man in airport watching plane take off.

Travel and tourism could be your ideal career.

When you’re at work, it seems like you’re counting down the days until your well-earned vacation time. You’re crossing off each day on your calendar (or calendar app), and dreaming of exotic locales and exciting adventures. The same can be said of almost everyone. Who doesn’t look forward to vacation time? It’s all you’ve ever wanted! While it’s unlikely to find a paying job that allows you to take vacation 365 days a year, you can satisfy your longing for adventure with a career as a travel agent. If you’re a self-motivated person interested in helping others make memories to last a lifetime, this could be the career move for you. Here’s what you need to know about working in travel and tourism.

What does a travel agent do?

Travel agents do more than just book flights and make hotel reservations, though those tasks are often an important part of the job. Typically, as an agent, you’d work directly with clients to determine what they’re looking for in their experience, figure out their travel preferences, and where they can go on their budget. You’ll also provide information on different travel options and tour packages, as well as giving advice on different local customs should they be traveling outside of the country.

From there, you’d use industry reservation systems that allow you to access travel information from suppliers such as airlines or hotels and book the necessary accommodations. Typical duties for a travel agent include

  • Finding fare and schedule information.
  • Calculating the total travel costs.
  • Booking reservations for travel, hotels, rental cars, special events, and tours.
  • Describing trips to clients.
  • Covering what paperwork and vaccinations, if any, a client needs for an international trip, such as a passport or a visa.
  • Making alternative travel arrangements if changes come up before or during a trip.

Depending on the agency you work for, you may also visit destinations to get firsthand experience you can use to sell trips to clients.

What makes a good travel agent?

Being a great travel agent requires a few key skills, plus an interest in discovering more about the world. A successful travel agent is someone who is

  • Adventurous. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to explore every exotic and interesting place in the world, having a sense of adventure can help you connect with your clients. Being excited about the wider world and discovering what’s out there can also help you suggest trips to clients who aren’t sure where they want to explore.
  • Detail oriented. There are so many little details that go into planning the perfect vacation, including behind the scenes paperwork. Keeping information in order and remembering important details is crucial to being a great travel agent.
  • A people person. Travel agents work closely with clients and need to be able to comfortably speak with different people. Being talkative and using active listening skills, as well as other soft skills, can help you connect with and sell travel options to your customers.

Depending on whether you work in an agency that has a physical office or you take advantage of the option to work from home, being able to complete tasks independently is vital. You’ll need to reach out to clients and travel vendors, as well as writing up paperwork and documenting your sales, without having to have a supervisor tell you to do so.

3 reasons to be a travel agent.

Becoming a travel agent sounds interesting, but it’s 2019. Doesn’t everyone book their own travel online through sites like Kayak and Travelocity? While there is a lot of information and different discounts available on the internet, there are a lot of things those websites don’t have access to. That includes personal recommendations, insight on different destinations, and access to reservation systems and discounts available only to those in the industry. Besides being interested in travel, generally, why should you consider becoming a travel agent?

  1. You can work anywhere, anytime. With the advances in technology, it’s easier than ever for you to work from wherever you are. While starting out in the industry may have you tied to a desk in an office for a bit, travel agents have the option to work from home and have a more flexible schedule.
  2. You’re helping families make memories. Family vacations are memories that most people look back on fondly and as a travel agent, you’re helping build and plan a trip that will be talked about for years.
  3. There’s never a dull moment. There’s variety in each work day as a travel agent, so no dull moments to cause you to lose focus. Whether you’re meeting with clients one day, or talking to hotel or resort representatives, your work can be varied and fun.

Travel toward your career goals with Penn Foster.

Whether you’re looking for a flexible second job, or you want a career that makes you excited to get to work each day, becoming a travel agent could be your next move toward reaching your goals. With Penn Foster’s online Travel and Tourism program, you can learn the ins and outs of the industry from home, around your schedule! Even better, you can prepare and sit for the nationally recognized Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification exam developed by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the Travel Institute. Want to know more about getting started? Reach out to our Admissions Specialists today at 1.888.427.6500!