I believed it before and now, I know more than ever: Work at home travel agent career options are here to stay.
Travel careers are an awesome possibility for people who love to work from wherever they want to, and ALSO love to travel the world.
Not to be confused with digital nomads, home-based travel agents work from a steady location (their house, not to state the obvious). However, they get to travel all over to the world while helping their clients have great vacation experience-based first-hand destination knowledge.
In this article, we’re going learn from Dawn Strauss Berta who’s on the scene as a remote travel advisor.
She was nice enough to meet with me recently at 8 p.m. on a Thursday to explain what it’s like having a career in travel.
We talked about how to get started, and some pros and cons that might help you decide if you should consider a remote travel job!
YamteQ: Dawn- it’s so nice to meet you and thanks for much for joining me so late in the evening! We’re both balancing family life and work so we’re on the same page. I wanted to talk with you and share our convo with my readers so they can gain insight on a potential remote career opportunity.
Can you tell me about yourself?
Dawn: Of course! I’m originally from New Jersey, so I went to Jersey City University. I’m also a violinist.
Straight out of college, I got a job teaching in an inner-city school. I loved the kids but I did not like being a teacher. I resigned after not even a full school year.
My next step was to go to Iowa where I went to Chiropractic college, had my first baby and graduated. I tried teaching violin but that was hard to do with a baby. I’ve been able to work on various projects, for example owning a chiropractic practice and using my science background to teach online healthcare and nursing students’ classes as an adjunct professor.
YamteQ: How did you get into the travel industry?
Dawn: It all started when I was researching colleges to teach at and came across teaching English as a Second Language online. I signed up and I do enjoy it, but the hours are hard! The students are in Asia and there’s a fourteen-hour time difference between them and the central time zone where I’m located. Because of this, I often have to start teaching at 5 a.m. my time.
But, I’ve enjoyed the work and I met a friend through it that happened to open a travel business. I have always loved to travel, and in fact, one of my goals was always to travel outside of the country with my kids. So, I decided to give it a try.
After some time, my travel business is growing, so I’m now teaching less.
YamteQ: What do you like most about being a travel professional?
Dawn: It’s like a dream for me. I used to spend hours planning my own trips- fantasy trips, actually, that I knew I’d never take. Now, I get to plan trips for other people that they’ll actually take. So the planning has a purpose–and I get paid.
YamteQ: What’s it actually like to be a remote travel advisor? Like, where do you start and what do you need to get to work? And what are the hours like?
Dawn: When I became a travel agent, I joined a company that provided me with everything I needed – my website, training, and other resources. It’s 100% from home, online, and I work whenever I want to. There are online groups where a lot of communication goes on so even though you’re remote you’re not alone. All of the agents specialize in different things and they support each other. I specialize in all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica and Mexico.
Something really cool is that we get vendor training from major tourism companies like Disney, Marriot, and well-known cruise lines. We also get discounts on trips that we take to get to know the destinations better. That’s really cool but on top of that, we even get a commission on the trips we book for ourselves.
Another aspect of getting started is that there are nominal fees to join and get started. If you’re interested in getting started with this kind of work, you should be ready to make a small investment.
YamteQ: That makes sense, especially if it’s a reasonable amount and you’re getting the website and all of this support to start with. Now, one question a lot of our readers will want the answer to is: Do remote agents need to be residents of the United States? Is there any option for non-US residents?
Dawn: At the moment, residents of the US, Mexico, the UK, and some Carribean islands can join. There’s been some talk about adding Germany and Spain, soon. Unfortunately, it’s not open to residents of Canada.
It’s necessary to keep in mind that agents have to be living in their country of residence for at least six months of the year.
YamteQ: Now, for another big question. How much can remote travel advisors expect to earn when they’re getting started out vs. having some experience?
Dawn: This is totally up to the person; how much time and work they put in. Commissions vary. The company gets ten percent of the cost of the trip, and then the agent gets seventy to eighty percent of the ten percent. Also, you get more or less for different kinds of travel.
YamteQ: How does getting paid work?
Dawn: You are paid the commission after your clients’ travel takes place. That payment comes about 60 days after.
YamteQ: Are there any downsides to being a work at home travel agent?
Dawn: Having to wait to get paid is a downside. Also, not having an office to go to and work can be considered a downside to it and of working from home in general, but that depends on the person.
YamteQ: Totally, there are people that don’t like working at home because of this, but that’s not an issue for most of the people that visit our website! Can you tell us about the most exciting trip this you’ve taken during your travel career?
Dawn: I got to visit Costa Mujeres when I was doing online training on travel planning to Mexico. I’d always wanted to go to Mexico but in the past, I’d been nervous about visiting.
Costa Mujeres is and up and coming area situated north of Cancun. It’s not totally built up so it’s not crowded yet. The rates to travel there were great. We went with our youngest daughter. It was quiet and great.
YamteQ: That sounds awesome! So Dawn, how can someone that’s interested in a remote travel agent position get in touch with you or find out more?
Dawn: You can find me at a number of places online:
For anyone that wants to start their travel career, I provide mentoring, training, and a supportive online environment. All of our team meetings and other sessions are virtual but recently, we’ve been planning a group trip.
If someone is wondering if this is a job that they should consider, they’d need to ask themselves a few things:
- Do you like continuous learning? Do you have time to do the training?
- Do you like to travel? Do you like researching travel, itineraries, etc.?
- Are you patient? You need to give yourself time to get started, and also for the commissions to start coming in.
For some, an opportunity as a remote independent travel will be a no-brainer, for others, you may want to do some more research on the travel industry to make a decision.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics website will have some information for you to consider, but keep in mind that they typically report on employee data and that information will not accurately reflect the outlook for contractors or independent travel agents.
Another way to conduct research is to follow travel industry news and publications like Travel Weekly.
I’d like to thank Dawn for the time she’s taken to inform us about this really cool career option. It’s great to meet accomplished remote workers like you and, quite frankly, it’s inspiring! I wish you all the best in your travel career and look forward to hearing further developments from you.