Career Profile: Travel Agent
Imagine being able to travel around the most interesting tourist spots in the world and getting paid for doing it. Finding a job like that might be difficult, but becoming a travel agent can be the next best thing. Although travel agents work mainly to plan other people’s trips, their work can often include many other benefits such as the chance to see and explore travel destinations. It can be a busy and sometimes frustrating job, but for anyone who is organized and likes to work with people, it can be a fun and fulfilling career.
Have you ever helped make arrangements for a trip that you went on with your family or friends? If so, you probably used the Internet to search for information on the places you wanted to see. You might have reserved your flights and hotels online and maybe even booked tickets for trains or other local transportation. In the past, only travel agents had access to the kind of information that people can now find for themselves. Many travelers now prefer to take care of many of their own arrangements. However, well-qualified travel agents can still have an important role in making sure that people have the best possible experiences on their trips.
The most important requirement for travel agents is knowledge of various destinations and the needs of travelers. Travel agents can help them learn about what kinds of sights and activities are available. They have experience in working with tour guides and hotel managers. This gives them an advantage in dealing with different situations that the tourists might encounter. They can advise travelers on what to take, what they need to do to avoid getting sick, and anything else that they might need to know.
Becoming a travel agent normally requires no specific training or education beyond a high school diploma. However, some people find that getting a certificate in travel and hospitality or even a degree from a university is helpful for their work. Most of all, travel agents need the ability to use computers to find information and to work well with people. Travel agents should be friendly and efficient, able to find information easily. Good organizational skills are essential, and some knowledge of a second or third language is helpful. Salaries are generally between about $23,000 and $47,000, depending on experience.
Some travel agents work alone, but others work in travel offices. Many travel agents never need to leave their home cities to do the job, but personal experience with travel is helpful. Some travel agents might even be asked to stay at some of the overseas hotels so that they can really know the good and bad points of the places where they send people. If you like working with people and would like to see the world, the job of travel agent could be a good choice for you.