A travel agent helps to plan, book, and manage a vacation for a client.
If you love traveling, have great interpersonal skills, and are highly organized, then you might like to become a travel agent.
Many people who like to travel become a travel agent for this reason.
Working within the industry gives you access to cheap and discounted travel, and many agents are even sent on paid vacations by resorts or accommodation providers who expect agents to send them work in return.
For many years, being a travel agent was about providing a service.
The better the service you provided, the more customers you would attract.
However, in recent years the pay structures have changed, and many agents are now paid on a commission or bonus system.
This means that successful travel agents are those with strong sales and marketing ability.
Education Requirements to Become a Travel Agent
If you’re still in high school and you would like to become a travel agent, taking subjects in English, as well as business is a good idea.
During your vacations, you might like to try and get some work experience at a travel agency.
Of course, to be able to understand the needs of your client, it will be a good idea to do some traveling yourself.
This is not to say that you need to visit every continent, but doing a small amount of traveling so as to understand the needs of a traveler booking a vacation will help.
Many travel agents have opportunity to travel as a part of their job.
There is no formal educational requirement to become a travel agent, however employers will favor those will some qualification.
You can complete a two year associate’s degree at vocational college, which will cover areas like geography, ticketing, marketing, as well as industry basics.
There are also tourism bachelor’s degrees that focus on the travel industry.
A good source of information on working in the travel industry is the ASTA website.
Travel Agent Job Description
A travel agent looks after almost every aspect of a vacation for their clients.
They may help those select destinations, provide advice on conditions, plan an itinerary, and book accommodation and transports.
They will also give information about conditions, currency, and anything else that could affect a vacation.
If your clients face problems on their trip, it’s you they will turn to for help.
As a travel agent, you may need to help find a client emergency accommodation, or help them leave a dangerous area.
Here are some of the tasks of a travel agent:
- Meeting with a client and discussing vacation ideas
- Planning an itinerary and costing
- Booking accommodation and transport
- Providing client with tickets and information
- Advising a client of possible dangers on a trip
Travel Agent Salary and Career Path
When you become a travel agent, it’s likely you will begin your career working as a consultant for an agency.
There are also jobs available in call centers, as well as with online booking agencies.
Many travel agents go on to supervisory roles or management positions which entail more responsibility.
Some go on to work for booking agencies.
Some might create itineraries for tour companies, or take on a more hands-on role within the travel industry.
Others may go on to start their own companies.
Here are some similar roles you might find yourself moving onto:
While many travel agents work on a salary, it’s becoming more common for people to earn a commission as well.
The more vacations they sell, the more they will make.
If you have a real knack for sales, along with a passion for travel, you’ll be sure to be a success as a travel agent.
The median salary for a travel agent is $30,000 a year.
An entry level travel agent could expect to earn around $23,000 a year.
The top 10% of earners take home over $45,000 a year.
Those in their own business have the opportunity to make a much higher salary.
If you love traveling, then you might like to become a travel agent.
Not only will this role give you access to vacations for yourself, but you’ll also enjoy the job satisfaction of helping your clients plan perfect vacations.