Do you love to travel? Do you have wanderlust? Are you a master at finding great travel deals?
Becoming a work-at-home travel agent might be your ideal work-at-home career path!
Working as a travel agent might seem a little outdated in today’s world of Kayak and Airbnb, but in reality, many people still prefer to work with travel agents.
Experienced travel planners help travelers save money, time, and travel-related headaches.
Home-based travel agents generally work for a host agency (a company bonded and accredited by the Airlines Reporting Corporation or the International Airlines Travel Agents Network) as an independent contractor.
As a travel agent, you’ll earn a commission on the travel arrangements (flights, hotels, rental cars, travel excursions, and more) you book, and you’ll often have access to special deals and travel discounts. You can choose to work in a particular niche such as cruises or business travel or work with clients looking into a specific type of travel (adventure, Disney vacations, eco-friendly, budget, or luxury travel).
One of the great things about becoming a work-at-home travel agent is that it’s a relatively easy startup business idea, and the costs are very low. With a basic home office (including an internet connection, a phone, computer, printer, and website), you can get started with a host agency.
So if you love to travel or if you love to help other people fulfill their vacation dreams, you may want to start a home-based travel agent business!
Getting Started as a Work-at-Home Travel Agent
According to Host Agency Reviews, travel agents with three years of experience make an average of $44,312 per year. However, there are some travel agents making six figures per year. It all depends on your experience, the number of clients you retain, hours worked, and commission and support from your host agency.
Agents who work in specific markets or on particular vacation types (like destination weddings or luxury travel) can become very familiar with their market and thus, enjoy even greater success. Working in particular markets, like weddings or corporate travel, can also make a big difference regarding salary.
Remote Travel Agent and Consultant Jobs
If starting your own business seems intimidating, many companies within the travel and hospitality industry hire at-home travel consultants, reservationists, and customer service reps for full-time and part-time positions. Best of all, many of these positions come with travel perks!
To start, you may want to explore:
- American Express
- BCD Travel
- Kemp Travel Group
- Vail Resorts
- Working Solutions
- World Travel Holdings
Exploring Host Agencies
Finding a good host agency is key to getting started as an at-home travel agent. If you’re just starting, you may want to familiarize yourself with host agency options to get a feel for what each can offer.
- Cruise Planners
- Disney Vacation Planner
- Dream Vacations Advisors
- Dugan’s Travel
- National Association of Career Travel Agents
How to Select a Great Host Agency
When it comes to what they offer their consultants, travel agencies vary significantly. There are many factors to consider besides who offers the best commission.
For example, do you prefer a large agency or a small agency? Locally based hosting can be easier for new agents who might need extensive support and training. On the other hand, national agencies may offer more flexibility and growth.
Carefully weigh your agency options and perform background research. Sites like Host Agency Reviews and Find a Host Travel Agency can help. They offer tips and ratings for finding the best travel agency that fits your needs.
Perks of Becoming a Travel Agent
Aside from being a fun business opportunity, being a travel agent offers some amazing perks.
If you enjoy travel, you might enjoy taking “FAM trips” or “familiarization trips” to various locales. Cruise lines, hotels, and tour guides know the best way for you to sell their services is for you to try them firsthand. So they offer perks, including complementary and deeply discounted fares, as well as opportunities to use their services and explore all your amazing options.
You can also save big on your own travel with great discounts! You’ll score awesome deals before anyone else even hears about them. As a travel agent, you’ll have access to discounts because, of course, the more you travel, the more business experience you rack up.
The best part? You can deduct those travel expenses from your taxes as part of your business! You can also deduct things like advertising and expenses related to your clients. This amounts to big tax savings for you!
Other Ways to Make Money in the Travel Industry
If you love the idea of working and traveling but you’re unsure about becoming a travel agent or consultant, there are many other options available.
Traveling to another country as an Au Pair is a great option if you enjoy working with children. When you work as an Au Pair, you’ll live with a family, helping them with household chores and childcare. In return, you’ll get free room and board, and a small stipend that you can use on your days off. Being an Au Pair allows you to experience life in another country for an extended period of time. Becoming an Au Pair does come with some fees you’ll need to pay such as your flights, travel visa, and insurance.
You’ve probably heard of being an online ESL tutor, but did you know you can travel to another country to teach English as a second language? Most countries require ESL teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. Like being an Au Pair, there will be fees for your flights, travel visa, and insurance. Depending on which host company you use and which country to travel to, your housing may be free or purchased at a reduced cost. How much you can earn will vary as well. For more information on traveling and making money as an ESL tutor, check out the resources below.
Magazines, guidebooks, and websites are often looking for freelance travel writers to contribute their experiences and give readers recommendations. If you have writing and communication skills and you travel often, this might be an excellent option for you.
The income for travel writers varies greatly, but many writers make great money by documenting and sharing their travels. Travel writers, according to ZipRecruiter, earn an average of $73,250 annually, or $35 per hour. I think these numbers sound high, but I wasn’t able to find any other stats for how much travel writers really earn.
If you prefer to write and document your own travels, start a travel blog! With blogging, you can make money with affiliate marketing, ad networks, sponsorships, product sales, and more! The great thing about blogging is it’s affordable and easy to set up, and there are many free ways to promote your content through social media. My friend, Julie Bonner, has a travel blog where she documents her family’s RV travels. In one year, she was able to generate $5,000 a month from her blog, all while traveling the United States and Canada.
If you enjoy working with high school and college students, consider becoming a local coordinator. In these independent contracting roles, you’ll work with educational organizations and programs to place and mentor students interested in foreign exchange programs. These part-time positions are a flexible and easy way to make extra money from home. Some programs also offer incentive trips and perks for their local coordinators.
- Education, Travel, and Culture – $700-$1,600 per student
- International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES) – Average earnings are $8,000 a year
Social Media Marketer Specializing in Travel
Do you love to travel and you’re looking for ways to earn money from home, there are plenty of opportunities to take your travel beyond Instagram snaps and shares on Facebook… but if you’re really great at social media, you could also become a social media manager in the travel industry! Many of these positions allow you to work from home for a travel-based company, sharing posts and connecting with their customers.
Have you been documenting your travels on social media? Then make money while traveling the world as a social media travel influencer. Whether your specialty is Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, or YouTube, you can earn good money through paid sponsorships, advertising, and affiliate marketing. Besides building an engaged audience of followers, you’ll need to become skilled at taking photos and videos, editing, and writing captions. How much you can earn as a travel influencer will depend on how many followers you have, your reach, your engagement, and which platforms you’re using. According to this article in Vogue, a travel influencer with 1-4 million followers can earn $31,000 per post!
If you’re a registered nurse, you can sign up to become a travel nurse. These nurses travel to areas where there are nursing shortages in work in a wide variety of settings. Nurses typically work in one location for 13-16 weeks, then move on to another location. Not only is travel nursing a great way to see the country, but it’s also lucrative. The average travel nurse can earn $56.49 per hour, plus housing stipends. If you’re interested in travel nursing, check out these sites for assignments.
If you have a passion for travel, there are many ways you can earn money working in the travel industry. From becoming a work-at-home travel agent to finding ways to document and share your own travel experiences—there’s an opportunity for every traveler out there. Explore your options and pack your suitcase!
Originally published February 25, 2009. Updated March 2022.