Unless you’re traveling solo or in a very small group, a travel agent is an essential part of planning most trips. They know their destinations inside and out, can save you money, provide expert advice, and handle the tedious booking process for you. Plus, they can snag you deals that you may not find on your own. But how exactly do travel agents make money?
In the pre-internet age, airlines paid travel agencies a commission on airline tickets that they sold, allowing agencies to operate profitably. Today, however, many travelers choose to book their own flights through online booking sites and apps. This leaves the agency’s role in the travel industry as advising clients and booking other services (such as hotels, tours, and cruises) that still pay an agency a commission.
The good news is that a well-established travel agent can earn a good living, says Pindar. But the job isn’t for everyone. It requires a lot of travel, and you have to be available 24/7/365—especially during busy season. It’s also a high-pressure, stressful career that can be exhausting.
To find a good travel agent, start by asking friends and family for recommendations. Or, look on a site like Go Ask A Local or Trip Advisor to find a travel advisor who specializes in the type of trip you’re planning. Then schedule a free introductory call to see if they’re a good fit. Most agents will want to learn your travel preferences and budget upfront so they can plan a successful trip within your parameters.