How Do You Become a Travel Agent?

Before you look at how to become a travel agent, you might want to learn more about what travel agents do every day. With hundreds of websites that offer tourists the chance to book hotel rooms, find cheap flights and even rent cars online, you might think that the world no longer needs travel agents. These agents often help groups make the arrangements they need and provide customers with useful itineraries that they can use on their trips. Travel agents handle other tasks too.

Learn More About Travel Agent Jobs

You need to think about the duties and tasks that travel agents do on the job. These duties can range from working with tourists over the phone or online to make travel arrangements to actually traveling for work. Many hotels and resorts offer cheap or free rooms that let travel agents explore the amenities available at those destinations, which will help them better sell those destinations to their customers. You’ll also need to do research to stay up to date on potentially dangerous parts of the world and any changes made to popular tourist attractions.

Look at the Types Available

Not all agents are exactly the same, which is why you should look at the types of agents before deciding to become a travel agent. Corporate agents are those who make arrangements for business travelers and large companies. They use corporate discounts and coupons to book hotel rooms and rental cars. A vacation agent, also known as a leisure agent, is someone who works with individual customers and helps them make all the arrangements and bookings they need for an upcoming trip. Some travel agents prefer the freedom that comes from working at home.

Working from Home vs. Agency Jobs

One important decision that you need to make is whether you want to work for a traditional office or from home. There are now a number of travel agencies that let agents work from the comfort of their own homes. You log into the system each morning to start your shift, chat with customers over the phone and over the Internet, make the arrangements necessary and log off at the end of your shift. Many home agencies do not provide workers with benefits and pay them a rate based on the number of packages they sell or arrangements they make. Traditional travel agencies typically provide workers with benefits like paid time off and offer an hourly salary.

Become Certified

To become a travel agent, you need to apply for certification from a licensing agency or major corporation. Those who work for AAA, both from home and in AAA offices, must have AAA certification. According to the company’s official Travel Agent Training Center, agents must go through extensive online training that combines videos, tests and other assignments with independent study. The amount of time it takes to complete a training program and obtain certification can range from around six months to more than a year.

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Whether you want to work from home, create your own travel agency or work for an established agency, you must know the duties of the job and have certification. AAA is just one of the organizations that offers certification for agents. Getting your certification can help you become a travel agent tourists can trust.