How to Become a Travel Agent

How to Become a Travel Agent: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a travel agent, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a travel agent:


• You have a keen interest in travel

• You are interested in earning a commission from sales

• You enjoy researching travel information, such as vacation packages and destinations

• You enjoy describing and sell travel services and products

• You have excellent interpersonal and communication skills

• You have strong sales and customer service abilities

• You are self-confident and self-motivated

• You are knowledgeable in travel details such as regulations, and health risks and requirements


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a travel agent. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Educational Requirements for Becoming a Travel Agent

Many employers of travel agents prefer candidates who have taken post-secondary classes related to the travel industry, although some may hire candidates with only a high school diploma and offer them on-the-job training.


Many community colleges, vocational schools, and industry associations offer technical training or continuing education classes in professional travel planning. Many colleges and universities also offer degree or diploma programs in Travel and Tourism.


Coursework related to travel and tourism typically focuses on developing skills that are specific to a career in the travel industry, such as using reservations systems, knowledge regarding international travel regulations, knowledge of worldwide geography, and skills in sales and marketing. 




Travel Agent Job Description

Travel agents advertise, promote and sell a wide variety of travel services to the public on behalf of travel service suppliers. They must advise their clients regarding travel options and tour packages. Travel agents also make reservations, prepare tickets and make bookings for clients.



Travel Agent Job Duties

• Describe and sell travel services and products

• Attend company meetings and events where required, which may fall outside of regular office hours

• Develop and maintain contact lists

• Help customers to find a suitable package holiday or to plan independent travel

• Access information regarding costs, routes and schedules from Internet reservation systems and sites

• Make reservations over the Internet or telephone

• Issue any required documentation, such as travel itineraries, passports, travel insurance policies and travel tickets

• Maintain clean and accurate records of reservations using various travel industry software 

• Prepare invoices and issue them to clients

• Attend to cancelations and schedule changes

• Provide assistance to other team members’ accounts when they are away from the office



Who Creates Jobs for Travel Agents

Travel agents are hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Small and large retail travel agencies

• Wholesale tour companies

• Business travel management companies

• Transportation and tourism companies

• Hotel and resort chains

• Self-employment




Experience Needed to Become a Travel Agent

Some employers may hire candidates with no experience and simply offer them on-the-job training, although many employers prefer to hire candidates for travel agent jobs that either have industry experience, or experience in other areas that can be applied to a career as a travel agent.


Experience that can be applied to a career as a travel agent may include:


• Completed travel related courses or programs at the post-secondary level

• Sales experience

• Travel experience

• Fluency in a second language

• Experience working in an office environment 



Personal Traits Needed to Become a Travel Agent

In order to enjoy your career as a travel agent, and maintain a positive attitude towards your work, you need a certain set of personality traits. These personal traits will also help encourage customers to return and use the services of the travel agent again. Such traits include:


• Enjoy dealing with all types of people

• Patient and pleasant when working with others

• Willing to serve customers quickly and efficiently

• Enjoy promoting travel products

• You are excited by the idea of earning commissions on sales

• Confidence and initiative

• Share interests with the agency of employment, such as ecotourism



Skills Needed to Become a Travel Agent

In order to become effective in a career as a travel agent, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and as a result, you will find them listed as ‘desired skills’ on many travel agent job postings.


• Excellent sales and customer service skills

• Good telephone manners

• Able to effectively leverage relationships to grow client base

• Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and certain travel software packages

• Knowledgeable in travel details such as regulations, duty free allowances, and health risks and requirements

• Excellent job task planning and organizational skills

• Knowledge of worldwide geography

• Fluency in a second or third language

• May require proficiency working the Apollo GDS system

• Able to listen to the travel needs and wants of clients



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Careers Similar to Travel Agent

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Travel Agent, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Insurance Agent

Outdoor Adventure Guide


Sales Representative

Tourism Promoter



Travel Agent Career Information: References

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a travel agent.


Occupations in Alberta:Travel Counsellor.” (March 29, 2015). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 15, 2020.

Sales:Travel Agents.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 15, 2020.

Explore Careers:Travel Agent.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved January 15, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Travel Agent

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Travel Agent can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Travel Agent: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a travel agent. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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