The Outlook of a Travel Agent Career: Fora’s Full Guide

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Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel

    A love for all-things travel, solid communication skills, self-starting ambition — these are the makings of a great travel agent career. If you’re considering this path, you’re in the right place. We have details on all the education and experience requirements, daily tasks, salary info and more — all with the aim of helping you decide if a career as a travel agent is right for you. 

    Don’t take it exclusively from us, we polled a few of our top earners to see why they love being a travel advisor. 

    Fora Advisor Diana Morales said, “I love the flexibility that it gives me. I love that I get to be in charge of my own schedule and can work from anywhere in the world. It is truly such a gift to have both of those things.”

    If you’re ready to try your hand at a travel advisor career, apply to become a Fora travel advisor. We’ll set you up with everything you need to start and run a successful travel advisor business, from training to tech, community, partnerships and more. 

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    First, what do travel agents — or travel advisors — do?

    You can check out our full guide to what travel agents do if you’re completely new to travel planning, but here’s the short version. 

    Travel agents — or travel advisors (the terms are interchangeable) — plan and book trips for their clients. These trips can be for leisure, business (or both).

    How do travel agents make money? Who pays them?

    Travel agents earn money by selling and booking trips. As a travel advisor, you’ll build a network of clients and earn money through the trips you book for them. 

    There are two common ways that advisors earn money: from commissions and planning fees. 


    Many people don’t know this, but commissions are already baked into the prices of most hotels and many travel experiences already. When travel advisors book accommodations, cruises, rental cars, etc,  the travel partner pays a small percentage of the sale. Commissions range depending on the travel partner, but can typically range from 10-15% (and are sometimes as high as 25%). To earn commission, you’ll also need access to an IATA number to cover the legal framework. When you become a Fora Advisor, you’ll get access to our IATA number (and we also cover all of the commission tracking and payments for you). 

    “Because Fora handles commission tracking & payments, I can focus my energy on other parts of my business, " noted Fora Advisor Alexandra Vigilante Chamberlin. “Starting a new business is stressful, so Fora saves me time and takes a significant burden off my to do list by handling commissions.”

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    Planning fees

    In addition to commissions, travel advisors can also earn money through planning fees. Many travel advisors also charge their clients to build more complicated itineraries, make group bookings (find out why group bookings are great) or provide other related services. 

    Diana explained, “Fora just makes everything easier for advisors, but specially commission payments. We don't have to go chasing suppliers for our commission because Fora takes care of that. They make sure that we are paid fairly and on a reasonable time frame.”

    (If you’re wondering how much travel agents make or how travel agents get paid, see our guides.)

    Related Article: Travel Agent Commissions

    Do travel agents work for themselves?

    Fora Advisor Nadiah Ford offered an excellent point, noting, “I recently had a ski accident and broke my wrist. Unlike my corporate job, I was able to navigate and continue to work on my own terms and schedule.”

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    Generally, yes. Most people who work in the field are independent travel agents who belong to a travel agent host agency (such as Fora). Through this relationship, advisors are provided a variety of benefits. At Fora, our advisors get access to our preferred partnerships — which allow advisors to unlock VIP perks for their clients — as well as advanced booking software like our travel advisor booking platform and the ability to operate under the agency’s licenses, among other benefits depending on the agency.

    Fora Advisor Diana Morales shared her take here, as well. “My favorite part about being my own boss is that I get to prioritize time with my family and I get to be available if I am needed.” She added, “I am about to become a mom for the first time, and I am so glad that I get to take a maternity leave and make it as long as I need to make it instead of thinking that I need to be back in an office when my baby is six weeks old. That alone is a huge blessing to me already, but there have been many other times when I have been able to put work aside for the moment in order to dedicate time to my family.”

    What does the career path of a travel agent look like? (Hint: it can depend on their niche)

    Not every travel agent career looks the same. Flexibility and variety are built into the role, and most travel advisors approach their craft differently — especially depending on their niche (learn about different travel agent jobs). 

    For example, luxury travel advisors book elite hotels in premier destinations, like the top hotels in Downtown NYC or the ritziest hotels in Tokyo. They may devote much of their time to researching bespoke experiences for their discerning clientele. Disney travel agents know all the ins and outs of the brand, and typically focus on booking family vacations to Disney properties around the world (learn how to become a Disney travel agent). Similarly, cruise travel agents may exclusively book ocean-bound voyages for their clients while staying up to date on the latest offerings from brands like Virgin Voyages and Royal Caribbean

    What travel agent niches exist?

    The list of potential niches is long, and at a host agency like Fora, you’re free to carve out any specialization you choose. 

    It’s also worth noting that a career as a travel advisor is flexible. You can work part-time or full-time (or, start part-time and work your way to full-time as you build your book of business). If you want to work part-time, make sure you’re choosing an agency that doesn’t have minimum bookings or sales quotas. (At Fora, we have neither). Becoming a travel advisor is a great opportunity to build a career on your own terms. 

    Alexandra said, “As a Fora advisor, I love that I have the flexibility to take my business with me anywhere in the world. Tech focused training and tools enable access on the go so I can meet my clients needs from anywhere.”

    How do I start a travel agent career?

    On one hand, learning how to become a travel agent isn’t overly complicated, at least not compared to some jobs in the travel industry (like pilots or cruise directors). On the other hand, starting a travel agent career does take patience and dedication.

    Join a host agency 

    As an independent travel advisor, you’ll likely want to partner with a travel agent host agency (like Fora) to launch your travel advisor business. A host agency gives you the support and resources to build and scale your business.  

    Notably, your host agency will give you access to an IATA number, a system that is used to verify that a travel agency or agent is legitimate. It’s the thing that allows you, the travel agent, to earn money for booking hotels and other reservations.

    The best host agencies also provide a multitude of other tools for you to run your business. Fora is a modern host agency that gives you everything you need to kickstart your career in travel, including training, community and technology. 

    Participate in travel agent training to learn the skills & knowledge you need to be successful

    It’s hard to sell travel without knowing the industry: the fundamentals of how it all works, the latest intel on destinations and properties around the world, how bookings and commissions work, best practices for client relationships…  There’s a lot to know. 

    We offer a comprehensive travel agent certification program at Fora that will arm you with the foundational knowledge you need to get started. The travel agent classes offered by Fora are all online and you can take them at your own pace. We offer both live and recorded trainings. 

    Fora’s training covers everything from the basics (how to book a hotel) to more advanced concepts, like planning multi-leg trips in destinations with destination management companies

    Diana explained, “before joining Fora, I was with another host agency and it was not going well. I joined the travel industry without any prior knowledge. I was a brand new agent who needed a lot of support and a lot of training, but at my old host agency, I was not getting that.

    “When I found Fora, it was their emphasis on training that drew me to them. I knew that I wanted to be at a place where I could work through my questions and have answers for them, she adds. “I was not disappointed. Not only were their trainings short, concise, and easy to understand, but often there were Q&A sessions that I could join if I had a question.

    “Once I felt like I actually knew what I was doing, I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone and start talking to people about my business.”

    Related article: How to Be a Successful Travel Advisor: Insider Tips from the Pros 

    Start booking

    Once you’ve got a grasp on how to run your business, you’ll want to start booking (and earning!). We’re firm believers that people learn best by doing, and so our training program is complemented by opportunities to start booking as you’re learning about the role. We offer Booking Bootcamps, live sessions where Fora HQ team members will be available to discuss and brainstorm how you can move from learning about the travel industry to locking in your first bookings.

    We also offer tips and tricks on how to build your book of business because we understand that garnering clients can be one of the toughest parts of the job. We do recommend starting booking with friends and family (it’s much easier to build confidence by booking for your sister-in-law, for example, than it is to arrange a trip for a stranger from the internet). When you’re ready, we have plenty of other resources to help you grow your clientele. At Fora, we teach travel advisors how to build up a client base early in our training program (you can also check out our guide to how travel agents get clients).

    For the bookings themselves, Fora Advisors use tools like our in-house booking platform that dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes to place hotel reservations. They can also use the Vault, a secure system that stores client information, and Forum, our community app that connects advisors so they can easily share tips and intel.

    What does a typical day look like as a travel advisor?

    One of the best parts about being an independent travel agent is that you’ll be able to set up your work schedule in a way that works best for you. Every agent has a different approach. Still, there are common elements. Successful travel advisors tend to split their time between marketing, staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and of course, the actual travel planning itself.


    Marketing is an integral part of any successful travel agent’s career. Without putting yourself out there, your potential clients won’t know that they can book with you, after all. Marketing can take many forms, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated to run a successful business (don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’re a marketing guru). 

    We recommend starting with friends and family to start the foundation of your clientele — and this means that “marketing” can be as easy as an email blast with your family bcc:ed, a message to your fave group chat or a post on social media. There are many successful travel agents who run their entire book of business based on their personal network. 

    If and when you’re ready for more advanced marketing tactics, your time might be spent building and maintaining a website, cultivating a social media presence, running email campaigns and more. It’s not unusual for new and experienced travel agents alike to invest a solid chunk of their time marketing themselves. 

    How Fora helps you market yourself

    At Fora, we’re here to make marketing seamless and easy for you. We provide all Fora Advisors with a customizable profile page on our website, as well as unlimited content creation opportunities on our website to create travel guides that peacock your knowledge. We also have social media and email templates to make sharing the latest travel trends a breeze. Plus, we offer many classes (both live and recorded)  dedicated to teaching Fora Advisors how to market themselves. 

    Diana noted, “The marketing assets are another area where Fora makes life easier for travel advisors. I love that we get a variety of content. This allows us advisors to pick and choose what we want to post about and it means that we are not all posting about the exact same thing.”

    Researching industry topics

    Staying in-the-know is critical to maintaining a competitive edge. Your clients rely on you for the latest intel on what’s trending in travel, so you’ll want to invest time in ongoing education about what’s happening in the industry. 

    The exact amount of time spent researching new openings, attractions and so on will vary by travel advisor and niche. Disney travel agents, for example, need to stay on top of the brand’s constant stream of new hotels, rides and experiences so they’re constantly looking for inspiration from  Disney’s newsletters and press releases. 

    You’ll also spend a good amount of time researching specifically for clients’ trips. This will likely include finding and comparing accommodations, recommendations and so on to provide a tailored report for clients. 

    How Fora helps you stay up to date with travel 

    We’ve got plenty of offerings to make it easy for you to keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends. We have weekly training sessions with debriefs on destinations around the world, as well as partner spotlights. You’ll also have access to Forum, our all-in-one community app where you can search and filter through posts from fellow Fora Advisors and industry insiders. 

    Travel planning with clients

    Of course, your role ultimately comes down to planning and booking travel with clients. Every booking is a little different: sometimes it will be a one-night staycation with a straightforward hotel booking, and other times, it will be a more complex itinerary like a multi-generational trip or honeymoon to a far-flung destination. Many clients will provide a loose idea of what they want out of their trip, and it’s up to their agent to shape it into an unforgettable experience. 

    Your role doesn’t stop at the booking itself… You will communicate with the partner to make sure everything is squared away for the trip, and also check on your clients during and after their trip to ensure everything is going well.

    Start your travel agent career: become a Fora Advisor

    If you have a passion for travel and an entrepreneurial mindset, a travel agent career could be a great fit for you. As your own boss, you’ll be able to dictate your schedule, choose a niche (if you want to) and perhaps above all, help your clients build amazing memories with the trip plans you create.

    When you’re ready to get started, apply to become a Fora Advisor today.

    Travel agent career FAQs

    Below, we’ve collected answers to a few common questions about travel agent careers.

    Will a travel agent career take you around the world? 

    A travel agent career certainly can take you around the world, especially as you become more successful and partners work with you more. It’s certainly a job where you can travel – as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can work from wherever you want. 

    Fora Advisor Beth Kaczka loves the flexibility that a remote role as a travel advisor offers her. 

    “Picture me sitting ​at a breakfast table under an umbrella, overlooking the sparkling Aegean Sea, with the scent of olive trees and Mediterranean herbs lingering in the air​. It's the kind of setting that ignites the soul and fuels the imagination. Here I am, ​mobile phone in hand, soaking in the warmth of the Greek sun while orchestrating a luxurious ​Switzerland escape for a discerning client,” Beth said. “As I hit send on the final details, I can't help but marvel at the wonders of modern technology, which allow me to seamlessly blend work and wanderlust in such an idyllic setting. It's moments like these that remind me why I fell in love with being a travel advisor in the first place — the ability to turn dreams into reality, no matter where in the world I may find myself.”

    Is a travel agent career stressful? Is it fun?

    Like any profession, it can be both stressful and fun. Yes, it can be a little stressful to get your travel agent career off the ground or when a situation goes wrong when your client is abroad. (Learn more about how to deal with a travel snafu). At the same time, travel planning is, well, fun. For one, you get to research exciting destinations, hotels and attractions for a living. Second, you’re selling people happiness and excitement: vacations are often among people’s fondest memories. Both aspects can be extremely rewarding, especially for those with an insatiable wanderlust. 

    Do you have to make travel planning a career? Can you plan travel part-time instead?

    Some host agencies may require full-time commitments, minimum sales quotas or set schedules. Fora does not: you can pursue a full-blown travel agent career or a part-time endeavor. Or, you can also start part-time and work your way up to full-time as you build your business. It’s whatever works best for you. 

    Ultimately, flexibility is one of the best reasons to become a Fora Advisor (and also makes travel planning one of the best remote jobs for moms and dads, if you’re interested).

    How many hours do successful travel agents work?

    It depends on how you define success! You can have a fulfilling career both part-time and full-time — the choice is yours. 

    In terms of revenue earned, it is a commission-based business, so keep in mind that how much you book will also dictate how much you earn. Learn more about how travel agents get paid

    How quickly can I start my travel agent career? 

    Part of the beauty of a career as a travel advisor is that there are many ways to dive right in. As a Fora Advisor, you’ll have access to training as well as resources to make bookings from day one. When you’re ready to get started, apply to join today

    For more in-depth intel, check out our guide to how long it takes to become a travel agent.

    How lucrative is a career as a travel agent?

    How much you earn is dependent on how much you book. Learn more about how Fora Advisors get paid

    It’s worth noting that some domains, like luxury or corporate travel agent niches, tend to be among higher-earning travel agent jobs. As you might expect, these niches tend to have demanding clients (who are willing to pay more for the white glove service).

    What kind of overhead do travel agents have? Are there monthly fees? How about licensing fees?

    A travel advisor’s overhead — the cost they pay to maintain their business — varies. Every advisor sets up their business a bit differently, and you may decide to make different investments than other agents (for example, you might opt for a coworking space, or you might decide you don’t need one). 

    At Fora, our membership cost covers everything you need to run your travel advisor business. 

    Fora’s membership currently costs $299 annually or $49 monthly. With it, Fora Advisors receive access to our expansive network of partners, our in-house booking platform (which dramatically cuts down on booking times), expert-led training, professional marketing tools and more. 

    To learn more, read our guide to how much it costs to become a travel agent, which compares joining Fora to the industry at large.

    Overall: is a travel agent career worth it?

    We think so! If you love travel, working with people and researching awesome destinations and sights, a career as a travel agent can be a great fit for you. If you’re on the fence, we have a guide that presents the pros and cons of being a travel agent.

    More travel agent resources

    Check out the travel advisor resources below for more guides:

    Book with Fora

    Tell us more about yourself to get matched with a Fora Advisor and start planning your dream trip today.

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