I never intended to become a Certified Travel Agent, but I was always arranging travel for family and friends. A friend told me I should really look into becoming a travel agent. I took that advice and joined a travel network, and shortly thereafter I became Certified as a Travel Agent.
Becoming Certified Wasn’t Hard
In order to become Certified I joined a travel network, went to a few meetings, studied the guide book and took 6 short tests. There are many travel networks out there, you just have to pick the one that is right for you. Here is one you can take a look at for reference http://thegetaway.paycation.com/. They are all pretty similar, but the affiliations with different cruise lines, resorts, and hotels may vary.
Create Your Own Business
After you gain certification you can create your own travel business; even if you are the only employee. You just have to name your business and then get a DBA (Doing Business As) license. According to http://www.dbaform.com/ a DBA will allow you to “use the name in contracts, open bank accounts, write and deposit checks with that business name. It also discourages competitors from using your name or a similar one.” You will also obtain a tax ID or EIN, which will come in handy at tax time.
Any business related expenses can be written off at tax time. Visit http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc511.html for more information regarding qualified deductions . For me this includes business related travel such as, expenses for familiarization trips.
One of the many perks of being a member of a travel network is familiarization trips. These are trips that you go on at an extremely discounted price to get familiar with resorts, cruise lines and hotels. The vendors invite you or your travel network. The point of these trips is to experience what the vendor has to offer and get familiar with what they have to offer. This will allow you to give first hand advice to clients about the resort, cruise line or hotel.
The best thing about being a Certified Travel Agent is the ability to make your own schedule. You can work as much or as little as you’d like. You get to go to some of the most exotic places in the world and gain knowledge about things to do and amenities at different hotels/resorts. This can be a part time job, a hobby once in a while, or a full time job. Your earning potential rests in your hands.
Hopefully those 5 points gave you some insight into this aspect of the travel industry.