How to become a travel consultant

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Certification with CCPA is different from membership with CCPA. This distinction between membership and certification is for the benefit of the public. Certification represents a successful evaluation of a member’s qualification to practice. Membership does not. Should you wish to use a qualification designation from CCPA, you must seek certification, which will permit the use of the letters CCC as the appropriate statement about qualifications to practice counselling.

The Canadian Certified Counsellor certification is a national service that identifies to the public those counsellors who CCPA recognizes as qualified to provide counselling services in Canada. Obtaining the status of Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) includes recognition of standards of professional preparation, continuing education, and a formal code of ethics. As a non-statutory self-regulating body, CCPA provides advice and discipline for members on matters of professional conduct.

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Benefits of Certification

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Fees and Renewal

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Please note, in order to apply for Certification, applicants must first be a Professional Member in good standing with CCPA.

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The rise of online booking apps and websites, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced travel agents and travel consultants to adapt or die. Understanding the differences and similarities between travel agents and travel consultants will help you decide if this career is a good option for you.

Travel Agent vs. Travel Consultant

In their narrowest roles, travel agents help you book travel, while travel consultants help you plan trips. Many travel agents morphed into travel consultants as increased affluence and cheaper airfares and accommodations led to more people traveling (before the pandemic).

Travel agents are more skilled at finding you the best flights and rooms at the lowest costs. Travel consultants specialize in finding the best destinations, based on the trip checklist you give them. Even if you know the city where you’ll be traveling, a travel consultant can help you find the best restaurants, nightlife or times of year to visit or vacation.

Travel Agent Skills

Travel agents must be familiar with the processes for booking flights directly with airlines, accommodations providers and rental car companies. In addition, they should be familiar with the various websites and apps that cross-check most airlines and accommodations providers to find the best rates. These platforms are known as aggregators, explains Aviation Tribune. Working with organizations like the American Society of Travel Agents, you’ll find even more tools to help you.

A qualified travel agent would know, for example, that Southwest airlines airfares don’t show up in Expedia’s or other aggregators’ airfare search results. If your client is traveling, you should not only check flight apps, but also Southwest’s website.

Travel agents can also help you use credit card mileage points, know when blackout dates exclude the use of points and can advise you on whether or not you’ll save money by booking your flight, room and vehicle rental on one site.

Travel Consultant Skills

Travel consultants are experts at knowing about various cities and countries. They might have contacts at top hotels, resorts, entertainment venues and restaurants in major cities. Like travel agents, they need good people skills.

If you’re traveling internationally, a travel consultant will be able to help you understand what you’ll need for your trip in the way of passports and vaccinations. Staying up to date on U.S. State Department travel advisories and knowing what the weather is like at different times during the year are typical luxury travel advisor qualifications.

Many travel agents specialize in certain countries, traveling there to familiarize themselves with the local laws and customs and find the exciting hot spots, according to They’ll even help you choose what clothing to pack for your trip. These types of travel consultants often cater to affluent clients who are willing to pay more for this type of firsthand information.

Becoming a Travel Agent or Consultant

There’s no college degree to become a travel agent or consultant, but you will increase your chances of landing one of these jobs if you earn a certificate or degree in a field like travel and tourism or hospitality.

You can also prepare by joining a group like the Travel Institute or Cruise Lines International Association.

Earning designation as a Certified Travel Associate or Certified Travel Counselor (which requires at least five years of experience) will also help you enter the field and move up. Once certified, you’ll need to take continuing educations courses to maintain your certification.

With the COVID-19 pandemic depressing the travel industry for the foreseeable future, your best bet to make a living in this profession might be to learn how to find and assist people who are taking vacations using a car, or you might become a high-end travel consultant.

Travel Agent Compensation

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics only provides pay data for travel agents, possibly because travel consulting is a boutique profession with many of these professionals working as independent contractors.

According to the BLS, travel agents earned a median annual pay of ​$40,660​ in 2019, or ​$19.55​ per hour. The top 10 percent of this group earned ​$69,420​ annually, while the bottom 10 percent earned ​$23,660​. Travel consultants to the wealthy can make six-figure salaries and might even travel with clients, or visit locations before their clients (sometimes business) travel there. These types of trips are known as site visits.

Here’s everything you should know before becoming a travel agent.

If you’re someone who spends their days scanning flights, loves hotel rewards points, and in general, is a fervent traveler, you’ve probably wondered how to become a travel agent. And while it’s true that living in the age of Expedia means travel agents are not as vital as they once were, people use them a lot more than you might think. Just because travelers aren’t calling up an agent every time they need to book a quick flight doesn’t mean they don’t want to consult an expert for a big trip. This holds especially true when it comes to honeymoons or bucket-list trips that have a lot of moving parts — coordinating tour companies, translators, or multiple resort stays, for example. It’s often easier to leave the logistics to someone else: travel agents.

You don’t need a specific employment background to become a travel agent, so if you’re looking for a fresh career start, that’s totally OK. You have to start somewhere on your path to becoming a travel agent, and the sooner you jump in, the sooner you’ll build your client base. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to parlay your experience in a semi-related industry, be it marketing or hospitality, that can help because you’ll have even more context for your new gig. Either way, this can be a rewarding career path (with some fun perks), so here’s what you need to know to become a travel agent.

Formal Training Needed to Become a Travel Agent

While some four-year colleges, community colleges, and trade schools offer tourism certifications, it is not a requirement for those trying to become a travel agent. Certificates of tourism can be very helpful, but so can previous training in marketing, hospitality, or even event planning. Ultimately, your knowledge of destinations, sales, itinerary planning, and booking software will be crucial for your career as a travel agent.

In terms of the training time you need to put in before becoming a fully fledged travel agent, it depends. You could start your career right after high school, or you could put in one to four years to earn a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree in tourism. Of course, you could also change course from a related job, and morph your experience as, say, a destination wedding planner into a career as a travel agent.

Training Programs Available

You could take classes with a company like The Travel Institute to earn your certification. Not only will they teach you the basics of planning itineraries, but they’ll also make sure you’re learning about new cultures, world geography, and experiences you can have all over the world. They’ll also help you decide what business route you want to take.

How to Become a Travel Agent: The Logistics

Becoming a travel agent will likely mean starting your own business. On the plus side, it requires relatively little overhead. If you’re becoming a small business owner by opening a yoga studio, for example, you will need to rent a space, deal with permits, buy supplies, build a website, and pay yoga teachers and someone to work the front desk. However, if you’re starting a business you can operate from your living room, there aren’t nearly as many upfront costs.

You will have to think about what type of business you want to become. Do you want to incorporate or become an LLC? Would you rather be a sole proprietor? Incorporating takes the most effort, and is often the most expensive. Becoming an LLC is a good happy medium, because it can help protect you as a business entity without having as many associated costs. Small business owners typically become an LLC to protect their personal assets. If you get sued as an LLC, someone can come after your business holdings, but can’t come after your house, car, or personal savings.

If you choose to remain a sole proprietor (which doesn’t require any fees or legwork), you are essentially a freelancer or independent contractor. You can be an LLC and an independent contractor, too — they aren’t mutually exclusive. If you want to be an independent contractor, it likely means you’re working as part of a larger host agency, which is smart to do when you’re starting out as a travel agent. Down the road, you can also own a franchise of a travel agency. Owning a franchise might come with more overhead costs, and that would be a reason to incorporate.

If you’re an independent contractor, you should know that your taxes aren’t going to be as straightforward as a full-time employee’s might be. You may have to start keeping track of your business expenses, as you might be able to write them off. You also might not get things like health benefits from your employer. As you plan your new career, consider sitting down with an established travel agent to ask them some logistical questions: Where do they get their health insurance? How do they keep track of their income and expenses? Do they use an accountant to do their taxes? While meeting with the travel agent, you can discuss the pros and cons of working for a larger agency, too. If you’re not sure how to get in touch with other travel agents, consider using social media, like LinkedIn or even Instagram.

What to Think About When You Become a Travel Agent

Once you’ve secured work as a travel agent, you’ll want to think about how you can earn more money and distinguish yourself from other agents. Here are three things to consider as you start your career.

Making Commissions: If you’re working for a larger travel agency as an independent contractor, how do commissions work? Make sure you have this conversation early on before accepting the position. When you’re starting out, you want to make sure the commission rate you’re receiving is similar to the industry standard.

Growing Your Client Base: How do you make more money as a travel agent? Clients, clients, clients. You want happy customers who will return to you every time they want to book a travel experience. You’ll want to keep your clients happy by finding them great deals, curating unbelievable experiences for them, and simply being great to work with.

Establishing a Niche: This is by no means a requirement for becoming a travel agent, but as you establish your career, you may want to consider focusing on a specific niche. For example, perhaps you’re someone who focuses on honeymoon travel, luxury travel, or adventure travel. Your niche can help you attract clients, and it can be anything in the travel realm, as long as there’s a need for it.

Becoming a Travel Agent During the Pandemic

With travel restrictions in place across the globe amid the coronavirus pandemic, now might seem like an unusual time to become a travel agent. However, travelers need more guidance than ever to plan future trips, so your expertise will come in handy as people navigate travel in an ever-changing environment. According to Kristen Korey Pike, a Travel + Leisure top travel advisor, “While a global pandemic may seem like an odd time to join the travel industry, if travel consulting is a career you’ve always wanted to explore, there’s no time like the present.” She added, “With many restrictions still in place, it’s an opportune time to learn the ropes of the industry in order to be properly equipped when travel comes back with a bang.”

This Travel Consultant job description template is optimized for posting in online job boards or careers pages and easy to customize for your company. Post on job boards for free.

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Travel Consultant responsibilities include:

  • Determining clients’ needs and suggesting suitable travel packages
  • Organizing travels from beginning to end, including tickets, accommodation and transportation
  • Supplying travelers with pertinent information and useful travel/holiday materials

How to become a travel consultant

Job brief

We are looking for a Travel Consultant with great enthusiasm for traveling. You will be responsible for promoting and booking traveling arrangements for clients (individuals or businesses). The goal is to enhance satisfaction and acquire an expanding and dedicated clientele.


  • Research various destinations and means of travel regarding prices, customs, weather conditions, reviews etc.
  • Diagnose the clients’ specifications and wishes and suggest suitable travel packages or services
  • Organize travels from beginning to end, through booking tickets and accommodation, securing rental transportation etc.
  • Supply travelers with pertinent information and useful travel/holiday material (guides, maps, event programs etc)
  • Collect deposits and balances
  • Use promotional techniques and prepare promotional materials to sell itinerary tour packages
  • Handle unforeseen problems and complaints and determine eligibility for money returns
  • Attend conferences to maintain familiarity with tourism trends
  • Create and update electronic records of clients
  • Maintain relationships with key persons
  • Keep financial statements and documents
  • Reach the revenue and profit targets


  • Proven working experience as a Travel Consultant
  • Excellent knowledge of traveling software (computer reservations systems, GDS systems and e-travel)
  • Proficiency in English; knowledge of additional languages is an advantage
  • Exemplary sales skills and customer oriented approach
  • Well versed in various areas of travel (domestic/international, business/holidays, group/individual etc)
  • Ability to present, persuade and communicate effectively
  • Demonstrable ability to handle crises
  • Degree in Hospitality, Travel, Tourism, Business or relevant field
  • Candidates with personal travel experience will be preferred

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How to become a travel consultant

A freelance travel consultant is a travel agent or consultant who works on a freelance basis and often works from home. These individuals to work like any other travel agents and help clients book tickets, book trips for groups and individuals and carry out the tour planning. The only difference between regular travel consultants and freelance travel consultants is the fact that these individuals are not tied up in contracts and work on a per-project basis. The main skills needed to be a freelance travel consultant is good knowledge of travel destinations, the ability to conduct internet-based research, etc.

The job of any freelance travel consultant is one in which he/she works as per the budget requirements and specifications of the client and charges a fee for the services offered. Freelance travel consultants may work as individuals or may work as a group of consultants offering consultancy to clients. In either of the cases, the duties and tasks remain more or less the same. To know more about how to become a freelance travel consultant, you can go through the following given information:

Freelance Travel Consultant Jobs

As a freelance travel consultant, an individual needs to fulfill several duties and responsibilities. Some of the main duties are given below:

  • To help clients choose, book and plan their trip, its destination and places to visit.
  • Suggest places; consult clients about their choices or preferences.
  • To work on a budget specified by the client is also the duty of a freelance travel consultant.
  • To book air tickets, train tickets, buses and other means of transportation for the client.
  • To book hotels and book tickets for local attractions of the travel destination
  • To provide advice about passports and visas and help in the visa process.
  • To sell holiday insurance or travel insurance
  • To market and promote his/her freelance business .
  • To get the best hotel and air deals for clients.
  • To manage budgets, collect payments and deal with customer or client queries or doubts.


Not anyone and everyone can become a successful freelance travel consultant. One must possess several skills to do well at this kind of a job and some of these skills are given below:

  • A Corporate travel consultant working on a freelance basis must have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills to be able to deal with not only clients but also with others as this can help him negotiate and convince the other person.
  • Good mathematical skills and accounting abilities are also needed for this kind of freelancing job.
  • Ability to present strong travel proposals so that the maximum number of clients can be bagged is also needed for a freelancer in the travel agency business.
  • To be commercially aware and to have an interest in travel and tourism is a prerequisite.
  • Fluency in local or certain foreign languages can also help one to do well at this kind of job which requires communication with people from different cities and countries.
  • Detail-oriented, strong organizational skills and the ability to get work done quickly are also needed.

Being Successful As A Freelance Travel Consultant

As a freelance travel consultant, you should always try to look out for more clients so as to increase workload and hence gain more profit. Being successful in this field means providing clients what they are looking for at the best rate so that they choose you rather than another travel agent . For this, doing things differently and in a more reasonable way can help. Some ways to be a successful freelance travel consultant are:

  1. Educate yourself continuously about new and upcoming travel destinations. Suggest offbeat places to clients so that they choose you rather than another agent who comes up with regular, popular tourist places.
  2. Make sure you negotiate well with hotel owners so that you can profit more from the deal between the client and the hotel.
  3. Market yourself effectively and preferably using social media. Social media marketing is an upcoming source of marketing and promoting your business.
  4. Look for work on freelancing websites where buyers and sellers of services meet to strike deals.
  5. Associate yourself and develop good relations with regular flight services, popular hotels and other places that need prior booking.

Average Remunerations

Freelancing is an upcoming platform for people belonging to service-based businesses and tasks. The same holds true for travel agents. Freelance travel consultancy is gaining popularity with every passing day and the scope within this field is tremendous, given the fact that most people look for services on the internet these days rather than other places.

Freelance travel consultancy can be of two types-one in which you charge a fixed amount and one where you charge on the basis of services you offer. In either case, the average salary that one can expect to earn per year is $34600. A high school diploma is often a mandatory requirement for one to take the job of a travel agent but this is not a compulsory requirement in case of freelancing. However, clients may prefer their agents to be aptly qualified and with the expertise of computers and internet research.

Finding Work

While relying on advertising methods like newspaper ads etc. may seem sufficient to some, there are many other ways of finding freelance travel consultancy work. Getting your own domain on the internet and setting up a blog or a website is a great way to attract traffic to your freelancing work. You can use the internet to find more work, even from home. Applying for jobs on freelance work websites is also a good idea to stay in the loop of jobs and bag clients on a per-project basis.

Some of the websites that you can find freelance travel consultancy jobs(1) are Elance, O-Desk, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer, etc. Keep updating your blog about attractive travel destinations to develop an interest in your readers. If your blog is good enough to drive large traffic, then this may reflect on the number of clients you have and the jobs that you bag.

Just the fact that you’re looking into how to become a travel agent is an excellent indication that you’re our cup of tea. Becoming an independent travel agent is an entrepreneurial goldmine if you’ve got the drive and ambition. If the following checklist describes you, you’re ready to rock.

  • You Have a Desire to Be Your Own Boss
  • You’re a Hard-Charging, Passionate Individual
  • You’re Ready to Do What it Takes to Make Your Customers Happy
  • You’re Obsessed with Travel

How to become a travel consultant

Sound Like You? Then Let’s GO!

You might think becoming an independent travel agent involves an insane amount of training and lots of lonely nights in your home office slaving away to curate incredible experiences for your clients. Nope. Not with us as your Host Agency. As a TPI Family Member, you automatically become a Rockstar. Once you complete your industry training, you get 24/7 support, the latest and greatest in travel agency technology, an incredible number of supplier connections, a community like no other, and lots of commission in your pocket.

Give Tammy a Call

She’s our agent relations specialist and she’s got all the deets on where to start.

Get Your Training On

It’s not a lot of training, but you do need to complete industry training. Tammy will help.

Sign Up on Our Website

With that training under your belt, you’ll be ready to rock your business with us.

Let’s Have a Chat

We’re just on the other end of the phone line, ready to make you a Rockstar. You won’t talk to a computer, you’ll talk to our awesome Agent Relations Specialist, Tammy.

Choose Your Level

Not into commitment? No biggie. Each of our three levels of membership are month-to-month. You decided. It’s your business, we just help you build it.

Rock It

As your Host Travel Agency, we give you access to incredible supplier opportunities, more commissions, tons of support and a community of fellow hard-charging entrepreneurs. Go get it done.

Rockstar Success Stories

I started my career like many others, with big dreams and a passion for travel. I opened my business in 2010 as an independent agent — working on my own trying to take on the world. After finding a mentor in the industry, I was introduced to the idea of host agencies. I worked with several host agencies over the years, but joining TPI in 2012 was the best move for my business.

Steven Gould
Goulds Travel

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a successful travel agent from home?

When you work as a travel agent from home, you are your own boss! It is important to have an entrepreneurial spirit. While becoming a successful travel agent from home may feel slow, a host agency like TPI can support you on your journey to make you successful.

What perks do travel agents get?

As a home-based travel agent, you are your own boss. You get to grow your own small business and create a flourishing side hustle. Yes, you have access to special travel and experience discounts, but these help you research and learn more to book the best experiences for your clients.

How do travel agents get clients?

Referrals and word-of-mouth are bread and butter for a travel agent. Social media, especially groups, are often a source for leads. As your host agency, we help you with email marketing and social media marketing.

Is it hard to be a travel agent?

Being a travel agent can be hard but rewarding work. With the right training and support system, you will learn the ropes with TPI to success in no time! The memories you help your clients create make the hard work worth it all.

What schooling is required to become a travel agent?

Industry training is required to be a travel agent. We helps you understand the necessary training and guides you with the steps following your training. For example, we train you on everything from how to book a cruise to how to build an entire European vacation!

How to become a travel consultant

Table of Contents

  • What Does a Remote Travel Consultant Do?
  • How to Become a Remote Travel Consultant

What Does a Remote Travel Consultant Do?

How to Become a Remote Travel Consultant

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It’s not all infinity pools and après-ski drinks.

How to become a travel consultant

Despite what you see on Instagram, being a travel agent isn’t always glamorous. As amazing as it is to jet around the world, you also have to keep in contact with clients 24/7/365—no matter what timezone you’re in. And while technically anyone can work in this field, only those who are detail-oriented and meticulously organized will excel. So we talked to former travel agent Katelyn O’Shaughnessy and current agent Erina Pindar to find out what their jobs are actually like.

You’ll make a decent living, and you’ll get to travel the world like a rockstar

“Think about this as a lifestyle rather than a career,” says O’Shaughnessy. The pay isn’t necessarily exorbitant —the median income is $38,700 a year, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, but according to Pindar, it can actually be much higher. “Agents make anywhere from $50-100K on the low end and up to $250-500K annually,” says Pindar. But there’s no other industry where you get to travel like this. You’ll regularly go on discounted trips to luxury resorts sponsored by hotel companies, so based on your Instagram alone, your friends will definitely think you’re living the high life.

You get paid on commission, meaning you earn money based on the trips you book for your client.

The bulk of your salary will come from commission, so first and foremost, you’re a salesperson. When you’re an in-house agent with a travel agency (on-staff positions at agencies are increasingly rare, btw, but they’re still in demand), you typically have a base salary and a commission split. This can vary from agency to agency, and also depends on your level of experience. For example, let’s say you have an 80–20 commission split. That means if you get paid 10 percent commission on booking a hotel, 80 percent of that commission goes to your agency while you keep 20 percent. If you’ve rounded up enough clients, you can become an independent agent, which means you work for yourself but remain affiliated with a host agency. As an independent agent, you lose the base salary but get to keep your commission.

If you work as an independent agent, you need your own insurance.

Let’s say you make a mistake on your clients’ itinerary, causing them to miss their first-class flight, which costs $6,000 a seat. If you did something wrong, you’re liable. “There are hundreds of things that can go wrong, and they will,” warns O’Shaughnessy. You definitely need errors and omissions insurance, which can be expensive, but if you accidentally screw something up, you don’t have to pay out of pocket for the cost of the mistake.

“Travel agents” and “travel advisors” are relatively synonymous, though advisors tend to use a more holistic planning strategy.

While in the past, travel agents mainly assisted in booking accommodations, a travel advisor helps provide a client with a broader picture of their trip. “If someone says, ‘I want to go to Cabo and I want to do all of these adventurous things,’ We may say, ‘Okay, great, you can go to Cabo, but you may not want to stay on the strip. You may want to consider the new Four Seasons that just opened on the cape because there’s a lot more adventure on that side of the destination,'” explains Pindar.