Travel Agent Jobs
Where are you going on your next vacation? Hiking in Northern Wales. Bird watching in Chile’s Patagonia. Ice hotels in Sweden. Whale diving in Honduras. Wine tours in France. Skiing in British Columbia. Shopping in New York City. Sightseeing in Southeast Asia. Wherever you go, a travel agent can help you get there.
Traveling is always an adventure. A travel agent’s job is to make your trip go smoothly. As a travel agent you help people find flights, book hotels, rent cars, find restaurants, set dates and schedules, and try to find the best fares. In order to do this you need to be travel saavy, offer quality service, and give reliable hot tips. Vacationers depend on the advise of a travel agent.
In order to become a great travel agent, you have to be able to read your clients wants and needs and have done some traveling yourself. For instance, you wouldn’t want to book a backpacking college student into the Ritz Carlton. It’s just not a match.
If you want to be a travel agent, you need to know that your main job is planning other people’s trips. This means you do have some desk time. You have to send emails, follow up phone calls, and be available for people to speak with you. Your job goes beyond finding cheap flights and great local food. You also need to know rules on passports, laws, travel taxes, visas, vaccinations, exchange rates, languages, geography, world weather, world news, and local dos and don’ts. Remember people may base their whole trip on your advice. You better know what you are talking about.
Working as a travel agent is fun. You get to learn and research the far regions of the world. You’ll know all about Bora Bora, Vatican City, or Barbados. You’ll know where you want to go on your next vacation. A travel agent usually gets a lot of discounts. Plus, vacations are a business expense.
If you’re interested in being a travel agent, go for it. While a degree in tourism, travel, or hospitality is ideal, there are no formal requirements for the job. Most travel agents do take some sort of course from a vocational school, online, or at a community college. These courses teach you communication skills, computer skills, and business skills. One of the best forms of continuing education is reading travel magazines and following world news.
Over 100,000 people work as travel agents in the United States. Demand for workers in this field is expected to remain stable to the year 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One way to stand out in the travel agent world is to pick a niche travel market, ideally something you are passionate about. You could book ski trips, dive trips, eco-trips, safaris, cruises, wine tours, or anything else. Having a niche will help you stand out and succeed.
Many travel agents are self employed, but others work for travel agencies like AAA. Employers will look at your training, education, travel background, and communication skills when hiring you. The average rate of pay for travel agents is $31,870 per year, and people who choose this career can also expect to get travel perks like discount airfares, reduced hotel rates, and of course the insider info on everywhere.
Being detailed oriented, organized, and willing to go the extra mile are keys to a successful travel agent career. Building a solid and loyal customer base is also critical for success. But if you have a passion for traveling to far-flung places like Seychelles or Nicaragua, this is the place you can plan the perfect trip, and get paid.
Quick Facts About Travel Agents
Job Title: Travel Agent
Office: Office, unless you’re doing research for the job and you are traveling
Description: Works with clients to plan and book travel
Certifications/Education: No formal education required. Travel Agent courses or degree in travel/tourism recommended.
Necessary Skills: Communication, well organized, travel knowledge and experience
Potential Employers: Self-employed, travel agencies