You want to be a travel agent and, of course, that means traveling all over the world for free and helping make your clients’ travel dreams come true, doesn’t it?
Of course not. Every industry comes with its myths about the job. As you search for your job as a travel agent, it’s time to separate fact from fiction. To do that, we’ve asked several already established travel agents to dispel the myths that they have heard about their career:
Sonia Robledo, owner of Traveling With Sonia in Riverside, California says that she’s heard that being a travel agent is an easy, glamorous job because she gets to travel all over the world for free. She explains that it not the case and says that she works very hard keeping up with what’s going on in the industry.
“I love my work and have been doing it for 26 years, but it requires an immense knowledge of geography if you're planning on designing out-of-the-ordinary trips for clients,” she said. “It also helps, in this and any other business, if you speak some language besides English. I speak Spanish, but successful agents might speak French, German, sign language...almost any additional language is a help.”
Travel agents work hard, keeping up with the most recent travel restrictions and limitations. Robledo also explains that being a travel agent also requires a vast understanding of ever-changing airline rules and says her job necessitates that she be a combination of teacher, friend, and shoulder to cry on. “It also requires patience, said the woman working on her fourth set of quotes for someone who, yet again, has to ‘think about it’,” said Robledo.
However, even though Robledo says that being a travel agent isn’t necessarily the best way to get rich, the payoff is amazing. “I love having people come back and tell me it was the best vacation ever,” she said.
Travel agents also need to be available to their clients, who might be traveling in different time zones, should something go wrong with their itinerary.
For example, Eric Grayson, founder of Discover 7, had a VIP client flying from Lagos, Nigeria to Paris, France on business. “The flight (which was the last flight out) got canceled due to a mechanical issue,” said Grayson. “The client had an urgent meeting in Paris and could not wait until the next day. I was able to get another client, who maintains a residence in Lagos, to lend them their private jet to fly to and from Paris.”
Travel Agents Make a Mint
If you want to become a travel agent because you believe you will make a lot of money by charging clients for your services, think again. Mike Maglothin, Cruise Planners Franchise Owner, seems to have heard it all, especially when a childhood friend booked a cruise without talking to him because he thought Maglothin would be more expensive than had he gone on the internet and booked it himself. “Travel agents work by building relationships with their clients and support their clients throughout the process,” said Maglothin. “They have access to the same fares that the cruise lines or tour companies publish and because they can sell multiple products, will listen to what you're looking for and help you find the right fit.”