A few weeks ago I was eating breakfast with my friend Sandy. When talk turned to travel, I quickly realized how skilled she was at sleuthing out great travel deals. “You should be a travel agent,” I told her. 

As it turns out, I’m not the first friend to have told her this. So, when Sandy admitted that she secretly harbored a desire to become an agent but had no idea how to get started, I offered to introduce her to respected Virtuoso travel advisor, Susan Kelly, owner/agent at Luxury Adventure Trips and my personal go-to gal for trip planning for the past fifteen years. 

Have you ever wondered what it would take to get started in a career as a travel agent? I asked Susan if she’d be willing to share with Sandy her thoughts on how, if she were starting today, she would go about it. In typically generous Susan style, she not only encouraged Sandy to go for it, but also allowed me to publish her insider tips and recommendations.

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Luxury adventure travel advisor, Susan Kelly, on safari at Okonjima/Africat, Namibia.Editor’s note: What follows is an e-mailed reply by travel advisor, Susan Kelly, to a reader’s question about how to become a travel agent.  

Hello Sandy,

Congratulations on wanting to enter the exciting world of travel. I’ve been thinking about how to best answer your question regarding getting started. There is so much to know about the industry. After 25+ years as a travel advisor, I’m still learning and that’s what I love about my career; I never stop learning about the world. Plus, I’ve met some wonderful people, like Ellen.

There are many resources out there for becoming a travel agent. Here are three with proven track records and trusted credentials that I would recommend.

1.  The Travel Institute

This is the “college” of knowledge for new and seasoned travel professionals. They are celebrating their 50th year in teaching and are consistently updating their training courses to reflect the ever-changing industry. If you want to learn more about becoming a Travel Agent, there is an upcoming webinar on April 22, 2014.

2. The Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE)

I joined this organization when it first came on the scene about three years ago. Founder and CEO Meredith Hill is a seeker and she covers everything from the law of attraction to basic budgeting. She has a proven plan, from her experience as a successful agency owner, for how to make money in the travel industry. If I had had her advice when I first entered the industry, I could be a millionaire today.  

On her recent Monthly Mentoring call, Meredith asked the question: “What is your medicine?”  In other words, what is it that you are great at that your target market needs? My instant answer was that I am great at international airfares and passionate about small ship expedition and luxury cruises. What is your “medicine” that you want to bring to your clients as a Travel Professional? The Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs can help you figure that out for as little as $19.99 a month.

Gain access to exclusive programs and discounts by using the affiliate links below to sign up. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions about this program. I’d be happy to share my experiences. There are a variety of ways to participate. I was enrolled in TESA (Travel Entrepreneur’s Success Academy), which I’m planning to rejoin, but for now I’m in the basic GIFTE program.

I also highly recommend investing in the “Make Money Selling Travel Blueprint (MMSTB)” program. Meredith occasionally offers specials to purchase this program and there is one available now. If you purchase the MMSTB by April 30, 2014, the discounted cost is $497, including her Two Day Think Tank Retreat which will knock your socks off. The next one is titled “Invisible to Invincible: Time to Revolutionize the Travel Agent Profession”and is in Toronto, Canada, June 22-23, 2014.

Here are my affiliate links:

GIFTE membership: https://fz141.infusionsoft.com/go/GIFTE/cruzinsusan/

MMSTB: https://fz141.infusionsoft.com/go/MMSTB/cruzinsusan/

(Be sure to listen to her video)


There’s also a

 Home Based Travel Agent Forum

 coming up in Las Vegas, 

June 16 - 18, 2014

. If you want to learn about the industry and have the opportunity to talk with suppliers and agents, this would be a great place to start. Here’s a link to learn more about the convention: 


Welcome to the world of selling travel. I hope to meet you at the next gathering of travel professionals and explore the world together soon.

Susan Kelly, Luxury Travel Advisor.

About Susan Kelly:

For nearly three decades, professional travel advisor Susan Kelly has had the pleasure of helping travelers who are curious about wildlife and foreign cultures to plan and enjoy exceptional vacations. As the owner of Travel Designs, an independent affiliate of Virtuoso Agency Travel Experts, Inc., she has developed a vast network of trusted global adventure contacts to help travelers create profound and safe experiences that wow them every time. For information and services, visit LuxuryAdventureTrips.com or call 206-361-7334.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".