Travel is a big dream for many people and with good reason. While many of us live in places which are enjoyable and beautiful in their own way it is often exciting to get out and experience new places and cultures. One of the top reasons people want more freedom of time and finances is so they can realize some of their dreams of international travel.
Pairing that love of travel with an unemployment situation seems out of places however for anyone interested in traveling and in landing a new job it makes sense in the context of looking for work as a travel agent.
While a job as a travel agent doesn’t necessarily mean you will get to immediately realize your lifelong travel goals, getting a job in the travel industry would be allowing you to find work that is possibly more fulfilling than working at McDonald’s (one of the top drivers of any recent modest employment gains). If you have been able to do some travel in the past working as a travel agent could give you the chance to fill new travelers in on what to expect and calm an fears they have about visiting new places.
To get started in your job hunt for travel agent positions you may want to research typical travel agent salary levels and who the best agencies are to work for. There is a lot of interest in home based travel agent work which would be quite a nice employment gig to land however if you are more willing than others to be flexible it may give you an advantage in your job search. If everyone else wants to work from home maybe you can be the candidate willing to go against the current grain of expectation.
If you have previous travel experience you can check into how that might help you in your new place of employment and pitch that as a benefit on your resume or in interviews. Also depending on what your formal education has been there may be qualifications that you already have which will tend to help you in the travel and tourism industry. A degree in mechanical engineering might not help much but language experience or something similar might be a big advantage. You may also want to check into whether you would be a better fit in the leisure travel industry or in corporate travel. Naturally leisure travel would deal more with vacationers while business travel would tend towards reservations of hotels, conference rooms and flights for other employees of your company or a client organization.
As recently as 15 years ago, serving the public as a travel agent was a hot job. People even went to college specifically to land a position in the travel agency career field. Fast forward to now, and some who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Travel and Tourism Management are watching their diplomas gather dust as they work in a completely different endeavor.
The main reason is simply because of the widespread influence and general availability of the Internet. The Internet is now how most people make their plane reservations, secure their hotels, pull together their travel package deals, and almost anything else related to travel. No longer do they need to walk into an office and have the agent search for a great deal and then pay a commission afterward. Now it is much easier to search online and find the deals there.
Hence, travel agents are falling off left and right. Businesses are closing shop and being paid even less than ever – a stark contrast to their popularity just a short time ago. However, there are those few people who cannot dream of doing any other kind of work. And agents still venture out many times per year to explore the world with their families for less than it would cost just one person to make a trip across their own country. The deals are what lure them in and the enjoyment of the job is what keeps them motivated.
For some people, the allure of becoming a travel agent is intense. If this is you, then the time to get started is now. You don’t necessarily need to graduate from an accredited university to become a travel agent, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Those who do graduate from college are normally the higher paid travel agents because, though you can attend a 9-month technical school, you won’t receive the quality and depth of education that you would at a typical university.
For this career, it is important that you possess good computer skills since there are many different systems and software packages you must know and use each day. You must also learn the “ins and outs” of the travel agency business, and be up-to-date on current travel advisories, passport information and special deals waiting in the wings.
If this sounds like a career path you might enjoy, then go for it. There is nothing wrong with following your dream and doing something you truly love, even if you know that salaries in the travel agency industry aren’t what they once were.