Side Hustle Spotlight: Travel Agent


The world is full of miracles, and people want to explore those each year. Traveling agencies help such wanderers to achieve their goals. But what about those who need help to afford such big-budget tours?

They get help from their travel agent! If you like to help these wanderers and want to make a few bucks, you can quickly become a remote travel agent! It is one of the best side hustles that can give you good returns rapidly.

Many people seek flexible income streams with the rise of the digital world and remote work. These streams allow them to indulge in their love for travel while earning extra money. So, how will you turn your passion into a part-time job? This article will explore all the necessary information and expected returns.

How to Get Started?

Getting started as a travel agent requires careful planning and a strategic approach. You can begin by researching the travel industry landscape, including emerging trends, popular destinations, and niche markets. Consider your own travel experiences and expertise, as well as your target clientele.

Decide the areas where you want to operate, for example, Asia, Europe, etc. But you need to study every destination under these categories. Use online resources such as industry forums, travel blogs, and social media groups to connect with seasoned travel professionals.

You don’t require a specific employment background to become a travel agent. Beginning your journey as a travel agent doesn’t demand prior industry experience either. So you can dive in quickly.

The sooner you immerse yourself in the field, the quicker you’ll build your client base. But if you possess experience in a semi-related field like marketing or hospitality, it can offer valuable insights for your new role as a travel agent.

Now, there are many options for this side hustle. You can become an independent contract-based agent, a home-based travel agent, or a Franchise owner. When you decide to join as a franchisee, you gain access to the travel industry’s highest-paid commissions. You need to decide which option is more suitable for you.

Training, Certification, and Permits

While formal education is not mandatory, it’s beneficial to undergo training. You can gain the knowledge to succeed as a travel agent.

Consider enrolling in courses offered by reputable travel institutions or organizations such as The Travel Institute, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), or online platforms like Travel Agent Academy. These programs cover futuristic topics such as travel booking systems, destination knowledge, customer service skills, and industry regulations.

Consider short certification courses if you want to avoid investing in training programs. You can obtain industry-recognized certifications to enhance your credibility as a travel agent. Remember that the law does not require it, but having at least one certification to stand out in the market is good.

Consider pursuing certifications such as Certified Travel Associate (CTA) or Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) offered by The Travel Institute. These certifications will help in your professional development.

Depending on your state or jurisdiction, you can also get required permits and licenses. In some states, you may need specific licenses to operate as a travel agent. Research the licensing requirements in your area to ensure compliance with legal regulations.

This may include obtaining a business license, seller of travel license, or other permits required by local authorities.

You can also consider affiliating with industry organizations such as ASTA or local travel agent associations. These affiliations can provide valuable resources, networking opportunities, and support for part-time travel agents.

You can be more aware of the travel industry by participating in workshops, online programs, and informational articles by famous magazines like AFAR.

Job Opportunities

As discussed earlier in this blog, you can work as an independent contractor, franchise owner, and more. Many travel agencies and tour operators hire independent contractors to work as part-time travel agents.

You can work remotely from home or anywhere with internet access as an independent contractor. You’ll have the flexibility to set your hours and manage your workload according to your availability.

Another option is “Online Travel Agencies” (OTAs). Online travel agencies like Expedia and often hire remote travel agents to assist customers with booking flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages. These positions typically offer flexibility in scheduling and the ability to work from home.

You may also work with corporate travel agencies. For example, some corporate travel agencies hire part-time or remote travel agents to manage business travel arrangements for corporate clients. These positions may involve booking flights, hotels, and rental cars and coordinating travel itineraries.

A few other options include specialty travel agencies, home-based franchises, and freelance blogging. What are these options? Let us explain to you briefly!
  • Specialty travel agencies focusing on niche markets such as luxury travel, adventure travel, or group travel may offer part-time or remote opportunities for travel agents. These agencies cater to specific interests and preferences. They allow you to specialize in a particular area of travel.
  • Home-based travel agency franchises allow you to operate your own travel agency business from home. These franchises provide training, marketing support, and access to booking tools. They also give you insights into supplier relationships and enable you to run a successful travel agency as a part-time venture.
  • Freelance travel blogging might sound like a newer option, but you can approach companies to manage their website content if you are passionate about writing. You will get to understand and participate in their operation and writing.

Plus, you can pitch travel articles to online publications, websites, and magazines. Or create your travel blog to share your experiences and recommendations with readers.

Expected Returns

The financial returns of becoming a travel agent as a side hustle can vary based on factors such as clientele, booking volume, and commission rates. Travel agents typically earn 8% to 20% commissions on bookings, including flights, accommodations, tours, and travel insurance.

As you build your portfolio, you can increase your earning potential through repeat business, referrals, and upselling additional services. These services include travel packages and experiences. Remember that success as a travel agent requires dedication, excellent customer service, and a genuine passion for travel.

*Price and availability subject to changes by vendor.
April 20th, 2024

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