You guys, let me tell you.  I’ve seen these “at home travel agent” things for a while and often wondered about it.  I mean, it’s no secret that I love travel—doing it, planning it, talking about it, writing about it….and I would love nothing more than to be completely free to travel whenever we wanted to.

I’ve been a flight attendant, a reservations agent with an airline, and a travel blogger….travel agent (and doing it location independent) seemed like the next logical step.  So about a week ago…I went for it!

Have you thought of being an independent travel agent before and wondered how it works and if it’s real and if you could do it??

Well, I decided start writing a series about how it’s going for me (pros AND cons—real talk, nitty gritty, lol) to give you that answer!  I couldn’t find much personal experience when I was searching for it, so I just decided to go for it and document my own journey.  Ready??

Okay, my first week as an independent travel agent!!!

First thing first.  Let me tell you how excited I am!  I mean…besides all the obvious things one could be excited about…I now have access to all these awesome trainings and certifications from all the big companies ALL ABOUT TRAVEL.  I mean, planning and researching travel and trips is my JAM….now I get all this inside info and get actual “certifications” that I can print out saying I specialize in (insert company here).  It’s like going to school and being the person sitting front and center answering all the questions and gobbling up the information because you love it so much.  (Okay, if I scared anyone off with all that school talk…again, you don’t have to get any certifications to be a travel agent….I just am a dork and love it so I choose to! lol)

Okay, let’s start with the “cons” I’ve found out in this business within the first week.

Cons

– Commissions get paid out 30-60 days after your clients COMPLETE travel.  (this is normal in the industry, but still…you do have to wait a bit for your money)

– If I’m being 100% honest, I don’t really love the interface on my website for myself/clients.  It doesn’t have all the options I’m used to for filtering out hotel preferences and the pictures of hotels, etc on the site when you’re searching aren’t the best quality.  But, I’m used to always checking out multiple sites anyways when I’m searching travel, so this is okay for me because I’ll just search on the websites I’ve always enjoyed (hotels.com and booking.com for hotels) and then find the exact hotel I want and book through my own site.

– We don’t make a commission on domestic air travel.  So for flights within the US, we don’t get a commission….but for international flights we do.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got so far for Cons….but just WAIT til you hear the Pros!!!

Pros

– The biggest and obvious pros here are that you get to sell travel for a living….from anywhere.  And you’re your own boss- you set the hours and you put in as much time as you see fit!

– Like I mentioned earlier, I had some fun doing some certifications specializing in certain hotels and cruise lines.  Because I went through and got those certifications, not only did I learn about the company and what they offered, it opened me up to get discounted and/or free travel to check out those companies.  When a travel agent can experience your product, they can sell it better.  Therefore, taking a cruise or checking out the property is a win win.  So long as you as the travel agent know that they are there for work- to take pictures/video, learn about the product so that they can recommend it to the clients that would enjoy it,  and act professionally.

– I signed up for some ship inspections.  Ship inspections are a no cost tour that cruise lines give to travel agents on certain days (usually between sailings after one set of passengers debark their cruise and before a new group sailaway).  They usually last 3-4 hours and include free lunch.  This gives the travel agents a chance to see the ship, ask questions, take pictures, and try the food among other things!  I’ve got two that I’m signed up for right now- so be on the look out for my ship reviews for those!!

– I’ve signed up/got certified for my CLIA card.  CLIA is the Cruise Line International Association but it’s not just cruises, it partners with hotels and ports as well.  This is actually a really great thing to have as not many agents are CLIA certified so it looks better to clients, and it opens the agent up to higher priority for ship inspections, FAM trips, etc.

–  And maybe the best part…. Ya’ll….do you travel a lot?  Or are you the person all your friends go to for help planning their trips??  Get this…….you get commission ON YOUR OWN TRAVEL too!!!!!  What?! So, I’ve already went ahead and booked a couple hotel stays that we need and cursed myself for already buying two cruises before I signed up as an agent, lol.  But 30-60 days after I travel, I’ll be getting a commission check from my own travels…does it get any better than that??

– Another great thing I found out before I started was that your clients aren’t spending more so that you get a commission.  Whenever they book through a regular hotel or airline or expedia, etc…the commission is already in the price.  Someone is always getting it, whether it’s Delta, Priceline, or the travel agent!  So now I can help plan/book my friend’s travel, get paid, annnnnd it’s not costing them anything else!!

– Along those same lines.  I price checked.  I wanted to make sure that what I was selling wasn’t actually higher prices than what was out there on the normal big websites.  Everything I saw was the exact same price or actually a few dollars cheaper!!  My host agency also has a low cost guarantee as well.

– Did ya’ll know there are travel seminars out there?  Like a lot of them!  Different cities around the world, everyone gathering around the learn the newest and greatest thing in travel.  Yeah…I can go to those now!

Okay, I think that about sums it up for my first week!!  I’ll do another update again, probably monthly.

Do you travel a lot and want to save on your own travel?   Do you always book travel or help your friends plan their vacations?  Come check out the business!  I need people to do ship inspection with!!  Lol, really though….they don’t let spouses and children go and I want some friendly faces to check out cruise ships with!!

There are two different options in this business.  You can either just sell travel, or you can sell travel AND be able to sign people up for their own businesses as well!  You can sign up for a free video explaining the business here. You’ll have to enter SPONSOR ID: livesimpletravelwell  when you sign up for the video.  And if you have any questions, send them my way!  Kelly@LiveSimpleTravelWell.com.         You can also check out the Become An Agent page on my website!

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