By Holly Reisem Hanna
One of the most frequent questions that I receive from readers is … “What home-based job opportunities are available in the travel industry?”
And of course, the most popular job in the travel industry is the Home-Based Travel Agent. But for those who do not have special certification or accreditation, the opportunities become unclear and muddled. Luckily, there are many different routes to take and not all of them require that you have your certification or accreditation license.
Here are the seven different ways in which you can work-at-home in the travel industry.
1. Cruise Planner
Do you love the cruising lifestyle? There are a few different options for being a Cruise Consultant, but the one that I’m most familiar with and that is affiliated with American Express is called, Cruise Planners. It is a home-based franchise opportunity that gives you all of the tools you’ll need to run a successful cruise planning business from your home – from an extensive six-day training session in Florida to tech tools, award winning marketing programs and special American Express benefits. With this franchise, you'll build accreditation towards your Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. (CLIA) certification – which is needed to work with suppliers. Startup costs will run around $9,995, plus 3% royalty.
What it Pays: According to Franchise Business Review, Cruise Planners make a commission ranging from 14 – 21%. Because you're also a full-service travel agent, you also make commissions on land tours, hotels, shore excursions, travel insurance, and rental cars. For example, say you have a customer that is going to spend $3,500 on a cruise vacation, that would make your commission anywhere between $490 – $735 for one booking.
2. Travel Writer
Do you love to explore and research? Travel Writers are generally freelance writers or independent contractors, who write articles and reviews for magazines, newspapers, websites, and travel guides. Topics can range from food and nightlife to specific travel niches like eco-tourism, adventure travel or family-friendly travel.
What it Pays: According to this article on Wise Bread, the average Travel Writer makes only $6,000 a year. According to PayScale.com, the average Freelance Writer earns $38,000 a year. Some factors that you will need to factor in are things like experience, skills, background education, and training and whether you’ll be freelancing or working as a salaried employee. While it might not pay a lot, one perk is the free travel and accommodations that you'll receive.
3. Travel Blogger
Do you love to share information about your travels? Travel Bloggers share all sort of travel information via a personal travel blog. Many bloggers will choose a specific travel niche, such as traveling for singles, couples, families or by interest island, mountain or luxury travel. To make money, bloggers will use various techniques such as direct ad sales, ad networks, affiliate marketing, or by creating their own informational travel products.
What it Pays: According to PayScale.com the median salary for a Blogger with one year of experience is $30,000. From much of the research that I have read, most Bloggers are making much less. Check out this post to see what some real-life Bloggers are pulling in. I think one of the perks of being a Travel Blogger is that you will often get to review free hotels, trips, restaurants, and activities – so you’ll want to factor that into your salary.
4. Work-at-Home Travel Agent
Do you love to plan, organize, and travel? Home-Based Travel Agents assist clients with planning, organizing and booking travel accommodations. So how does one become a Home-Based Travel Agent? There are a different few routes in which you can take to becoming a Home-Based Travel Agent, from purchasing an existing travel agency, buying a travel franchise, to opening up your own travel agency or partnering with a host agency. The tricky part is that to work with suppliers; you must have an International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) or an Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) number. Sound confusing? Luckily, there are some great places that offer affordable education and training options to get you started.
- Fab Job: How to Become a Travel Consultant $29.97
- Becoming A Travel Agent: The Home-Based Travel Agent Resource Guide $139 – $197
What it Pays: According to PayScale.com the median salary for a Travel Agent is $28,000. One pro when going this route is the discounted travel deals you’ll receive.
5. Disney Travel Planner
Do you know Disney inside and out? The Travel the with Magic Program is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner that specializes in Disney destination vacations. Through this program you’ll work as an Outside Sales Consultant planning, organizing, and booking Disney travel vacations. Travel with the Magic is both CLIA and IATA accredited, and all consultants attend the College of Disney Knowledge. I wasn’t able to find how much it cost to join this business opportunity, or how much Sales Consultants can make – but it’s free to request information if you’re interested.
For more registered Disney Travel Planner Programs, check out this post.
6. Social Media Manager Specializing in the Travel Industry
Are you a social butterfly? Take your love of social media and travel and combine them into one exciting and fabulous career. There are a couple of different routes you can take with this option, one you can open up your own Social Media Consulting company specializing in the travel industry, or you can search for travel organizations and see if there are any openings for Social Media Managers. Of course, you will not only need to have a love for travel, but you'll need to prove your expertise in the social media realm.
What it Pays: According to PayScale.com the median income for a Social Media Manager with one year of experience is $35,000. This number will vary greatly depending on your experience, skills, background education and whether you decide to work as an independent contractor or as an employee.
7. Local Coordinator for Exchange Students
Local Coordinators are independent contractors who go out into the community visiting schools, churches, and various youth programs in search of families who are interested in hosting foreign exchange students. Besides finding safe hosting families for students, you also act as a point of contact and mentor to the students while there are here in the U.S. This is basically a recruitment type position where you get paid a stipend for each successful placement. Most of the opportunities I found offer financial compensation, incentives, travel bonuses, and opportunities for advancement.
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