Travel agents work as sales people for all things related to travel. Some people and companies will pay a premium to have a travel agent make all their travel arrangements for them. Travel agents book hotel rooms, flights, trains, rental cars, and cruises. They also procure tickets to events, plan itineraries, and provide advice about the client's destination, as well as help clients obtain visas for their visits, if necessary.
Travel agents work in offices, during the day, but some work remotely. While many travel agents work for larger travel companies, about one in eight are self-employed. Related positions include travel clerk and travel agency manager.
Travel Agent Job Education Requirements
To become a travel agent, you really only need a high school diploma, good customer service skills, a high attention to detail, and the ability to understand currency conversions, visa rules, and other necessary information for visiting different countries, climates, and regions.
Travel Agent Job Market
The travel agent job market is shrinking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is expected to decline by 12 percent until 2022, resulting in a loss of almost 9,000 travel agent jobs. With the ease of the Internet and so many budget booking sites, most people prefer to research and book trips themselves.
However, there is still a market for travel agents who can navigate the visa system efficiently for more exotic travel, and who can offer customized travel experiences for people planning a special occasion like a destination wedding. Adventure travel, volunteer travel, and travel for adoption may also call for hiring a travel agent.
Travel Agent Job Salary Information
The median salary for travel agent jobs in the United States is $34,600 but the range is wide, and affected greatly by commissions. Some travel agents earn less than $20,000 per year while others earned nearly $60,000.