Here's How To Start A Career As A Travel Agent

In the age of Google, many people may think that travel agents have become unnecessary. But, according to National Geographic, the opposite is true. Now often referred to as travel advisors, travel agents are a great, and often used, resource for people looking to book the best vacation destinations — whether that be an international trip or a romantic getaway. A travel agent is in charge of handling every aspect of travel, from the flights to the hotels and even the restaurant reservations at their client's destination (via How to Become). However, as Forbes reported, a travel agent's job goes far beyond simply booking travel basics.

Many travelers can use an agent to help them find the best possible options for their vacation. A google search of hotels at your destination will offer you hundreds, if not thousands, of results, making it hard to choose the right one for you and your needs. Not only that, an agent has connections, helping you potentially save a ton of money on your trip.

If you find yourself travel savvy and spend your free time researching the best hotels just for fun, you may want to consider doing it as a career. Here's how.

How to become a travel agent

There's a lot more to being a travel agent than making itineraries and researching luxury villas. As an agent, you'll need to be well-versed in less fun items like travel insurance, visas and passports, and even things like political unrest and weather patterns in your client's destination, per Forbes. If you're ready to tackle the challenging landscape of travel as your career, there are a few things you'll need before taking the plunge. 

While, as How to Become noted, there is no formal training or education needed to become a travel agent, college students may want to choose to study tourism, a degree offered at many different colleges and universities. Depending on your state, you may also need to be licensed as a travel agent. Still, most agents can start working right after high school — assuming you can find a job.

Many agents just starting out may want to seek out a job at an established travel agency. By doing this, you will learn the ins and outs of travel and become well-versed in the computer programs agents often use. You may also be able to secure good connections for future clients. Once you have a few years of experience under your belt, you have the option to open your own agency.

What to expect from being a travel agent

Being a travel agent can be stressful. According to Forbes, travel agents will often be dealing with traveling emergencies, whether that means a tropical storm at your clients' romantic honeymoon destination or a labor strike on the airline your travelers are using to fly internationally to Rome. You'll need to be readily available to remedy any situation that may arise and help your clients have a smooth trip, regardless of the circumstances. But, besides the emergency aspect, being a travel agent also has a lot of perks.

Cosmopolitan said travel agents aren't just sitting in stuffy cubicles daydreaming about the trips they book. Instead, they are taking them. Many hotels will host agents for free to ensure they recommend them to their clients, and the better you get at your job, the more travel you'll get to do.

But, the job isn't all luxury travel and fun weekend trips. As a travel agent, you will have to work super hard if you want to make any money. Most agents work on commission, meaning the harder you work, the more money you will earn. Once you have established yourself as a highly sought-after travel agent, the job may get more stressful but also a lot more fun.