Interested In Travel But Unemployed? Look Into Travel Agent Jobs

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.

Travel Agent Classes – Special Skills That Will Get You Hired Over Other Travel Agents

Let’s face it: education contributes to success. Travel agent classes are a great way to enter the travel industry quickly, and command a higher salary. Here is a list of classes you should consider taking if you want to become a travel agent:

Community college. Many universities offer short courses taught by an experienced travel agent (such as myself). Here you can learn the basics of the travel industry, including pricing structures, fare rules, ticketing procedures, hotel and car rentals, etc. They come in all flavors: I have them range from a one day introductory course to an intensive six week course complete with training on a GDS (Global Distribution System).

Online travel agent classes. This is a great way to save time. You can cram a six week course in half the time if you study hard enough. One of the more comprehensive places for travel agent classes online is The Travel Academy.

Global Distribution System classes. I’ve hired several travel agents in my career, and every single one of them knew how to use at least one GDS. The truth of the matter is, most employers are reluctant to hire someone without prior knowledge of their GDS (the major ones are Amadeus, Sabre and Worldspan) because the time it takes to train someone. Here’s a way to speed up the process: sign up for the tutorials these GDS providers offer on their websites, and get to studying. Then, apply for positions that currently use that GDS.

Language classes. If you are somewhat familiar with a second language, consider taking a few classes to improve your skills. You’d be amazed at how helpful it is to speak French when calling Air France, or Hebrew when speaking with a manager at El Al. One of the highest paid travel agents I’ve known speaks six languages fluently, which comes in handy!

Travel suppliers. This is an often overlooked source for education in the industry. My advice is to learn as much as you can about at least two major hotel chains (Marriot’s Hotel Excellence Program is a great place to start), two car rental providers (Hertz and Avis) and as many airlines as you can. Not only do these companies want you to learn as much about them as possible, they often extend special travel agent rates to those who have passed their classes.

As stated before, you will notice a rise in income along with a rise in your education. Study hard, learn as much as you can, and you and your clients will reap the benefits.