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Has anyone's travels inspired them to become a travel agent?

Has anyone's travels inspired them to become a travel agent?

Old Jul 26th, 2004, 07:36 AM
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Has anyone's travels inspired them to become a travel agent?

I am getting ready to graduate from college (at age 28!) and after travelling to Europe several times, the only career I can imagine myself happy in is a travel-related one! Anyone else experienced this? Any advice?
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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I too dream of escaping my legal career for something travel related. At the moment I plan all my family and friend's trips abroad and am constantly looking forward to my next holiday and devouring travel magazines and books. However, I do wonder if the planning would lose it's sparkle if it was my career. I suspect that most Travel Agents deal with package holidays to nasty places like the Costas in Spain (apologies if anyone is particularly fond of the Costas or package holidays.) There must be a more glamorous travel career out there?? The other thing is that I find the buzz of travel comes from sharing it with the people I love - going solo doesn't appeal so much.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 07:46 AM
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Never! I've watched a good friend struggle to keep her long-time agency running after the airlines quit paying decent commissions and listened to her dealing with cantankerous clients. It's one thing to plan for and travel for oneself; being responsible for other people takes it to an entirely different level.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 07:48 AM
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...and it pays next to nothing
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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A travel agent earns one of the lowest salaries in the travel industry (in the UK, at any rate) and, even with the occasional perks (the best of which would tend to go to the manager and of which there are few anymore), it's a poorly rewarded job.

Familiarity trips aren't as much fun as people assume when one is expected to visit SEVERAL hotels each day as well as spend time in the office and so on.

Instead consider jobs you'd enjoy anyway (whether it's IT, Accounts, Human Resources etc) and see if you can find openings in travel related companies.

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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 08:33 AM
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I have had several people on this forum email me for advice and help in their planning. That is why I leave my address. I LOVE it. I love helping people w/ travel. It is a great hobby. There was a time though that I had so much email and people asking me for so much that it seemed as if I really WAS a travel agent. That is when it got to be too much (because I am doing this all free of charge) but I still really enjoy it.

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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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I forgot to add something very important:

I don't think it is wise to become a REAL travel agent as a career. IMO - and I REALLY feel this way - I think the job is being phased out. With all the websites and all the travel forums, I find more and more people are doing it on their own.

All the other comments on here were good too.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 08:47 AM
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Do search on this forum for travel agent. There was a really good post going a while back regarding TA as a career. It was my career once. If you love traveling, don't make this your career. Get a good paying job with lots of time off and travel. TA is one of the most high stress, low paying, thankless jobs around. There are few travel perks in today's market. Sorry...but that's the best advice I can give.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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As a former travel agent...I have to throw my 2 cents in.
I loved the job and still sometimes think I miss it...BUT...
1. You are helping people plan their vacation...wheater it is a complicated trip to Italy (our agency specialied in Italian escorted tours) or a family first visit to good ole' Disney World, or that old lady going on a plane for the first time to visit her sister in Florida...it is 'their' dream trip. They are depending on you for EVERYTHING. And when 1 thing goes wrong, which is usually never your fault -- oh you get an ear full. We all know how the airlines, car rental compaines are and such -- well just think -- the first person you call is your travel agent...Oh the fun - NOT!
2. People are always looking for cheep. Wheather they are spening $200 on airfare or $10k to go to Hawaii for 2 weeks...if they can save $10 bucks next door, they are going to hassle you. What clients have to understand, your $200 airline ticket is worth like $3 dollars to us, that is what the comission is on them. And then the airlines put all these rules, so when you get lucky and book that first class ticket, they cap you at $50 -- but you have to deal with that first-class attitude.
3. Listening to happy people come in everyday, expalning how much they enjoyed their trip is the BEST! I wish I could say those experiences make the previous easier to deal with - but not the case.
4. Work in a travel agency on the East Coast during the winter, flights are cancelled left and right, and you have those business clients that HAVE to get to wherever to close a deal, and there is not a flight in sight...not fun!!!
5. The pay - sucks!!!!!! And there is nothing that makes the low pay worth it (ie. Fam trips or hold your breath, when an airline rep gives you a free ticket, which is like once every 3 years).
6. Well I could stand on my soap box forever, but anyone thinking of becoming a travel agent is C.R.A.Z.Y!
7. Although, as crazy as it is, I do most of the time miss the torture...
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 09:29 AM
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No way would I want to be the TA on the other end of the line. I deal with wonderful people doing my employer's business travel, but I wouldn't want to be doing their jobs. Besides, with computer access, it is a dying field.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Back in the 80's I was working in banking and it was my dream to work in travel. This was before anyone had ever thought of booking travel on their own computer. I thought TA's would be an ever-growing career. I made some inquiries and discovered the following:

1. The school here in Austin that offered training for travel agents cost $5,000 at that time.

2. I discovered that TA's make considerably less money than what I was making at the bank.

So I was faced with the fact that I would be paying $5,000 (which was a heck of a lot of money in the 80's) in order to go to school and learn a trade that would lower my income. Bottom line--the decision not to do it was a no-brainer, and thank God for that, because in today's world of computers, we simply do not need TA's like we used to. If I want to book a cheap ticket, I do in on line. If I want travel advice, I ask the Fodorites. No need for a TA, at least not for me.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 10:38 AM
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SuzieC is correct. I understand that the only way to actually make a living at this is to own a top level ageny catering to big budget travelers. I believe rank and file agents make a pittance (you'll do better at the post office) - and its really only good as a hobby - or mini-job for a retiree to supplement income.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 04:10 PM
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I think the former TA's said it best here. The stress and low pay are just not worth it. TC has a good point about getting a good job with lots of time off to travel. They are out there. I am fortunate to have a job that gives me a lot of time off. (Great for traveling in the off season). I quit using TA's years ago. It is a lot more fun doing my own research. It has paid off - I've reduced my lodging costs in London by 45%.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 04:29 PM
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In the 80's, I also took some classes to becoming a TA. The idea seemed great to me, but even then, when I started checking things out, I realized that the pay wasn't the greatest. And of course, now with the internet, it would be almost a pro bono job.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 04:31 PM
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I went to a college credit school to become a travel agent. I was in my early 40's. I drove 2 hrs. to school after getting off from work at 4pm. I was at school until 10pm and then drove home to get there at 12midnite. I made straight A's and graduated at the top of my class. I got a job at a local mom and pop agency making $5 per hour. The fam trip I went on cost me $75 and while it was fun it certainly wasn't a vacation. I learned alot because we toured and ate on 3 Royal Caribbean cruise ships and certainly helped me sell the cruises. We didn't have any free time just to have fun where we were at...Miami! When my husband and I went anywhere for our own personal pleasure, I looked at every hotel, restaurant, etc. thinking about which of my clients would enjoy what I was seeing. Result?...it took away from some of the fun of just enjoing our vacation! I lived and breathed my career. I can usually get the answers of geography, history,travel,etc. when Who Wants To Be A Millionare comes on without hesitation. I do not regret my education and the experience, but I prefer having a job that pays alot more and great benefits instead of the "perks" of being a travel agent. I also help my friends & family plan their trips and I definitely agree with what the previous posts from other TA say.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 04:39 PM
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traveling for work is always... work.

get a well paying job with an international company, and when they send you places, allow yourself an extra couple of days minimum at your location. at least the airfare is on their dime, and typically the hotel they will put you in is central and very nice, and your 2-3 days extra will be at corporate rates, which are very good as well.

best of both worlds. don't select a job that isn't going to give you a good retirement. think of it this way, you may not looooooove your job, but if it pays well your time off compensates for it. plus then you can afford to buy a home in a nice vacation area.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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i had a friend that worked for a travel agent in the "good old days" and even then there wasn't a lot of $ to be made but she did it for the perks...which have disappeared in todays world. hotels, spas, places like that used to invite travel agents to spend time there, for free, so they would learn about them, their amenities etc, and then of course book their clients at these places. sad to say....all that has gone by the wayside.
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Old Jul 26th, 2004, 04:50 PM
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I hope I don't get in trouble for this, but a regular Fodorite just started her own on-line travel agency. She has been a wonderful source of info on the Africa and Asia forums, but she visits here as well, and also US and Airline forums. Her expertise is Africa and after years of providing great advice, very timely info, and just being a great person she decided to make a run at it. I hope she makes it and I hope I don't get in trouble for this post, from her or Fodors, but I could assure you this is not something she asked me to do or wanted me to do, I just think that she deserves a mention and this is the perfect thread for this. I will not reveal her Fodor ID, only because I'm not sure she wants me to, but her new site is:

www.africaserendipity.com

If this is wrong, please forgive me.
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 07:48 AM
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A relative of mine was cabin crew for an Irish airline. She liked it because it was state owned and you got lots more perks and time off and she could travel standby to nmost places and did this when she had a week off. It paid low but she travelled the most and worked the least of anyone I know and still managed to have a car and rent a room in an apt. She made more than me at that time and I was shocked at how badly I was paid
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 08:01 AM
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Well, after a successful career in marketing, two weeks in the Romanian Fagaras Mountains were enough to make me resign and begin work for this - www.spirit.ro
You can't quite call it a travel agency, but it sure is a nice way for me to combine travelling, travel writing/photography with marketing.
So far, I have the ideal job. Let's hope it lasts
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