Page updated 5/16/2015
Job duties may include coordinating Travel Agents for bands, Travel Agent management, vacation planning, and travel planning for company events.
Travel agents help travelers by sorting through vast amounts of information to find the best possible travel arrangements. In addition, resorts and specialty travel groups use travel agents to promote travel packages to their clients.
Travel agents also may visit destinations to get firsthand experience so that they can make recommendations to clients or colleagues. They may visit hotels, resorts, and restaurants to evaluate the comfort, cleanliness, and quality of the establishment. However, most of their time is spent talking with clients, promoting tours, and contacting airlines and hotels to make travel arrangements. Travel agents use a reservation system called a Global Distribution System (GDS) to access travel information and make reservations with travel suppliers such as airlines or hotels.
Travel agents increasingly are focusing on a specific type of travel, such as adventure tours. Some may cater to a specific group of people, such as senior citizens or single people. Other travel agents primarily make corporate travel arrangements for employee business travel. Some work for tour operators and are responsible for selling the company’s tours and services.
A high school diploma typically is required for someone to become a travel agent. However, many employers prefer additional formal training as well. Good communication and computer skills are essential.
Employers may prefer candidates who have taken classes related to the travel industry. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and industry associations offer technical training or continuing education classes in professional travel planning. Classes usually focus on reservations systems, regulations regarding international travel, and marketing. In addition, a few colleges offer degrees in travel and tourism.
Employers in the travel industry always provide some on-the-job training on the computer systems used in the industry. For example, a travel agent could be trained to work with a reservation system used by several airlines.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some associations offer certifications that may help travel agents once they are on the job. The Travel Institute, for example, provides training and professional development opportunities for experienced travel agents. Examinations for different levels of certification are offered, depending on a travel agent’s experience. Certification for airlines or cruise lines is available from associations such as the International Airline Transport Association’s Training and Development Institute and the Cruise Lines International Association.
Some states require agents to have a business license to sell travel services. Requirements among states vary greatly. Contact individual state licensing agencies for more information.
Some agencies prefer travel agents with firsthand experience visiting a country. These agencies especially prefer travel agents who specialize in specific destinations or particular types of travelers, such as groups with a special interest or corporate travelers.
The median annual wage for travel agents was $34,600
in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half
the workers in an occupation earned more than that
amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent
earned less than $19,930, and the top 10 percent earned
more than $57,400. These wage data include money earned
Most travel agents work full time. Some work longer hours during peak travel times or when they must accommodate customers’ schedule changes and last-minute needs.
Feel free to refine your job search by typing in specific job names into the what line item on the jobs board listings page. Job duties may include coordinating Travel Agents for bands, Travel Agent management, vacation planning, and travel planning for company events.