You’re probably familiar with the travel industry’s reputation for being a glamorous job that allows jet-setters to see the world. But behind the scenes, travel agents (especially those who work with a high volume of clients) have to work hard to keep up with demand. It takes serious focus, attention to detail, and a lot of scheduling to make it as a top travel agent. We talked to two travel agents—one a former agent who went back to school to become a certified travel counselor, the other an experienced agent who runs her own agency—to find out what life is really like in this career path.
A good travel agent will never try to hide their fees from you. Instead, they should openly discuss them and explain how they plan to save you money on your trip. For example, some agents will shop third-party discount airfares for you and others may be able to offer exclusive deals with hotels or cruise lines. Look for a travel agent who scores well on our Ratings Tables in the cost category and ask about their fee structure.
Some agents charge an hourly planning fee, while others work on a commission basis and simply pass on the service providers’ rates to you without charging anything extra. You can also choose to pay a flat daily planning fee, which is becoming more popular. Whatever you choose, make sure you get all fees in writing and that your agent is available to you during your trip should any unforeseen issues arise.