There are many paths you can take to become a travel agent, but you should know a few key things before getting started.
Benefits of a Travel Agent Career
If you’re someone who enjoys helping people, becoming a travel agent may be a good career choice. You’ll get to help people plan their dream vacations, booking hotels, flights, and rental cars, and making sure your clients have all the necessary documents for their trip. You will also be able to offer them advice on what to see and do when they reach their destination.
Another great perk of being a travel agent is that you will often be able to go on familiarization trips, also known as “fam trips.” Familiarization trips are paid for by tour operators and hotels and are designed to give travel agents first-hand experience of a particular destination or property so that they can sell it to their clients with confidence. Familiarization trips can also be a great way to earn continuing education credits.
Own Your Own Business and Be Your Own Boss
One of the best things about being a travel agent is that you can own your own business and be your own boss. You can work from home, set your own hours, and take on as many or as few clients as you want. Of course, owning your own business comes with its own set of challenges, but it can be an extremely rewarding experience.
Types of Travel Agents
There are two main types of travel agents: corporate travel agents and leisure travel agents. Corporate travel agents work with businesses to book travel for their employees. This can include booking flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. Leisure travel agents, on the other hand, work with individual clients to plan vacations. This includes everything from booking airfare and hotels to planning itineraries and activities.
Types of Agencies
There are two types of agencies: host agencies and brick-and-mortar agencies.
A host agency is a company that provides support services to home-based travel agents. When you join a host agency, you’ll become an independent contractor. This means that you will be self-employed and will work from home. Host agencies will give you access to a booking platform, and offer training and support. They will also help you get started by providing you with leads for potential clients. The downside to being a home-based agent is that you won’t have the same brand recognition as a brick-and-mortar agency.
A brick-and-mortar agency is a traditional, storefront travel agency. If you choose to open a brick-and-mortar agency, you will be responsible for all the start-up costs associated with opening a new business, such as rent, furniture, and office supplies. You’ll also need to hire staff and pay for marketing. The upside of opening a brick-and-mortar agency is that you will have instant brand recognition.
A Typical Day-to-day Schedule for an Independent Travel Agent or Travel Agency
If you are a home-based travel agent or the owner of a small travel agency, your day-to-day schedule will vary depending on your clients’ needs. You may find yourself working odd hours to accommodate time differences or last-minute changes in plans. You may also have to work weekends and holidays. That said, you will also have a lot of flexibility in your schedule and will be able to take time off when you need to.
Corporate Travel Agent
Corporate travel agents typically work regular business hours, Monday through Friday. However, you may occasionally have to work evenings or weekends to accommodate the travel schedules of your clients.
Leisure Travel Agent
Leisure travel agents generally work regular business hours, Monday through Friday. However, you may also have to work evenings or weekends to accommodate the travel schedules of your clients.
Who Are the Most Successful Travel Agents?
The most successful travel agents are those who have a passion for travel and a strong knowledge of the industry. They’re also great at multitasking, have excellent interpersonal and customer service skills, and remain calm under pressure.
Community colleges offer Certificate programs and Associate’s Degree programs in travel and tourism. These programs typically last two years.
There are a number of online courses available that can help you learn the basics of the travel industry. Many of these courses are offered by community colleges and universities.
Travel Agent Workshops
There are a variety of training programs available to those interested in becoming a travel agent. While some agents choose to get formal training from a community college or online program, others choose workshops and on-the-job training.
While there is no formal education required to become a travel agent, most agencies require a high school diploma or equivalent. There are also a variety of certification programs available that can help you learn more about the industry and improve your chances of getting hired.
There are no federal licensing requirements for travel agents. However, some states require a business license or permit.
In addition to formal training, certification, and licensing, there are just a few other essentials you’ll need to get started as a travel agent: internet access, a computer, a printer, and a phone.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Travel Agent?
The length of time it takes to become a travel agent depends on your previous experience and education. If you have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a training program, you can become a travel agent in as little as one to two years.
How Much Does it Cost to Become a Certified Travel Agent?
The cost of becoming a certified travel agent varies depending on the type of training you receive. Community college programs and online courses typically range from $1,000-$5,000. Formal certification programs can cost anywhere from $500-$3,000.
How Much Does it Cost to Create a Travel Agency?
The cost of starting a travel agency depends on the size and type of agency you want to create. You can launch a home-based agency for as little as $500, while starting a brick-and-mortar agency can cost more than $50,000.
Average Income By Agency Type
- Full-service travel agency: $30,000-$40,000
- Online travel agency: $35,000-$45,000
- Host agency: $24,000-$36,000
- Independent contractor: $15,000-$25,000
Becoming a travel agent can be a rewarding and exciting career. With the right training and certification, you can become a travel agent in as little as one to two years. While there are no formal education requirements, most agencies ask that employees have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are different certification programs that can help you learn more about the industry and improve your chances of getting hired. While there is no federal licensing requirement for becoming a travel agent, some states do require a business license or permit.