All You Need To Know About A Travel Agent Career

You consider becoming a travel agent but want to get additional information before making your final career choice?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about working as a travel agent in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much money you can make as a travel agent, but you will also get lots of information on job satisfaction, prospects, future outlook, working hours, duties, educational requirements and much more.

You will also find an FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about being a travel agent for you.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a travel agent or rather want to go for a different career instead.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a Travel Agent do?

Travel agents book flights, accommodations, rental cars and other things for clients so that they don’t have to do it themselves and can rather enjoy nice travels without having to worry about all the organizational work that comes along with it.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Travel Agent

  • Booking flights for customers
  • Booking accommodations for clients
  • Booking rental cars
  • Offering insurance products to clients
  • Helping people with passport issues
  • Dealing with customer inquiries and complains
  • Making sure that clients get everything they need to make their travels awesome
  • Offering advice to clients regarding travel destinations and what to expect
  • Giving cultural information on travel destinations and what mistakes to avoid
  • Promoting their travel business

What a Typical Day of a Travel Agent looks like?

Travel agents usually get to work between 8 and 10 a.m.

After checking their mails and answering the most important and urgent ones, travel agents structure their workday and do some organizational work.

They also make sure that their travel agency looks as nice as possible so that clients feel comfortable inside and are more likely to book a vacation.

After doing this kind of administrative work, travel agents try to sell flights, accommodations, rental cars and many other things to clients.

The more they sell, the higher their salary since travel agents often work commission-based and get a cut from every sale.

Thus, your income as a travel agent will vary quite a lot and you should be fine with dealing with huge income swings over time.

After working in this client-oriented style for many hours, most travel agents finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Travel Agent Salary 2022

Travel Agent salary brackets 2022

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $83,000> $41.47
Top 25 %$62,000 – $67,000$30.92 – $33.46
Bottom 25 %$37,000 – $42,000$18.39 – $20.88
Bottom 10 %$28,000 – $33,000$13.93 – $16.48
Range$28,000 – $89,000$13.93 – $44.45
Average (Mean)$46,000$22.96
Median$44,000$22.49

Travel Agent salary 2022 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$28,000 – $37,000$13.93 – $18.42
Junior$34,000 – $45,000$16.89 – $22.41
Professional$43,000 – $52,000$21.38 – $25.95
Senior Professional$49,000 – $57,000$24.47 – $28.48
Expert$56,000 – $74,000$27.93 – $36.96
Top Expert$72,000 – $89,000$35.89 – $44.45

Travel Agent salary by state 2022 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$44,200$22.09
Alaska$46,800$23.37
Arizona$47,300$23.63
Arkansas$43,900$21.94
California$56,100$28.02
Colorado$48,800$24.38
Connecticut$49,700$24.83
Delaware$47,900$23.92
District of Columbia$50,600$25.27
Florida$52,200$26.09
Georgia$48,100$24.03
Guam$46,300$23.12
Hawaii$51,800$25.88
Idaho$47,200$23.57
Illinois$45,900$22.94
Indiana$48,100$24.03
Iowa$47,800$23.87
Kansas$45,900$22.93
Kentucky$47,800$23.88
Louisiana$48,400$24.19
Maine$46,500$23.22
Maryland$49,700$24.83
Massachusetts$51,300$25.64
Michigan$46,200$23.08
Minnesota$45,900$22.93
Mississippi$43,200$21.59
Missouri$42,700$21.34
Montana$45,600$22.79
Nebraska$47,800$23.86
Nevada$46,500$23.25
New Hampshire$48,100$24.03
New Jersey$52,300$26.14
New Mexico$43,800$21.89
New York$57,200$28.57
North Carolina$48,300$24.13
North Dakota$46,100$23.04
Ohio$49,300$24.62
Oklahoma$47,200$23.58
Oregon$48,100$24.03
Pennsylvania$50,800$25.38
Rhode Island$48,600$24.29
South Carolina$49,500$24.73
South Dakota$46,200$23.08
Tennessee$47,800$23.78
Texas$49,100$24.54
Utah$46,700$23.32
Vermont$49,400$24.68
Virginia$46,300$23.13
Washington$51,100$25.54
West Virginia$47,600$23.79
Wisconsin$46,800$23.38
Wyoming$44,700$22.32

Job Security of Travel Agents

Travel agents have pretty poor job security since educational barriers to work in the travel industry are pretty low and almost everyone can do this job.

Consequently, you can never be sure regarding how long you will be able to keep your job and will therefore often have to worry about getting laid off.

Future Outlook of Travel Agents

While current job prospects are pretty poor, future job prospects are even worse for travel agents since an increasing number of people will book their flights and accommodations themselves online without relying on a travel agent anymore.

Consequently, the internet squeezes the middle and many travel agents will no longer be needed in the near future.

Working Hours of Travel Agents

Travel agents usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Thus, they work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will often come home from work early enough to meet up with their favorite people or to spend plenty of time on their hobbies.

Job Satisfaction of Travel Agents

Since travel agents are not able to make good money from what they are doing while they still suffer from high levels of insecurity related to their jobs, many travel agents are not fully happy with their careers and some of them think about quitting their jobs and doing something else.

Promotion Opportunities of Travel Agents

Travel agents have pretty limited promotion opportunities.

While you might get some additional duties and responsibilities over time, you will still do many things over and over again for many years or even decades without getting the chance of being promoted anytime soon and you may get stuck with your career while many of your friends will be able to climb the corporate ladder soon.

Career Levels of Travel Agents

  • Travel agent intern
  • Travel agent apprentice
  • Junior travel agent
  • Senior travel agent
  • Senior travel agent with personnel and/or budget responsibility
  • Manager of a tourist agency
  • Owner of a tourist office

Fields and Types of Travel Agents

  • Travel agents focused on city trips
  • Travel agents specialized in long-distance travel
  • Travel agents managing the travels of business people
  • Travel agents focused on students
  • Travel agents specialized in booking travels for pensioners
  • Travel agents focused on cruises
  • Travel agents specialized in adventure travel
  • Travel agents focused on eco-friendly travel
  • Travel agents focused on party people
  • Travel agents specialized in wedding trips

Educational Requirements for Travel Agents

Travel agents don’t have to get lots of fancy education.

Instead, you can become a travel agent at a rather young age right after getting your high school diploma without having to spend many years on college education as many other people out there have to do for getting their dream jobs.

How to become a Travel Agent

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a travel agent
  2. Apply for an internship at a local travel agency
  3. Make a good impression during your internship
  4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  5. Finish high school with decent grades
  6. Apply for jobs as a travel agent
  7. Master the job interview
  8. Sign your labor contract
  9. Work hard and build a strong personal brand
  10. Open your own travel agency

Character Traits you need as a Travel Agent

  • Patience helps you deal with difficult clients
  • Persistence helps you beat competitors in the long run
  • Ability to deal with critical feedback in a healthy manner
  • You should be client-oriented so that tourists get everything they need
  • You should be open to new things
  • Confidence helps you overcome difficult periods of your travel agent career
  • You should be a good listener
  • You should be friendly and outgoing to sell as many trips as possible
  • You should be reliable

Travel Agent Skills

Hard Skills for Travel Agents

  • Excellent knowledge of foreign countries
  • Knowledge of many different cultures
  • Expertise when it comes to safety issues in certain locations
  • Ability to find the cheapest prices for your clients
  • Good negotiation skills help as well
  • Good knowledge of the travel industry in general
  • Digital skills help you promote your business
  • Problem-solving skills help you make your clients happy
  • Analytical skills help you grow your travel business in a profitable manner
  • Knowledge of regulatory aspects related to selling trips
  • You should be a good salesperson

Soft Skills for Travel Agents

  • You should have great people skills to calm down difficult customers
  • Ability to deal with drawbacks in a healthy manner
  • Client-focus is crucial for staying successful in the long run
  • Listening skills help you figure out what your clients want
  • Communication skills help you solve problems
  • Empathy for various stakeholders
  • Patience for people who have a bad day
  • Empathy for people who can never be fully happy
  • Willingness to always learn and reinvent yourself

Exit Options for Travel Agents

Travel agents have pretty poor exit options.

While they can often work as tour guides or translators, travel agents often have a pretty hard time finding a job outside the travel industry.

Travel Agent – Similar Careers

  • Tour guide
  • Concierge
  • Hotel clerk
  • Bus driver
  • Translator
  • Hotel animator
  • Recreation guide
  • Coach
  • Ticket agent
  • Flight attendant

Travel Agent Career FAQs

Is working as a travel agent physically demanding?

Working as a travel agent is not physically demanding at all.

You will just work in a classical office environment and will sit in your office chairs while trying to sell flights, accommodations and other things to your customers while other people like plumbers or welders often have to work with their hands in a hard physical manner.

Is working as a travel agent mentally demanding?

Being a travel agent is not mentally demanding.

Even though you will have to use your brain to find the best vacation opportunities for your customers, you still don’t have to stress your brain as much as engineers, programmers or other people who work on complex problems every day.

Is it dangerous to work as a travel agent?

Being a travel agent is not dangerous at all since you will work in a standard office job and will not have to operate heavy machines.

Consequently, your risk of suffering from serious accidents or incidents at work will be rather low compared to garbage collectors or police officers who often lose their lives during their careers.

How long do travel agents stay in their jobs?

Travel agents often stay in their jobs for quite a long time since they are pretty specialized and don’t learn many skills that would be valuable outside the travel industry.

Thus, many travel agents get stuck in this field and have a hard time getting out of it unless they get lots of additional education.

Is it easy for travel agents to find a new job?

Since an increasing number of people book flights, accommodations and other things related to their travels themselves online, the demand for travel agent services has decreased significantly over the past years and many jobs will be lost in this industry in the near future.

Consequently, many travel agents have a hard time finding new jobs.

Is it hard to switch from being a travel agent to another field of work?

Since travel agents are pretty specialized and don’t learn many hard skills during their careers, they also have a hard time finding a job in a different field since they often don’t have the qualifications necessary to do so.

Do travel agents have a high social status?

Travel agents have a pretty low social standing. Even though they can do good for their clients, travel agents are often belittled by the general public and have much lower social status compared to nurse practitioners or judges.

Can you help out your family and friends as a travel agent?

While you can provide your loved ones with travel recommendations, you will still not be able to provide as much value as carpenters or plumbers who can fix and install many things around the home for their family and friends.

Can travel agents work remotely?

Travel agents are not able to work remotely most of the time since they have to consult clients in their travel office in person and while many other people like financial controllers can work from home quite often, you as a travel agent have to spend much more time and money commuting to work and back and will also be far less flexible when it comes to managing your private and professional life at the same time.

Is it easy to find a partner as a travel agent?

Since travel agents are not able to make good money from their jobs and also have to fear losing their jobs quite often, they are not considered good providers and have a hard time competing in the dating market when it comes to finding someone for a long-term relationship.

Do travel agents have to work on weekends?

Travel agents don’t have to work on weekends.

Instead, you can use those days to make nice weekend trips with your loved ones or spend them on your favorite hobbies.

Do travel agents have to work on holidays?

You also don’t have to work on holidays as a travel agent and can use those days to relax in your garden or for meeting up with your favorite people.

Do travel agents have to work at nighttime?

Travel agents don’t have to work at nighttime.

Instead, they often work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will come home from work relatively early most of the time.

Consequently, travel agents have more than enough time to meet up with their friends after work while train drivers or bartenders often have to work during those times.

Do you have to travel as a travel agent?

You don’t have to travel as a travel agent for most of the year.

While consultants and other people who work in demanding jobs in the corporate world will be away for business trips quite often, you as a travel agent can spend your leisure at home with your loved ones.

Are travel agent pensions good?

Due to the rather poor money travel agents are able to make from their active careers, they are often also not able to save enough money for retirement and also their pensions are rather poor.

In turn, many travel agents get into serious financial trouble once they retire since they are no longer able to pay their bills.

Are travel agent salaries going up?

Travel agent salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years since an increasing number of people books flights and accommodations themselves without relying on travel agent services anymore.

Consequently, many travel agents have lost or will lose their jobs in the near future and with decreasing demand for travel agents, wages may drop as well.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a travel agent?

While you can do good for many customers, you will still not have the same high social impact compared to teachers or professors who can really make the world a better place by teaching their students empathy, compassion and other important things to make the world a kinder place in the long run.

How long does it take to become a travel agent?

Since you don’t have to get a fancy degree, you can become a travel agent right after finishing high school and while many of your friends will spend many years and lots of money on college education, you can even start making money at a rather young age.

Is it difficult to become a travel agent?

Thanks to low educational barriers to entry, it is not difficult to become a travel agent at all.

In fact, almost everyone can work in this field and it is much more important that you are client-oriented and motivated to do this kind of work compared to just looking good on paper.

Do you need to be smart to work as a travel agent?

You don’t need to be smart to succeed as a travel agent.

What’s much more important than having a high IQ is that you are friendly and outgoing and also know how to sell things to customers so that you can decent good money without being a genius.

Do travel agents have a good work-life balance?

Travel agents have pretty decent work-life balance since they have free weekends and holidays most of the time and also don’t have to work at nighttime.

Hence, travel agents often come home from work pretty early and have enough time to spend with their loved ones.

Do travel agents have to work many extra hours?

Travel agents don’t work many extra hours.

Instead, they have a pretty rigid schedule and once their shift is over, travel agents don’t work much overtime but rather quit their workday and get back to work the next morning.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a travel agent?

The more experience you get in the travel industry at a rather young age and the better your selling skills, the more likely you will find a job as a travel agent.

Thus, you should work as an intern in a local travel agency while you are still at school to get some basic understanding of the job and to also make some important contacts that could help you find a job in the travel industry later on.

Can travel agents work part-time?

While some travel agents work part-time, the vast majority of travel agents still work full-time since hourly wages are rather low and most people will not be able to make a living from a part-time job in the travel industry and have to work full-time to cover their expenses.

Do travel agents work indoors or outdoors?

Travel agents work indoors all day long and don’t have to worry about adverse weather conditions outdoors as roofers and gardeners have to do on a regular basis.

What does the workplace of a travel agent look like?

Travel agents work in a classical office environment.

Thus, you will work indoors with your computer all day long and you will also help many clients out.

Hence, it is crucial that you have great people skills and that you are also a good salesperson to stay happy with what you are doing in the long run.

Do you have to look good for working as a travel agent?

While you don’t necessarily have to look good for succeeding as a travel agent, your looks can still help you sell more trips to your customers since the better you look, the more eager people will be to buy from you according to many profound scientific studies.

Is a travel agent career beneficial for your private life?

Since you will be able to enjoy free weekends and holidays and also come home from work relatively early, working as a travel agent can be beneficial for your private life since you will be able to spend enough time with your loved ones while investment bankers and other people will barely see their family at all due to absurd working hours.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a travel agent?

You don’t need to get a college degree for becoming a travel agent.

In fact, you don’t have to get any fancy education but can rather start your travel agent career right after finishing high school.

Do you need to be certified to work as a travel agent?

You don’t have to get any fancy certificates for succeeding as a travel agent.

What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you are client-oriented and also have great people skills to be able to solve conflicts in a proper manner and stay in the game in the long run.

How much does it cost to become a travel agent?

Since you don’t have to get a fancy degree, you can become a travel agent at virtually no cost and can even start making money from a rather young age right after getting your high school diploma.

Is being a travel agent a good career?

While you don’t have to work on weekends and holidays and have enough time to spend with your family, you will also not be able to make good money from a travel agent career.

Consequently, if money is really important to you, being a travel agent cannot be considered a good career.

Is it easy to start your own business as a travel agent?

It is relatively hard to start your own travel office since you would have to deal with many regulatory requirements and would also have to do lots of administrative work.

Moreover, you would also be liable for all sorts of issues that might be going on and if you want to start your own business, becoming a digital marketer or influencer would be much easier since you would not have to deal with many things that come along with a physical business.

Can travel agents teach themselves?

Travel agents can learn foreign languages, learn about different cultures and teach themselves all they need to succeed in this industry in the long run without having to spend lots of money on fancy courses as long as they are willing to work hard and spend lots of time to hone their craft.

Do travel agents make good money?

Most travel agents are not able to make good money from what they are doing.

While many travel agents are able to make a basic living, some travel agents barely get along and are not able to afford any luxury.

Is it ever too late to become a travel agent?

Since you don’t have to spend many years on education and also don’t have to work in a hard physical manner, it is never too late to become a travel agent if you are passionate about working in this industry and are also a good salesperson.

Do travel agents have to quit their careers early?

Most travel agents don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t have to work in a hard physical manner and are therefore not at the same high risk of suffering from serious health problems related to their jobs as lumberjacks or other people who have to stress their bodies at work on a daily basis.

What is the hardest thing about working as a travel agent?

The hardest part about being a travel agent is that you always have to come up with new ideas and offers to give people an incentive to buy from you since competition in the travel industry is pretty fierce and you would not be able to make a living from what you are doing otherwise.

Can you provide for your family by working as a travel agent?

While you will often be able to provide for your family as a travel agent if you live in a rather cheap region, you may have a hard time providing for your family in case you live in an expensive metropolitan area where rents are high and in such a case, your spouse may have to work as well and kids may get neglected in the long run.

Will travel agents suffer from old-age poverty?

Since travel agents don’t make good money during their active careers, they are often also not able to save and invest enough money for retirement and may suffer from serious old-age poverty once they quit their jobs and retire.

Can travel agents retire early?

Most travel agents don’t make enough money from their jobs to retire early and therefore have to work until they reach official retirement age.

Do travel agents get a fixed or variable salary?

Travel agents often work commission-based.

Thus, the more vacations and trips they sell, the more they can make and their salaries therefore greatly vary over time.

Can you get rich as a travel agent?

Since most travel agents don’t make good money, it is almost impossible to get rich as an employed travel agent.

If you really want to make good money, you would have to start your own travel business or rather work as a financial analyst or risk manager instead.

Do travel agents need a second job?

While most travel agents are able to make a living from what they are doing, some travel agents make pretty poor money and need a second job to cover their expenses.

Do you get training as a travel agent?

You don’t get continuous training as a travel agent.

Instead, it will be on you to hone your craft and to get really good at selling stuff to clients so that you can make decent money and stay in the game in the long run.

Do you get sick pay as a travel agent?

Since most travel agents work commission-based, many of them don’t receive sick pay and should therefore build an emergency fund during good times that they can use later on in case they get sick and no longer make an income so that they are still able to pay their bills and don’t get into financial trouble.

Do travel agents have a high level of responsibility?

Travel agents don’t have high levels of responsibility.

Even though mistakes on their side may lead to some financial damage, travel agents still don’t have the same high level of responsibility as pharmacists or doctors whose mistakes may lead to serious personal damage.

Can travel agents work abroad?

Travel agents are able to work all over the world.

However, salaries and overall working conditions might be quite different from what you are used to from your home country and you should carefully inform yourself about those issues to avoid any unpleasant surprises once you finally move to a foreign country.

Is it stressful to work as a travel agent?

Being a travel agent is not stressful since you will not have to deal with lots of time pressure and also don’t have to work long hours.

Instead, you will have a rather relaxed workday and will have enough energy left once you get back home to spend on your favorite hobbies.

Is it boring to work as a travel agent?

Working as a travel agent might become boring in case you are not client-focused and also not passionate about traveling since you will do many things over and over again and may lose motivation pretty soon.

Is being a travel agent hard?

Working as a travel agent is not hard both on a mental as well as on a physical manner since you don’t have to stress your brain that much and also don’t have to ruin your body.

Are travel agents at risk of burnout?

Since you will have a pretty relaxed time at work for most of the year, you will also be at pretty low risk of suffering from burnout or other mental problems as a travel agent.

Is there a dress code for travel agents?

As a travel agent, you don’t have to comply with a fixed dress code.

Instead, you can wear whatever you feel most comfortable with as long as your look doesn’t deter customers.

What kind of travel agents are paid the most?

The more experience you have at selling trips, the more you can make as a travel agent since you will often work commission-based and the more flights and accommodations you sell, the more money you can make as a travel agent in the long run.

What percentage of travel agents are women?

While 74% of all travel agents are women, only 26% are men.

Thus, this industry is still dominated by women and will likely continue to be that way since women are often better salespeople than men.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a travel agent?

There is no need for having a mentor as a travel agent.

Instead, you can become a successful travel agent without a mentor if you are willing to work hard and also learn a lot on the job.

Do travel agents have a high life expectancy?

Travel agents have pretty decent life expectancy since they are not at great risk of suffering from serious accidents or incidents at work and can spend their workdays in a pretty safe environment.

Do travel agents suffer from sleeping problems?

Travel agents don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs most of the time since they don’t have to work at nighttime and are able to maintain a steady sleeping pattern.

What states are best for working as a travel agent?

As a travel agent, you should choose a state and a region where the demand for travel services is high while living costs are still low enough to make a living from what you are doing.

Who do travel agents work with?

Travel agents work with many different clients every day and it is therefore important that you are a friendly and outgoing person so that clients feel comfortable in your presence and are eager to buy flights and other travel-related things from you.

Is working as a travel agent cool?

Being a travel agent is considered fairly cool by the majority of the general public.

However, you should still not care about what’s cool when it comes to choosing your career but rather rely on your own wishes and preferences for making the right decision in this regard.

Can you start a side hustle as a travel agent?

Since you will have enough leisure, you will also have a rather easy time starting a side hustle as a travel agent.

For instance, you could start a YouTube channel or a blog where you talk about certain travel destinations and what mistakes to avoid.

In turn, you can build a huge audience in the long run and can make really good money from your side hustle and may eventually be able to turn it into a real full-time business.

Do you have to be creative as a travel agent?

Being creative helps you sell trips and other travel-related items to clients and can really make you a good salesperson in the long run since the more creative you are, the better you will be able to defend your arguments and the more compelling your arguments will be.

Do travel agents suffer from being overweight?

Since travel agents work in a classical office job, they mainly work with a computer and don’t burn lots of calories at work, which makes it pretty likely that travel agents suffer from being overweight or even obese sooner or later.

How employable are travel agents?

Since an increasing number of people don’t rely on travel agents anymore but rather book flights and hotels online, travel agents are no longer that employable anymore and many travel agents will lose their jobs in the near future.

Are travel agents happy with their jobs?

Most travel agents are not fully happy with their jobs since they are not able to make good money from what they are doing and also have to worry about losing their jobs on a regular basis.

Is working as a travel agent exciting?

Working as a travel agent is not really exciting since you will do many things over and over again and will also develop a certain routine pretty quickly.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a travel agent?

Since traveling is not good for our planet, you will have a rather poor impact on our environment as a travel agent and will rather contribute to the destruction of our ecosystems.

What are the pros and cons of working as a travel agent?

If you are still interested in becoming a travel agent, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a travel agent career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1174454/travel-agency-sector-market-size-us/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1174468/tour-operator-industry-market-size-us/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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