Travel Agent Career Working Environment

The daily work of travel agents typically entails spending most of the day behind a desk, in front of a computer, making reservations and consulting with clients. Agents can work especially long hours during popular vacation times, and self-employed agents are more prone to this than agents who work for agencies (8 of 10) or membership organizations. However, the relatively new use of computers in this business makes it easy to get work that does not involve direct client relations done at home.

Travel Agent Career Description

Travel agents are responsible for taking the stress out of travel. They find travelers the best rate possible for airfare, accommodations and attractions. They weigh the needs of the traveler and determine the ideal package for a vacation or business trip, and ensure that that trip runs smoothly. Additionally, companies such as those that run cruise lines or entertainment parks use travel agents to promote new features or packages.

Travel Agent Career Details

Travel agents must consider everything that can go wrong during a trip and guarantee that it will not happen. This means arranging for passports and visas, advising on currency exchange rates and warning about customs regulations. But the work of travel agents is not always about worrying. They also get to recommend the best and most exciting places to visit to their clients, and in many cases, make these recommendations based on personal visits. Because companies want travel agents to recommend their features, they often foot all or part of the bill for an agent to visit a site.

Travel Agent Career Specializations

The most common specialization for a travel agent is the type of trip involved and the destination. Because it is virtually impossible for an agent to visit every place that any traveler would feasibly want to go, many focus on the type of trip that they are interested in. Therefore, an agent may specialize in safaris in Africa, or guided bus tours through Europe, for example. The Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA) offers specialist programs that teach agents detailed information about a certain geographic region, including local customs and history, so that the agents can pass this background on to their clients. Some agents work at agencies geared toward trips for young people, and others may cater to those of retirement age. Either way, an agent must know his or her clientele to best determine how they will have the most enjoyable trip possible.

Programs to Consider:

Keiser University Campus
Locations:
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Fort Myers, FL
Programs available:
CDI College
Locations:
  • Edmonton, AB
  • Calgary, AB

Travel Agent Career Working Environment

The daily work of travel agents typically entails spending most of the day behind a desk, in front of a computer, making reservations and consulting with clients. Agents can work especially long hours during popular vacation times, and self-employed agents are more prone to this than agents who work for agencies (8 of 10) or membership organizations. However, the relatively new use of computers in this business makes it easy to get work that does not involve direct client relations done at home.

Travel Agent Career Required Training

As in most careers, a high school diploma is typically the minimum requirement for breaking into the field. But most agencies are increasingly recommending more education for their agents. In some cases, this could mean a six- to 12-week training course at a vocational school (many of which are available in the evenings and on weekends). Travel agent classes are also offered at many two- and four-year colleges and universities, and some institutions offer bachelor's and master's degrees in travel and tourism. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) offers a course that prepares prospective agents for work in the field. The most important skills taught in these courses involve computer work-necessary for understanding airline reservations systems, a large part of the job. And finally, an agent must have a passion for travel and the areas in which they specialize. This means that they must have spent significant time traveling themselves, and be confident in their ability to navigate through any travel situation.

Travel Agent Career Coursework

A college education is recommended for agents not necessarily to give them a degree in a travel-related field, but rather to ensure a solid background in subjects like computer science, geography, communication, foreign languages and world history. Therefore, someone interested in breaking into this career should ensure that such courses are recorded on their transcript.

Travel Agent Career Future Job Outlook

This career field is growing more slowly than many other fields, in part because travel accommodations are becoming easier to find as more people embrace the internet as a source of bargains and travel packages. However, this will be at least somewhat counter-balanced by increasing household incomes and business travel. Large-scale economic factors have a direct effect on the travel industry.

Travel Agent Salary

The median annual earnings for a travel agent was $31,870 in 2011. An agent's earnings are contingent on several factors, including location, specialization and the size of the agency they work for, if they work for one at all. The benefits of working for an agency include "familiarization" trips at no cost to the agent, and reduced rates on personal travel.

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