There is a job out there for everyone. Some require endless hours, the sacrifice of personal time, and leave you feeling drained and unfulfilled. And, then there are the “happy jobs” that ignite your soul, give you a sense of adventure and purpose, and make the “working” part not really feel like work at all. Working as a travel agent is one of the latter jobs.
If you are considering joining the travel and tourism industry, there are many benefits and opportunities.
Let’s explore ten great reasons to become a travel agent today!
1. It is no secret: when you are a travel agent, you will literally get to travel like the rich.
When you become a travel agent, travel will become your life. You will catch last-minute flights, go on cruises to up-and-coming destination “hot spots,” and, of course, learn about a lot of amazing countries and cultures in the process. And, you get to try a lot of amazing foods.
Even better, many of the trips will come with a discounted rate, as most travel suppliers and vendors extend discounts to the agents that choose to book with them. And, these discounts are usually not advertised; they are strictly exclusive.
Exclusive deals? Now that is joining the world of the high class!
2. Being a travel agent can certainly be a regular 9-to-5 job, but it does not have to be.
We now live in a world where we can access pretty much everything with a swipe of our fingers. The travel agents of the past had to sit at a desk all day; now travel agents can truly work on the go. The Pandemic was a catalyst to make remote work more commonplace. As a travel agent, you can now work anytime, anywhere. All you need is a good wifi signal and a secure device, and you are ready to get down to business.
You can book a trip to London from your home, your local coffee shop, or even from a fabulous resort-side cabana in the Caribbean! The choice is all yours. As long as you have the discipline, you can serve your clients wherever you just happen to be.
3. A travel agent job does not require a specific college degree.
Of course, if you have a college degree, that is awesome. But if you do not have one, you can still quickly become a travel agent. Your education solely depends on your work ethic and how quickly you want to get things moving. If you sign up with a travel host agency, they often provide you with any necessary training and even help you get different certifications to help you feel confident in your abilities — and to give you added credibility. The best part is that you can get all of this education without having to worry about paying back thousands of dollars in student loans and interest fees.
For those looking to transition from a different career, you can become a travel agent fairly quickly. You can even work on your new venture part-time and “earn as you learn.” This way, you can keep your current job (and have a steady stream of income) while you train to become a travel agent at your own pace.
4. You will also inevitably learn your geography as a travel agent.
If you love studying the globe, you will be a natural at planning vacations for your clients. “Do you know the way to San Jose?” You better, or your clients may not view you as the travel agent you aspire to be.
As a travel agent, you will learn all of the best routes to destinations, make your clients trust you even more, and increase the likelihood that your clients will eventually turn into loyal customers. You will become an expert on “all thing travel and geography” and ultimately, become a lifetime “student of the world.”
5. Getting paid is always fun, and there are many ways to earn those big bucks as a travel agent.
As a travel agent, you can get paid by booking hotel rooms; planning for corporate and group travel; arranging transportation and travel insurance for your clients; working with tour operators to schedule tourist activities; booking cruises and earning commissions; and, even charging for your planning services. You can charge a percentage or a flat fee.
Your time is valuable, and you have the opportunity to set your own rates to reflect your hard work and expertise.
6. If you love business travel, you will enjoy being a travel agent even more.
Traveling to exotic beaches and mountain peaks is wonderful, but as a travel agent, you will not only travel for pleasure but for business as well. As mentioned earlier, you will get to travel to up-and-coming destinations by taking FAM (familiarization) trips as well as SAS (Seminars at Sea) voyages. Agents have a chance to familiarize themselves with the regions in which they are booking as well as the types of ships clients will be sailing on. They will tour cruise ships and experience all of the amenities that will be offered to their future clients.
Travel agents also get to participate in annual forums like the Las Vegas Travel Agent Forum (LVTAF) and CruiseWorld, where travel sellers from North America get to connect with the industry’s top professionals, participate in educational workshops and break-out sessions, and learn about new business resources and opportunities.
7. Business is booming for travel agents.
During the Pandemic, travelers realized the importance of a travel agent. People needed to know which countries were open, what their restrictions were, how to cancel trips if they suddenly became sick, and the safest places to stay while abroad. And, with the internet, the average traveler had an overwhelming amount of information to shuffle through.
Travel agents helped bridge the gap and lighten the planning stress, and they are still doing this today. Instead of clients spending hours trying to plan itineraries and arrange accommodations, travel agents can happily take on this “burden” and get compensation for all of the time (and money!) they help their clients save.
And, now that restrictions have been lifted in most countries, people are even more eager to travel and trust a highly-qualified travel agent with their plans.
8. As a travel agent, you can promote the areas you want to sell.
Many travel agents think they have to cater to every single travel preference out there, but the truth is that you can choose your niche. Travel agents should be both knowledgeable and passionate about what they present to their audience. Love everything about Disney? You can specialize in Disney World, Disneyland, and even Disney Cruises.
Do you love romance? How about specializing in destination weddings and honeymoon packages? You can even focus on European travel. So, even if you are not an A student in that geography mentioned, you can become an A student in your specific niche.
9. You can have fun — and gain more clients — by learning a new language.
Learning another language comes with special benefits for travel agents. When you know the language(s) of the destinations you highlight, you can easily form better business relationships with the local tour operators (and earn extra income for booking excursions).
If you write in a different language, you can also invite more followers to read and follow your blog. Learning a new language can help you distinguish yourself more within your particular niche. After all, your goal is to stand out from your competition, isn’t it?
There are plenty of free online courses and certifications that can get you started learning a new language. Just check out Duolingo!
10. As a travel agent, you can choose to be self-employed or have the support of working with an agency.
Travel agents can choose to work as employees and handle reservations for tour companies and corporate businesses. However, they can also choose to be home-based agents and work independently or with a host agency. Those who choose the home-based, independent approach get to set their own work hours, be their own boss, and reap all of the financial rewards of their efforts, including utilizing additional tax write-offs and savings.
These are just some of the benefits of becoming a travel agent; there are many more!
The job outlook for travel agents is projected to grow by 20 percent through the year 2031. And, although the median annual wage is nearly $50,000, the income potential is uncapped. If you have been on the fence as to whether or not you should become a travel agent, there is no better time than right now.