How to Work at Home as a Travel Agent
If you are interested in helping people make travel arrangements and would like to be your own boss, you may be interested in learning how to work at home as a travel agent. Of the more than 100,000 travel agents nationwide, about two-thirds work for travel agencies and only ten to fifteen percent worked for themselves. The rest work for visitor’s bureaus, tour operators, reservation offices, etc. As a travel agent working from home, you may find that you have better opportunities if you specialize in specific destinations, luxury travel, or particular types of travelers like seniors or special interest groups. Earnings for travel agents vary anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 per year with the average being somewhere around $30,000.
Travel agents don’t need to have a Bachelor’s degree in order to be qualified to work in the industry; however, a high school diploma is required and some sort of postsecondary training is beneficial. You might consider taking some classes at a vocational school or junior college in order to learn more about the travel industry and how to run a successful business. Also, if you have traveled extensively in the past, you will find the knowledge you gained about other countries invaluable as a travel agent. Additionally, if you have a background in computer science, geography, world history, foreign languages, or communication, you will find it to be helpful to you when working as a travel agent.
Much of the training you will get as a travel agent is on the job, and you will definitely need to learn how to effectively use reservation systems. You might also consider becoming an intern or assistant to a successful travel agent who can mentor you and teach you what you need to know about the business. Once you become a travel agent, you want to make sure to continue your education and training so that you have the most up-to-date information and can become an expert in your field. You might even consider shooting for one of the official designations you can get from The National Business Travel Association: “Corporate Travel Expert,” “Certified Corporate Travel Executive,” and “Global Leadership Professional.” The Travel Institute also offers courses that will allow you to earn your “Certified Travel Counselor” designation.
Working at Home
As a travel agent who works from home, you have numerous responsibilities. You have to sort through a great deal of information about tours, transportation, and accommodations in order to make the best possible travel arrangements for your clients. Consequently, you need a place where you can work without interruption, preferably a room you can turn into an office. You also will need a computer with Internet access. If you can afford a separate business line and fax machine, these will be helpful as well. Make sure you order business cards as well as any other promotional materials your budget will allow. Since, as a travel agent, you will spend a great deal of time on the phone speaking with clients and making travel arrangements, you need to make sure that you are not interrupted by pets, children, or any other distractions you might encounter when running a business from home. You also need to realize that your job may put you under a great deal of pressure in peak travel seasons like the summer or when there are problems with the arrangements and that you will often have to work evenings and weekends in order to provide your clients with the service they expect and deserve.