There is a wealth of careers out there but few of them are as exciting or rewarding as becoming a travel agent. Many people may think that they can just walk in the door and automatically start working but this is not so. There is actually a lot of training that goes into becoming a travel agent. Here are the steps that you can follow to start your career and live your dreams.
Decide Which Type
There isn’t just one kind of travel agent. In fact, there are a variety of specialties that one can follow. You will have to make the decision whether you want to become an agent of leisure travel or corporate travel, if you will specialize in discount packages or if you want to focus on certain parts of the world. That is a lot of decision-making and not something to simply rush into. Take your time and you will be much happier in your career than you would if you had jumped in without careful consideration.
While it is not required that you get a formal education to become a travel agent, it certainly helps. There isn’t any specific travel agent degree to attain, but some of the recommended degrees that can put you ahead of the competition include business administration, economics, and even hospitality. If you are worried about paying for your college education, there is no need to. You can apply for student loans through a private lender and ensure that you are investing in your future.
After you graduate from college, you will be faced with deciding what type of work environment you want to enter. You may decide that you want to work in a traditional travel agency setting and gain experience by working for others. However, entrepreneurial spirits who have graduated with a business degree may decide that they wish to break out on their own and start their own agency. Remember, though, that if you start your own agency you may have to register with the state in which you live. Not all states require registration so check with the state licensing department first.
Just as with many other jobs, you will soon learn that you need to stay informed of the latest trends and technologies. Not only does continuing education make you better at your job and allow you to provide more value to your customers. By continually learning, you also allow yourself to get a leg up on the competition.
More Than Meets the Eye
In the eyes of your customers, you will be more than just the person who sold them airline tickets or a vacation package. You will be their expert contact if they have questions about the country they have traveled to and what behavior and customs they should expect. It is not unusual for travel agents to field calls from customers at all hours of the day. While this may not seem like a regular part of the job you signed up for, consider it a compliment.