Working from home as a travel agent is a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those wanting to stay close to home.
Last updated: July 31, 2016
The start-up costs for a travel agency business are not as high as you might expect, and with the right technology at your fingertips, you can provide comparable services just like the big boys.
My name is Jennifer Dugan and I run my own travel agency from home. I was a full-time travel agent for 4 years before I had my first son, Dillon.
I always knew I wanted to be at home with my children but also knew we needed to have as much income coming in as possible. I was considering working from home in some capacity, and then I found out I was pregnant.
I read books and tried a few MLM opportunities. But it just did not seem like I could make enough money.
So after my son was born and only 2 months old, I had to go back to work at least part time. I found a sitter and tried working for 3 months. I was missing my baby – and after paying for a sitter – I realized I had to do something different.
As a Certified Travel Associate, I applied my training and started doing it from home. I didn’t make much money at first, but by cutting back on what I could, I was able to stay afloat and keep working on my business. Fortunately, when my second son, Travis, was born, I didn’t have to worry about maternity leave. I was already at home with him!
First, I contacted my local paper and they did a complimentary article on my business. With that article things began to fall in place. Many people in the local community came forward to support my business. They loved the idea that I was running my own business – and I was providing a great service for the community!
Expand With More Agents
As my business grew, I took on additional agents from all over the country. Some I mentored, as they wanted to get involved in travel but needed guidance and support. Others were attending travel schools, or were already agents and wanted a way to work from home. Currently I have 30 agents working for me.
Operating From Home
I operate my business from my computer. All my agents communicate with me online. Most customer reservations can be booked using an online travel reservation system.
My website is designed such that I can attract customers and initiate travel reservation bookings. My agents can conduct business through the site and customers can get information and look up prices. I’m also offer incentives and special services for my customers.
Watch Your Expenses
I started with a residential line instead of a business line to save on monthly costs. Anything you can do to cut costs in the beginning will help. Monthly expenses have a way of becoming a looming giant, as a good friend of mine found out. She had to close her home business because she just had too many monthly bills.
When you first start up, keep outgoing expenses to a minimum. Too many people fall into the trap of all the things they “need” for their business. Make your own stationary, envelopes and labels with your computer instead of paying for them. Go to garage sales to find things you need for your home office. Watch for businesses that are liquidating inventory and pick up items such as file cabinets, desks, and chairs at bargain prices.
This is truly a great business you can start at home. With networking I was able to connect with others in my field, share ideas, implement business strategies, and ultimately, expand my business. The possibilities are endless with the technology we have today. I am able to work from home and also be with my children. I love it!
- Dugan’s Travels (home-based startup expert)
- The Travel Institute (education and certification)
- American Society of Travel Agents (professional organization)
- Travel Agent Central (trade publication)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Dugan is a Certified Travel Associate and the founder/owner of Los Alamos based Dugan’s Travels. She has authored three books and is featured in “It’s a Mom’s World” by Entrepreneur Magazine. Her passions include traveling, being a mother, community-based involvement, and giving families fun-filled vacations of a lifetime.