We take pride in providing authentic travel recommendations based on our own experiences. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product or book a reservation. Learn more ›
The travel industry offers plenty of interesting jobs. Travel agents are among the most common and revered workers in the industry. If you are thinking of changing careers, starting your own business, or adding a part-time hustle, consider some pros and cons of being a travel agent.
If you love traveling or helping people create and fulfill their dream vacations, you might want to become a travel agent or advisor. We all want a flexible job to save us some time while promising financial stability. However, there are numerous pros and cons of being a travel agent.
Even with all the benefits, it’s not always peachy. For this reason, this article is a must-read piece if you plan to become a travel agent, whether full-time or part-time. Let’s explore all the pros and cons of being a travel agent and entering the travel business to help you make a fact-based decision on your next move.
Want to Build a Travel Business?
- Bluehost: Thinking of starting a travel related business? Use my personal favorite of Bluehost to create your website and business with ease. You'll even get some awesome bonuses along the way. Claim FREE Domain Name
- Jasper.ai: What if you could build a travel website and not write content? You can with Jasper which is an AI-driven content software for literally anything. Try Jasper Now
- Surfer SEO: Any business in today's age needs to be present in search engines. I use Surfer SEO every single day to grow my presence in search. Try Now for Free
- FlexJobs: Looking to work and travel the world? Use FlexJobs to find remote jobs from reputable companies within the travel industry or even general jobs in finance, accounting, etc. Work Remotely and Travel
- What’s It Like Being a Travel Agent?
- Pros of Being a Travel Agent
- 1) Job Flexibility and Mobility
- 2) Travel Opportunities and Dream Vacations
- 3) Be Your Own Boss
- 4) Work Part-time
- 5) Variety of Job Options
- 6) Decent Earning Potential
- 7) No Special Training Needed
- Cons of Being a Travel Agent
- 1) The Job is Demanding
- 2) Shaky Job Security
- 3) Creating and Maintaining a Credible Online Presence
- 4) An Array of Choices for Clients
- 5) Increased Transparency in Prices
- 6) It Can be Stressful
- 7) Possible Customer Lawsuits
- Is Being a Travel Agent Worth It?
- Do Travel Agents Get Discounts for Themselves?
What’s It Like Being a Travel Agent?
The profession is dedicated to planning and organizing client travel experiences. Fellow travel agents tailor trips based on individual preferences, ensuring memorable and personalized travel experiences.
They mingle with industry executives and professionals to give you the latest information. It’s one of the more interesting jobs in the world where you’ll never be bored. It’s amazing to live vicariously through client’s experiences and pictures.
While they offer expert advice and services that save time, many travel agents might charge additional fees. Their structured approach can sometimes limit spontaneity.
Pros of Being a Travel Agent
1) Job Flexibility and Mobility
Nowadays, people want jobs that allow freedom in working hours and location, one of the perks of an independent travel agent career. Since you mainly plan trips and sell travel products (tickets and tour packages), how and where you undertake the tasks is your worry.
For instance, some will work from offices, and other agents from call centers. Some may go freelance and become home-based agents.
Whether you work in your spare time while abroad in London or from your home office, the travel business offers such mobility. You can start a travel agent career that is entirely remote by joining a program like FlexJobs, where you have access to hundreds of job opportunities.
See Related: Best Tools for Travel Agents
2) Travel Opportunities and Dream Vacations
For any business, you must excel at your job to gain customers’ trust. Being a travel agent or travel advisor means having an in-depth idea of what services you are offering your clients.
You must travel in order to have a first-hand experience of top-selling destinations. Luckily, most hotels offer agents discounted trips, known FAM trips, or familiarization trips.
These help with your research and let you experience the services as your customers will have them. You’ll gather facts about the destinations and have extensive knowledge to share with your customers.
If you love traveling, then this traditional perk will be an exciting career as you get to check off your bucket list. Enjoy endless traveling without being stuck behind a computer or phone. As travel destinations, tours, and hotels compete for travelers, they often offer agents discounts to entice them into recommending clients.
See Related: Ways to Get Paid to Travel and Take Photos
3) Be Your Own Boss
Becoming a travel agent offers the flexibility of owning a business. If you are tired of the routine and hustle of being employed, it might be time to make that leap.
Freelance and independent travel agents are gaining traction daily, and you can easily take advantage of the trend with a little research. Self-employment means setting your working schedule and deciding where you want to work from.
The internet has made remote jobs quite possible. That’s why a home-based travel agent is one of the best travel industry jobs you can have. You can create your hours and have fewer operating expenses to generate revenue.
There’s no better feeling than having complete control of your work. Becoming a travel agent offers you multiple options to achieve this. This means you no longer have to endure your boss’s sharp spying eyes all day.
Plan your work more freely and find better ways to satisfy your clients. You can perfectly plan everything from pick up, mode of travel, and destination to travel concierge services to ensure your clients are happy.
See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights
4) Work Part-time
If your goal is to achieve a secondary source of income, then a travel agent profession can suit you well. The job is versatile enough, allowing you to set your working hours to match a full-time job.
Better still, if you decide to become a travel agent or travel advisor as your primary job, it still allows you to have another side hustle with ease. This means you don’t have to experience financial dry spells even during off-peak travel seasons.
5) Variety of Job Options
Being a travel agent offers numerous job opportunities to specialize. You can concentrate on a niche that best suits your passion and capabilities. For instance, you can specialize in cruises, honeymoon travel destinations, African safaris, or vacation destinations in the Caribbean.
6) Decent Earning Potential
Income is a major consideration when choosing any career path. Although the earnings are not astronomical, becoming a travel agent promises decent pay.
According to Indeed.com, $53,821 per year is the average salary. This can vary depending on the type of travel job and commissions. Reports from other travel leaders like Pindar indicate that they can earn up to $500k annually.
One of the many perks of being a travel agent allows you to make a living while pursuing your passion. You’ll spend more time researching and planning for tours, helping others create life-long memories.
Although the travel industry might be challenging and demanding, seeing the smiles on customers’ faces is enough joy for some people. Better still, since you are passionate about this, making enough commissions won’t be that daunting.
7) No Special Training Needed
Travel agents do not require expensive, specialized training. It’s mostly about passion in the travel industry and a simple accreditation you can attain online.
This makes it quite flexible to pursue a career or even start an independent agency. With proper research, a well-laid plan, and a specific niche, you can sell travel products and dream vacations from that comfortable couch at home.
See Related: Best Travel Products to Combat Flight Anxiety
Cons of Being a Travel Agent
1) The Job is Demanding
When you become a travel agent, you must be ready to be available almost 24/7 and constantly multitasking. This is mainly due to the difference in time zones across the world. As your clients travel to a different time zone, they may contact you in case of an issue or need some clarifications – at any time.
Unfortunately, some customers are just nagging and demanding. But since that human touch differentiates you from online booking services, you might need to answer that call in the middle of the night.
2) Shaky Job Security
Travelers now have access to more information than ever. Most are knowledgeable enough to plan and book trips themselves.
Through online booking, customers can easily plan and go for a trip without needing a human travel agent. This puts the job security of the agents in jeopardy each day.
Also, for most agents, careers are at risk if they can’t hit sales targets. Remember, agents are paid on commission – few sales, less money.
3) Creating and Maintaining a Credible Online Presence
Competition is fierce, with numerous large agencies and travel corporations sharing the online space. This is challenging for independent agents.
Find your place among those bigwigs and demand visibility to survive in the industry. This means that a simple website won’t suffice.
You must create a responsive website that is easy to access and helps answer all your customers’ questions. Investing in organic traffic and content marketing can play a major role in your website’s visibility.
4) An Array of Choices for Clients
Travelers have more options, especially with online travel agencies flooding the market. The customers are spoiled for choices.
Although people are always traveling, you must uniquely position yourself to attract their attention. What differentiates you from your competition? Find that unique selling point and use it to your advantage.
See Related: How to Use Pinterest in the Tourism Industry
5) Increased Transparency in Prices
The internet age brings a few challenges. Unlike in the past, customers are no longer naïve about prices. Plenty of information is available online, and they can access it anytime.
Customers can now browse for different prices and offers and choose what best fits their budget and needs. This makes the market even more competitive. To survive, travel agents must offer more than just price undercutting.
See Related: Best Gift Ideas for Travel Agents
6) It Can be Stressful
Even with the perks and flexibility, it can be stressful. The job has its challenges and drawbacks. Travel agents can get bombarded with work pressures from all sides, such as:
- The need to always have up-to-date information
- Peak season pressures
- Ever looming risk of being fired – for the employed agents
- Commission-based pay – no sales, no pay
All these stress-contributing factors can make this career not so unique for those who don’t want to deal with constant pressure.
See Related: Travel Hacking 101
7) Possible Customer Lawsuits
This is one thing that can hurt both your reputation and finances. Like in many other business fields, customers nowadays tend to use lawsuits more when settling disputes.
You might be sued by a client, claiming negligence or misrepresentation. Although you are not responsible for what happens during the trip, your clients expect you to offer accurate trip information and advice. Having an insurance policy to cover such occurrences might come in handy.
Is Being a Travel Agent Worth It?
It depends on what you are looking for. A travel agent’s salary can range from around $24,000 to $60,000 annually, not including bonuses and commissions. Combine that with your workspace flexibility and the travel perks, it can be quite worth it.
The work can be demanding during non-traditional business hours. You have to think quickly and be very organized – and you’ll pretty much be “on call” 24/7.
You must be good at marketing yourself due to the constant large competition. But if you’re passionate about travel and have some people skills, then becoming a travel agent could be worth it for you.
Even with the many benefits, no business is immune to challenges. Understanding the pros and cons of being a travel agent is a significant step toward informed career decision-making.
Do Travel Agents Get Discounts for Themselves?
More often than not, travel agents encounter numerous questions like, “Do travel agents travel for free, or get discounted rates on flights?” The truth is that free flights or tours are not offered.
But, they often get discounted rates from travel destinations and hotels that seek recommendations from agents. These discounts are mostly research-based for the travel agent as they try to get the best places to recommend to their clients.
Also, since agents are always up to date with the latest trends in the industry, they can easily spot trips offered at the lowest prices and book for themselves. Better still, they sometimes get to earn commissions on their travels.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Blake is a highly experienced travel writer working for a number of publications providing insights about his experiences around the world.