What Is the Average Travel Agent Salary & Is It a Viable Career In 2018?

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 9, 2018

Oct 9, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

What if there was a way to travel, build connections, and make money in the process? Believe it or not, that's no longer a dream. All you need to do is to become a travel agent.

In 2017, international tourism revenue reached $1.34 trillion. In 2000, it was just $475 billion. This shows how much the travel industry has grown over the past decades.

Now is the best time to start a career in this niche. People are traveling more than ever before. As a travel agent, you can help them save money and make their dreams come true.

But what does it take to work in this field? And what's the average travel agent salary? Let's find out!

How Much Do Travel Agents Make? Average Travel Agent Salary

According to Payscale.com, the average travel agent has an annual income of approximately $36,576. Other sources say that it's actually higher.

The truth is that it all comes down to who you work for and how successful you are. In this industry, you can either work on your own or join a travel agency.

As an independent travel agent, your income potential is limitless. If you're really good at what you do, you could make a six-figure income in less than a year. Plus, you can work from home and travel the world to see places, sign contracts, and do business.

However, this doesn't mean that working for an agency isn't worth it. Some travel agencies pay as much as $71,858 per year plus bonuses and commissions. The more clients you bring in, the higher your revenue will be.

The choice is up to you. Assess the pros and cons, weigh your options, and research the travel industry.

You could even work for a travel agency in the first few years and start your own business later on.

Are Travel Agents Still Popular?

Not too long ago, travel agents were making big money. The offers available online were limited, so customers were reaching to travel agencies to help them find a good deal.

Even though the life of the agent became more difficult, this industry still has a lot of potential for growth.

Think about how much time you spend searching for hotel and flights on the Web. It takes hours to browse different websites, compare offers, and plan your trip. When you have a hectic schedule, these things can mess up your routine.

That's where travel agents come in. These professionals know how and where to find the best deals. Plus, it's their job to plan your trip in detail. They also have access to special offers from hotels and airlines worldwide.

Let's take Mr. Linh's Adventures, for instance. They not only offer travel deals but they can also book guided tours in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and other exotic destinations. Plus, their customers have access to promotional packages that are not available elsewhere.

Travel agencies are still popular, especially in the corporate world.

Big companies often have contracts with travel agents whose job is to ensure a smooth experience for their employees. They can change travel dates within minutes, cancel business trips effortlessly, and recommend the best hotels or itineraries.

How Travel Agents Get Paid

Now that you know the average travel agent salary, you might wonder how to make money in this niche.

Commissions will be a large part of your revenue. If you sell tour packages and cruises, you'll earn big.

Another way to generate revenue is to charge a fee for your services. In a recent survey, travel agents reported that 78 percent of their income came from commissions and 22 percent from service fees.

Most customers would be happy to pay extra for the convenience and flexibility of having their trip booked by a professional.

Travel agents can also partner up with established companies that need to book accommodation, flights, and conference rooms for their staff. With this option, you can charge higher fees for business travel and other special services.

The key is to focus on high-end customers, such as business executives and wealthy individuals. These people lack the time and patience to make their arrangements on their own, so they're willing to pay extra.

If you enjoy traveling as much as your customers do, you can become the tour guide for whatever city or region your clients wish to visit. Of course, you'll charge extra for this service.

In the case that you work for a travel agency, you'll earn a fixed salary plus other commissions. As you familiarize yourself with the industry, you can start your own business. This will open up a world of opportunities.

How to Become a Travel Agent

Nowadays, becoming a travel agent is easier than ever before. As an independent agent, it's not required to have special training in this area. However, you need a high school diploma at the minimum.

If you prefer to work for agencies, a bachelor's degree in tourism will give you a competitive edge. Consider taking a specialty course to become a Certified Travel Counselor. This will increase your chances of landing a good job.

Additionally, most community colleges and hospitality schools offer certificates and degree programs in travel and tourism.

Even though most states don't require training in this area, it's still an option worth considering. This will give a chance to learn more about the travel industry, familiarize yourself with the market, and connect with like-minded people.

Since it's not required to carry a license, you can start working as a travel agent anytime. Some people do it as soon as they graduate high-school.

Be aware that you still need to register your business, apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and pay taxes.

Explore New Career Options

The travel industry is booming. If you have an eye for detail and strong knowledge of world geography, consider launching your own travel business.

Take the time to learn how things work, connect with other professionals, and define your target audience.

Working for an agency isn't a bad choice either. The average travel agent salary has increased over the past years, so you could earn quite a lot. It all comes down to your skills and experience.

Go ahead and explore new career options! Don't settle for anything less than you deserve. Check out our career blog for other helpful insights!