• 13 Apr, 2024

Become a travel agent in just a few steps

Become a travel agent in just a few steps

Automated booking systems are common when it comes to vacations, but for excursions that require meticulous preparation and expertise, travel agents are still required. Travel agents often ensure that their clients receive the best value for their money while adding a personalized touch to all aspects of the vacation plan, including activities and expenses. Understanding the steps and requirements needed to be considered for this job could help you get started in your career and increase your chances of finding employment.  

This page describes the four steps to become a travel agent, answers commonly asked questions about this career path, and describes what a travel agent does.  

Travel agents help clients make travel arrangements or explore different travel package options. They may suggest accommodations or destinations, and they can help people arrange a travel itinerary. A travel agent can also book flights, hotels and reservations. Before travel agents can make travel arrangements, it's essential for them to learn about their clients, including a budget, schedule, ideal vacation and preferred travel method. For example, a travel agent who learns a client is afraid of flying may suggest a cruise instead.  

Travel agents may also be asked complicated questions about domestic and international travel, such as assisting customers in comprehending the health and safety regulations that airlines and nations currently follow when it comes to travel. This position frequently serves as a barrier between the travel industry and the customer. In addition, a travel agent's tasks can vary every day depending on the work they do for clients or the agency, however some common duties for this position include:  

  • settling hotel bills for customers  
  • assisting customers in making travel arrangements  
  • When schedules change or client events occur, creating backup travel plans; calculating travel expenses and assisting the client in making financial savings;  
  • advising customers on things to do in the destination region educating customers about necessary travel documentation, such as passports  
  • Speaking with clients about pertinent information, like border crossing procedures  

How to become a travel agent  

1 Expand your understanding of the tourism business  

Travel destinations and priorities for your clients' itineraries are subject to change, so it's helpful to stay up to date on the latest advancements in the travel industry. Maintaining your enrollment in classes created especially to give you a deeper grasp of the tourist sector may also be beneficial.  

The Travel Institute provides geography and itinerary planning courses in addition to the TAP exam to give you the skills you need to create experiences that your clients will remember. Should you intend to specialize in a particular field of travel, these courses may be beneficial.  

2 Examine budgeting and planning strategies.  

It's important to look into discounts on hotels, cruises, flights, and activities since, as a travel agent, your clients rely on you to help them save as much money as possible when they travel. Inquire about any special offers or packages these businesses may have for particular travel dates by giving them a call or sending them an email.  

If you are employed by an agency, you might be given on-the-job training that teaches you how to identify the greatest offers for your clients and book the most valuable bookings.  

3  Develop your interpersonal skills  

A travel agent's ability to communicate with people—by phone, email, or in-person meetings—is a key component of their success. Gaining and keeping devoted clients can be facilitated by having strong interpersonal and communication skills, particularly if you intend to operate independently rather than for a travel agency.  

4 Obtain formal instruction  

The majority of travel agencies demand a minimum of a high school degree, but attending college can help you learn vital information about international relations, tourism, best business practices, international affairs, travel insurance, strategy, financing, and marketing. Community colleges provide courses that can be used to obtain an associate's degree in tourism or travel. In addition, if you want to work as an independent contractor, you can enroll in a college or university and earn a bachelor's degree in business management.  

Obtaining a certification as a travel agent is another option you have to demonstrate your knowledge to clients and prospective employers. One test you can take to demonstrate your abilities and credentials is the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) exam, which is provided by The Travel Institute. You can obtain more advanced qualifications, such becoming a Certified Travel Associate (CTA), by taking further exams with The Travel Institute or comparable organizations after gaining some experience. Additional accreditations consist of:  

American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA): The ASTA offers a number of certification programs covering a wide range of subjects, such as project management, legal concerns, geocultural guides, and negotiations.  

Travel agents are able to plan and reserve clients' flights on airlines for both local and international travel thanks to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).  

Through the Travel Industry Designator Service (TIDS), travel agents can book customer holidays with travel suppliers in exchange for a commission.  

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): CLIA assists customers in making travel plans and reservations for cruises abroad.