What is it like to be a Travel Agent and is it the right choice for me?

What better way to travel to parts unknown than to become a travel agent? And… perhaps, you won’t even need to leave your living room. Through extensive research, you may feel like you have already been there! On the other hand, perhaps you will need to travel so you can properly recommend the trip to others. Either way, a career in travel and tourism is an interesting and exciting career! So, what are the responsibilities of a travel agent? It’s more than just booking a hotel room, anybody can do that.

Typically, there are two types of travel agents. As a corporate agent, you are responsible for making airline, rental car and hotel reservations for companies, large conglomerates or privately-owned small businesses that require their employees to travel. In some situations, you may be responsible for dinner reservations and convention passes for your client’s party.

If you prefer, you may choose to be a leisure travel agent. In this capacity, agents are responsible for creating an experience for the guests, as they embark on family vacations or romantic getaways. In some cases, you will be responsible for reserving amenities for large groups, therefore, spending a lot of computer time researching prices and fees.

In addition, you may choose to concentrate on a specific destination or interest, like wine-tasting in France or surfing in California. Perhaps, cruises might be your specialty. You should create destination vacation packages that cater to your client’s interest, as well as, your own. Always consider costs, ease of travel, your client’s age and mobility, and most of all, fulfilling the destination vacation dreams of your clients. As a leisure travel agent, you will be responsible for reserving airline flight tickets, rental cars, hotel reservations and planning fun activities for the whole family or group to enjoy.

Of course, before you begin to plan a client’s vacation, you will want to get to know them, somewhat on a personal level without overstepping the boundaries. What will this vacation mean to them? What are their interests? Do they like to relax, or do they enjoy sight-seeing? What kind of budget do they have? What is their preferred mode of travel? You will also need an in-depth knowledge about the destination.  For example, what will the weather be like? What will the client need to pack to wear? Will they need a passport? Are there customs, culture or language barriers that may apply? Your job is to plan a vacation that suits everyone’s needs, whether a couple planning a honeymoon or a family going to Disneyworld.

Would you like to work for a travel agency or work from home? The choice is yours. If you can find a reputable agency that is hiring, a career diploma in travel and tourism will help you get the job. If you prefer to be your own boss, you should consider working from home, as most vacation reservations are made online. Or, you may consider getting your own storefront location to set up shop. Most states do not require travel agents to hold a license, however, some states will require that you register, pay their fee, and receive a registration number to display in your business. Proper insurance is a necessity to protect yourself, as well.

Do you like to travel yourself? Some of the perks to pursuing a career as a travel agent will be most beneficial to you, too. You can often receive discounts on flights, rental cars, hotels and activities. And, what better way to recommend a vacation than to go there yourself? Some travel agencies insist that their employees travel to vacation destinations, so they can truly advise their clients properly. Sound like fun?

So, is a career in travel and tourism for you? A good travel agent must be personable and love working with people in hopes of fulfilling their dream vacations. You will need to be exceptionally well-organized, very detail oriented and a quick problem-solver. Without a doubt, you will need to work well under pressure. Excellent computer skills are a must.

If you are interested in this career field, please see our choices for the best Online Schools for Travel and Tourism programs.