Many people are drawn to the travel industry because of the variety and excitement that comes with planning the perfect getaway. Those that succeed in this industry love research and making connections.
The travel industry is one of many well-suited to working remotely. Most, if not all, of the client communication and bookings can be done online.
If you’re interested in telecommuting, being a work-from-home travel agent may be a great option for you.
Why Be an At-Home Travel Agent
Being a travel agent is incredibly helpful for people who are planning their vacations. There are tons of decisions to make and plans to consider, and being able to help people make the right choices for their families — and discover options they would never have found before — is an incredibly satisfying way to make a living.
In addition, the overall industry of at-home travel agent work has a lot of options. You can choose to work for a company in a more traditional employment arrangement, or pick something that’s much more entrepreneurial in nature and take on a lot of the benefits and responsibilities of freelancing.
When I spoke with Andrea Joyce, an independent vacation specialist with Cruises Inc., I asked her why she wanted to be an at-home travel agent. Here’s what she told me:
My motivation was 15 years ago when I wanted to find a way to help provide for my family and be a stay at home mother. This job has provided me with flexibility to be there for my children when they need me, to travel, to help people put together their dream vacation, as well as providing me with the income I need.”
She really hit the nail on the head for why this type of work-at-home arrangement is so fantastic. You’re making a huge difference in the lives of your clients and customers to help them plan their ideal vacations, and you’re making a huge difference for yourself and your family by bringing in extra income from home.
As you think about becoming an work-from home travel agent, think about how much flexibility you want for your “time on” and how much you’re willing to do your own marketing — greater flexibility often comes with the need for greater marketing efforts. Just remember — marketing is something that can be learned, and most organizations that set you up to be your own independent business will also offer marketing training and resources.
If you’re an enthusiast of a particular type of vacation, or a specific location, you can put your enthusiasm and expertise to work for you. It truly is what you make of it.
Types of Companies That Hire Remote Agents
If you want to work from home as a travel agent, you’ve got all kinds of options. Quite a few companies and industries are hiring work-at-home travel agents, so with a bit of patience, you can find something absolutely perfect for you. You can also try a few different types of remote travel agent positions over time, once you know the lay of the land a little better.
Some of the most commonly known ways to work from home as a travel agent are with these companies:
- Cruises — Companies like Cruise.com and Cruises Inc. hire at-home agents to help customers book their dream cruises, shore activities, and more.
- American Express Travel Counselors — One of the concierge services that American Express offers its customers is the travel counselor. These at-home agents are available 24/7 to help with booking travel arrangements, event tickets, and more. It’s a high-end service and does require some background in travel agency.
- Red Butler — This opportunity is particularly interesting. Red Butler offers all kinds of virtual services for their customers, and it isn’t a travel-specific agency but it does have a travel-specific arm.
- Various Disney-oriented organizations like Travel with the Magic. Many of these are commission-based, and you receive a portion of the booking fee for every booking you make. If you’re a Disney enthusiast, helping other people plan their dream Disney vacation is a great way to make money online!
- Though not necessarily work-from-home travel agent positions, you will also regularly find work-from-home travel jobs with the following companies: (Watch for openings on FlexJobs)
- Carnival Cruise Lines
- Working Solutions
- World Travel Holdings
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Holland America Line
- Norwegian Cruise Lines
- Princess Cruises
- Shanty Creek Resorts
- Travel Leaders Group
- Best Western
- Hotel Tonight
- Omni Hotels
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts
- ACTIVE Network
- Carlson Wagonlit
What You’ll Need to Get Started
First of all, what you DON’T need to be an at-home travel agent is special education or a college degree. it’s a really accessible career for anyone who’s motivated to make it work as an at-home earner.
Some remote travel agent jobs — like the one with American Express — will require prior travel agent experience. Others are completely open to entry-level travel agents, which means you’ve got great opportunities no matter what your experience level is.
It’s extremely helpful to have your own travel experience under your belt so you can understand not only what it’s like to plan a vacation like the ones you’re selling, but also what it’s like to be on one. You can make recommendations based on personal experience, which your clients will find very helpful. I’m not saying you need to start taking mega vacations all the time to be successful as a travel agent — just that it’s helpful if you’ve got your own experiences to lean on.
Logistics-wise, you’ll need to have some sort of home office set up. Some positions will require specific technology (like a certain Internet speed or even a separate phone line), while others will let you conduct your working hours whenever and however you want.
Finding Work-from-Home Travel Agent Work
Depending on what type of work you want to do, the way to find it may vary. One sure-fire thing to do is check the careers pages of the organizations you’re interested in joining.
You can also search the job boards — my favorite is FlexJobs — for remote travel agent work. Keep checking these regularly to see what kinds of opportunities come up and jump on them quickly.
Some at-home travel agent opportunities (like most of the Disney-oriented ones) let you join up any time, because instead of filling an opening like a traditional employee, you’re starting your own small company, almost like an affiliate or a franchise of a larger travel company.
One thing to keep in mind with these opportunities is that there is sometimes a cost to get started. If you’re working for a traditional company, with a traditionally structured job, don’t expect to pay startup fees (aside from getting your home office up and running). But some travel agent companies will require a joining fee and/or fees for the mandatory training you’ll need. It’s commonly said that any work-at-home job that requires you to pay money to join is a scam… and while this is typically true and good advice, some of the at-home travel agent jobs you’ll find will be perfectly legitimate. As always, do your own research.
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