I struggled at writing and didn’t want to be a travel writer or a blogger. No travel careers or jobs that existed were of interest to me.
I knew there must have been more to a travel career than blogging and bookings. I wished there was a place like the TCN back when I was trying to figure out my career path.
Throughout the years, people would come to me for travel advice and tips. I knew what I could talk about, such as solo female travel, budget travel and safety.
And I also knew what I liked to talk about: the empowerment and transformation side of travel. I would also have people asking me questions about topics that I couldn’t relate to, such as traveling as a black woman or particular religion, family travel, and traveling as a couple or retiree.
But, I knew that there was a whole world of travelers out there who DID have the answers that those looking to travel had questions about. They just didn’t realize that they were experts in that topic yet.
Therefore, I wanted to create a place where I could bridge the gap between the travel experts and those who needed help and guidance on travel.
When I started my own wellness travel coaching business for the corporate world, I didn’t have a person or a place to turn to help or guide me.
Soon after I started posting about my business, I had many people online reaching out to ask me what a coach is and to tell me that it sounded like something that they wanted to do as well.
I wanted to create a place where passionate travelers such as myself could learn everything that they needed to know about starting and growing a coaching business or a travel business other than what was already being done.
Who is your target customer?
My target audience is anyone who truly believes in the power that travel has on our mind, body, and soul.
Someone who has a passion for travel and craves to build a business that aligns with what they know and loves most about travel to help others who either best relate to them or are most inspired to help.
The TCN is also for established travel experts (like travel agents, travel advisors, tour operators) or experts looking to shift roles or integrate the coaching aspect into how they serve their clients (like life or health coaches or doctors).
Are travel coaches certified? What qualifications or credentials should we look for?
There is only one way to become a certified travel coach, and that is through the TCN’s Travel Coach Certification Program.
This ICF-accredited program is the world’s first and only certification program for coaches worldwide.
What kind of advice can/should we ask for?
When seeking a travel coach, wellness or otherwise, the type of advice you need is entirely up to you. Everyone is looking for something different when it comes to travel.
Travel serves a unique role in all of our lives in a personal and unique way. This is why coaches can focus on such a wide range of niches and areas of expertise.
I would recommend making a list of the questions, fears, roadblocks, concerns, desires, goals, and motivations you have about traveling. Then find a coach that best suits your needs.
There is a database on the TCN website to find someone who can best serve you.
Will a travel coach book the vacation (make arrangements, research flights)?
By definition, a travel coach does not book trips. That is the special ability of a travel agent.
This doesn’t mean that every coach does not book trips. Many also are trained as travel agents or booking managers.
Again, it depends on what kind of help and knowledge you are looking for when seeking a coach.
Some people want to learn the skills needed to find and book their trips on their budget and timeframe rather than handing over complete control to someone else. This falls into the empowerment side of travel coaching as well.
Every coach chooses what they want to help people with. So some may enjoy helping with the planning, booking, or researching side of travel.
That was just never something that I personally wanted to include in my own work as a coach.
How far in advance of a trip should we work with a coach?
This is entirely up to you and your needs. Determine what it is that you need help with, such as mindset, planning, skillset, research, or any other areas of service, in order to determine how much time you need to work with your travel coach before your trip.
Some coaches also provide during and post-trip guidance and support as well.
Will a coach be available during the trip itself?
The fundamentals of coaching are to empower a client, pull the answers from within, and put the proper tools, confidence, and resources into the client’s hands while providing options for ongoing support or post-trip implementation.
How much should we expect to pay for a travel coach?
How much a travel coach’s services or products cost depends upon that individual coach. Not every coach works one-on-one with people (I don’t).
Some offer full experiences, some offer group sessions, some sell courses or online products, and some solely provide education or guidance to the corporate level (like I do).
What destinations are on your list to visit next?
I have traveled to over 84 countries thus far, but there are always more places to explore. Honestly, I would love to see more of the U.S. and its National Parks such as Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Oregon.
I have always traveled internationally and barely any of the states. My global wanderlust does want to visit Israel again, Bora Bora, the south island of New Zealand and Jordan.
Learn more about becoming a Certified Travel Coach, joining the TCN or downloading your free Beginner’s Guide to Travel Coaching at The Travel Coach Network
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