Have you ever thought about what it takes to become a travel agent? Do you like traveling? Do you know how to (or would you like to learn to) find great deals on vacation or travel destinations?
Or, are you simply looking to make money from home? Maybe it’s both: Maybe you want to make money from home and you love to travel. Or you want to earn money to travel.
Whatever the case, you may want to know that you can have a career as a travel agent. What’s more, you can navigate that career and work from home. You can get the training you need, the clients to serve and more, all from the comforts of your home office.
Want to learn more? Read on to find out how to become a travel agent and work from home.
How to Become a Work at Home Travel Agent
There are only a few steps you need to take to become a travel agent and work from home doing your job. The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to work independently or through a host agency.
Working Independently as a Travel Agent
If you work independently as a travel agent, you’ll need to choose a name for your business. You’ll also want to consider starting a blog or website.
Your blog will help people find you and your services. Luckily, it’s easy to start a blog in just 10 minutes. Having your own blog and/or website can be an important factor if you choose to start your own travel agent business.
Know that if you choose this route, you’ll be responsible for finding clients, advertising, etc. You’ll also be responsible for forming relationships with different travel companies such as cruise lines.
There can be a lot of work that goes into starting your own travel agent business. However, there is another potentially less tedious way to work from home as a travel agent.
Working as a Travel Agent for a Host Agency
Another option you have is to work as a travel agent for a host agency. While these jobs are typically classified as independent contractor positions (meaning you’re self-employed) they do have perks.
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First of all, most travel agent positions with host agencies come with training. Note that you may have to pay for this training.
Second, working with a host agency can allow for more support. You typically have a support team you can contact as you learn and work with clients.
If you have very little travel experience or just want to increase your knowledge, or if you like the idea of having a support team, working for a host agency may be right for you.
All host agencies work a bit differently. For instance, CRUISESinc.com helps you sell cruises to clients.
This article on How to Find the Best Host Travel Agency fromHost Agency Reviews might help you too. When researching host travel agencies, be sure to check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) information as well.
Note that even with most host agencies, you still technically work as an independent contractor. This means you will be directly responsible for keeping track of your income and expenses for tax purposes.
Any time you work a job as an independent contractor, it’s a good idea to set aside a percentage of your income for paying taxes with.
Now you’ve decided whether you want to work independently or for a host agency. Your next step is to set up a home office space.
Set Up a Home Office Space
You’ll want to have a home office space to work from home as a travel agent. Your office space need only to consist of a few basic items:
- Home computer with internet access
- Desk or table to hold your computer
- Headset for your computer so you can speak with clients
- A phone line
- A home printer
If you have these things in your home office space, you’re all set to work as a travel agent from home as far as supplies go.
Get Your Training
In order to work from home as a travel agent, you’ll need to get some training. The best places to find training are probably from host travel agencies that hire work from home travel agents.
As I mentioned earlier, a host agency will help you with all of the training you need to become a travel agent. Each host agency has specific training you can complete to help you be more proficient at your job.
If you decide you don’t want to work with a host agency, you’ll need to find and complete training on your own. Some people decide to go to college to be a travel agent.
An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in tourism could help you with this. However, a degree is not necessary to become a travel agent. This leads to our next question: Do you need a license to sell travel?
Do I Need to Have a License to Sell Travel?
In most states, there are no licensure requirements for becoming a travel agent. Note that in some U.S. states, you do have to register before you work as a travel agent. Those states include:
- Washington state
The laws for each of those states differ, so check with their respective governments to learn more. If you live in one of those states or want to sell travel plans to residents of those states, you’ll need to be registered.
If you work with a host agency, your support team will take care of handling your registration or tell you how to do that.
What Does a Work From Home Travel Agent do?
You might be wondering exactly what you would do as a work from home travel agent. Here are some of the responsibilities of working from home as a travel agent.
Researching, Planning and Booking Travel Events
Of course, one of the main responsibilities of a travel agent is to book vacations for people. In order to do this, you’ll need to start by doing some research.
Each client’s vacation needs will be different, so you’ll need to research based on what they’re looking for. You’ll need to find the best deals on hotels, activities and more.
If you work for a host agency, this will be easier as they’ll take care of having the deals readily available for you.
As a travel agent, you may find yourself doing some event coordination. For instance, if your client is planning a destination wedding, you’ll need to help with travel plans.
You may also need to help with booking a venue for the wedding and more. Or, if you’re planning an event such as a birthday party, you may need to coordinate activities and other aspects of the party.
Again, if you work for a host agency you will have help in doing this for clients.
The main responsibility of a travel agent is to provide great customer service. You need to have a heart for helping people and the diligence to research their travel options.
If you have this level of care in your heart, you can learn the rest. Next, let’s talk about how much money a travel agent can make.
How Much Does a Travel Agent Get Paid?
The money a travel agent earns can vary. According to the latest Bureau of Labor and Statistics data, travel agents make a median annual wage of $36,990 (as of May 2017).
The entire wage earnings from 2017 span from $21,350 average for those in the bottom 10% of earners to $62,320 average for those in the top 10% of earners.
Note that the above-referenced numbers are average wages. That doesn’t necessarily mean your income as a travel agent will fit within these parameters.
Your income working as a travel agent will vary based on a number of factors. Some of those factors include whether you work independently or with a host agency, how many hours you work and more.
What are the Perks of Working as a Travel Agent?
You might be wondering what some of the other perks of being a travel agent are. Here are some perks to keep in mind.
First Notice of Great Deals
One of the main perks of working as a travel agent is that you often get first notice of great travel deals. This is a phenomenal perk if you like to travel a lot.
By getting advance notice of travel deals, you can book your own vacation before trips are sold out. In addition, you can let clients know about these types of travel deals too.
Another benefit: you can be among the first to learn about new travel opportunities such as new cruise themes.
Another perk of working as a travel agent comes in the form of “familiarization trips”. Some hotels, cruises and other getaway venues offer these types of trips to travel agents.
The reason they offer familiarization trips is because they figure it’s a lot more enticing to sell a getaway if you’ve experienced the getaway yourself.
You can tell clients first hand what you enjoyed about a cruise or trip. And you can give them tips on sights and experiences to see and to avoid. Familiarization trips often come at low, next-to-nothing prices for travel agents.
Deep Discounts on Travel
A third perk of working as a travel agent is that you often qualify for deep discounts on travel excursions in general. Travel destination venues tend to offer you great deals on travel, just as a benefit of being an agent.
It’s one of the ways they help spread the word about their travel destination features. Resorts, cruise lines and other companies target market to travel agents.
And they often offer to let them come and experience the destination at deeply discounted prices. You can take advantage of these discounts when planning you and/or your family’s own travel trips.
Tax Deductions for Travel
And a fourth benefit or perk of being a travel agent is that you may be able to deduct some of your own travel expenses from your income tax statement. Since travel trips help you to do your job more effectively, you may be able to count a portion of them as work expenses.
Note that all tax filing situations are different. This means you may or may not be able to deduct travel expenses on your taxes. See a trusted tax advisor for more information on this.
So, as you can see, there are many benefits to being a travel agent. Working from home as a travel agent is one of many legit ways you can make money from home.
Working from home as a travel agent isn’t for everyone. However, it might be for you. If you love to travel, love learning about travel and like helping people, this might be the perfect side hustle for you.
Along with getting to learn about different types of travel, you can get the insider scoop on travel opportunities for your own family. You can have first shot at great travel deals.
In addition, you can learn more about new travel destinations. Maybe that’s a new around-the-world cruise or a new resort on your favorite island.
Or maybe it’s insider information on the newest spa resort in your favorite vacation destination state. Whatever the case, as a travel agent you can be among the first line to learn about new and exciting vacation opportunities.
You can use this information to serve other travelers and to serve yourself and your family.
What do you think? Are you interested in a job as a travel agent that works from home? If so, what about it appeals to you?
Or, have you worked in the past as a travel agent? If so, what did you like about it? What didn’t you like? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section on our Facebook page.