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How Can I Become a Travel Agent?

Travel agents should be familiar with popular cruise lines and destinations.
Travel agents must learn how to coordinate various types of travel seamlessly.
Some travel agents specialize in luxury vacations to Bora Bora and other remote islands in the South Pacific.
Travel agents have to know how to find deals on hotel rooms for clients.
Travel agents are often encouraged to travel to new places every year.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
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  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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Becoming a travel agent is a great way to see the world, interact with a wide variety of people, and learn a great deal about coordinating travel via planes, trains, and automobiles. The job comes with many advantages, including free or heavily discounted travel to exotic locations all over the world. Travel agents who work for large firms are often encouraged to travel to new and interesting locations every year so that they can better communicate with clients. People who love customer service and travel may want to consider becoming travel agents. It is also a wonderful way to share your love for adventure and new locales with other people.

Learning the job usually starts with working in a travel agency office. Most offices require a high school diploma and an enthusiasm for travel. Some agencies may prefer people with advanced degrees in history, business, communications, or public relations. Travel experience is helpful, although not typically required. The American Society of Travel Agents offers correspondence courses and special trips aimed at people interested in joining the field. This type of travel agent certification is not obligatory, but it will supplement your job application.

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Because of the complex computer systems travel agents interact with, a demonstrated knowledge of computers is a strong benefit on a job application. Some vocational schools and junior colleges offer special courses in the type of software used at travel agencies, and present students with a certificate of completion if they successfully finish the course. Becoming a travel agent requires a growing number of computer skills from speedy typing to database management.

Some travel agencies specialize in a particular type of travel such as ecotourism, ocean cruises, or travel to a specific region. If you would like to work for a specialized agency, be prepared to show extensive knowledge of that area of the travel industry. Knowledge of a foreign language and strong geography skills are also very useful for travel agents, who may find themselves negotiating with people in other nations. Chinese, French, English, and Spanish are all good languages to study.

It is also important to be able to think quickly and reconcile information from a large number of sources. A big part of the hassle in modern traveling is found in coordinating various methods of transportation, hotel stays, and the other sundries of travel. If you are able to work in a fast paced environment with a lot of sensory input, becoming a travel agent might be a good career choice for you. Be prepared to spend a great deal of time on the phone, scrutinizing documents, and organizing itineraries for your clients. Designing the trip of a lifetime for a client can result in referrals and repeat business, and it is important to make sure that every customer counts with you.

If you are interesting in becoming a travel agent on your own, many organizations offer courses to assist you in starting up your own business. Be aware that limited experience in the travel industry may hinder you, and you may want to consider working for another agency on commission for a year or so until you are ready to strike out on your own.

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Discuss this Article

anon934523
Post 18

As we all know, with modern technology being a travel agent is a more realistic profession than ever and presents new opportunities for people to earn. I also suggest to become a travel agent you have a vast knowledge about various travel destinations and about the travel industry in order to serve your clients very well.

anon280316
Post 16

I completed MTM (MA in Tourism Management) with 63.91 percent of marks from IGNOU in 2008. My age is 40 years now. I am an ex-sergeant in the Indian Air Force. I want to be a travel agent. I hail from Nadia district of west Bengal. What can I do?

anon249907
Post 14

I'm a travel agent and I love it. It's a great job.

anon171997
Post 12

How much money exactly would I get?

anon82344
Post 8

Travel agent discounts are not as common as they used to be. However, if you are serious about being a travel agent and can show to suppliers you are not just in it for discounts, you can enjoy trips to learn more about different suppliers and destinations.

chorst
Post 7

I want to know if being a travel agent gives you worthwhile discounted prices--particularly if you are starting your own agency?

bigmetal
Post 2

do you really get that much discounted travel as a travel agent? would you have to be at the top of your game, or own your own travel agency to get free or discounted prices? i'm sure there are a lot of agents who work for bigger travel agencies who don't get a whole lot of swag! it sounds like it would be a fun job though!

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