How To Become An Independent Travel Agent

by | Special Education Teacher, Learning

How To Become A Travel Agent Without Experience 

Are you a frustrated teacher or just someone interested in how to become an independent travel agent? Do you want a side hustle that has great potential?

If you love to travel and think you would enjoy helping others travel too, I have the perfect teacher who will share how to become an independent travel agent.

That’s right! Dr. Andrea Walker, a special education teacher will give you the complete 411 on how to become an independent travel agent. 

I can 100% vouch for this being a tried and true side hustle that can work for anyone including teachers still working full-time.

However, like life and especially in business: YOU are in charge of your success. 

One reason I love highlighting teachers having success in business is that too many of us (me included at one point) only think of ourselves as “just a teacher.”

We are so much more! Many of us don’t realize it. 

So, if we can see other teachers venturing into entrepreneurship and being successful, then we will be more likely to believe that we too can be successful in these endeavors. 

Let’s dig into how to become an independent travel agent with Andrea Walker. 

how to become an independent travel agent

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the travel industry?

My name is Dr. Andrea Walker. I have been in education for the last 15 years with 13 being in all areas of special education.  

The travel industry is not new to me. In 1996, I graduated with an associate’s degree in sales with a major in Travel & Tourism. I worked as a travel agent in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting until early 2002. 

While I didn’t want to leave the industry then, the bottom had fallen out of the travel industry after the September 11 attacks, and my husband was relocated. 

After completing my doctorate in education, I wanted something to fill the extra time I had. 

So, becoming a remote travel agent was perfect because I already had some knowledge of the industry and I wanted to travel more.

2. How does it all work? Explain to us (teachers) how to become a travel agent without experience. 

The process is pretty easy. 

Anyone, despite experience, can apply to one of the many recruiters/travel trainers advertising the business or you ask your independent travel agent to become one.  

After you reach out, that person will become your mentor/travel trainer. They will invite you to a live informational webinar to learn more about the business, the requirements etc.  

After completing the webinar, your mentor will give you a referral link. Use that link to enroll and get started.

3. What type of work is involved?

The short answer is booking amazing vacations for customers.  

The long answer is conducting research, planning, providing great customer service, problem-solving, and being accessible.

4. Can this be done while still working a full-time teacher job? (Can you make a living as a travel agent, replacing my full-time income?) 

Yes, this can absolutely be done part-time while working another full-time position.  

When I began this journey in October 2021, it was strictly on a very limited part-time basis.  

I like to say that I “played at it” or “dabbled” a little so that I could enjoy the travel perks and tax benefits.  

This became full-time for me unexpectedly due to a health concern. I have been able to replace my traditional teaching salary and some, working fewer hours.  

Full-time is considered 5-7 hours a day, vs 10-12+ hours a day in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting.

One can work as little as 10 hours a week part-time to 25-30 hours a week full-time.  I personally put in about 15-18 hours a week and I am making great money.

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5. How do you manage your time working your business while working full-time?

You have to be organized. Because of the flexibility of being a travel agent, it’s easy to fall into the “I will do that later” rut.  

Don’t do that!  

Have “office” hours and stick to them.  For me, I set aside an hour a day, then on the weekends, I spend 3-4 hours on Saturday and Sunday prepping for the next week.  

6. How much money can I make being a travel agent? What is an average independent travel agent’s salary?

The amount a travel agent makes depends on how much they put into it. 

We have agents that don’t do anything but become an agent for the perks alone. While there are other agents who are selling $1 million dollars a year.  

Because this is commission based, the breakdown is simple. Agents can earn 70-80% of the gross commission depending on the host agency.  

Remember teacher friends:  YOU are in charge of your success and how much money you make!

7. How Does An Independent Travel Agent Get Paid?

This is a 1099 contract commission industry.  The “how” we get paid is based on built-in commissions set by the vendor. 

This means travel agents do NOT have to charge fees for our services.  For example, you book a hotel room via Expedia. 

When you, the consumer, book on your own, you get a confirmation number and the vendor keeps the built-in commission.  This equates to them increasing their bottom line through “free labor”. 

When a travel agent books that same trip, we get a confirmation for our clients, the built-in commission.

The client gets the added value of having the agent research trips cost, taking care of booking, and someone to troubleshoot potential issues that arise before or during their trip.

8. How Much Money Will You Need Upfront to Get Started?

The initial investment varies depending on the host agency. My host agency, Archer Travel, is normally $369.95 but has a limited-time special of $69.95. 

They are people over profits and want to ensure everyone has an opportunity to succeed in a stressed economy.

9. What Type of Person Do You Think This Job Is Best Suitable For?

Most individuals are suited for this as a side gig and even full-time employment.  

Some characteristics that make it easier for you to be successful are organization, being customer service oriented, persistence, consistency, being coachable/trainable, and being motivated.

If you find out that the travel industry is not for you, make sure to check out one of my most popular articles, 35+ Best Teacher Side Hustles That Can Lead To Full-Time Income.  

10. Do you help others get started in this industry?

Yes, I can help you get started in the business. I would then remain that person’s mentor/travel trainer. 

There are a few ways that a potential agent can reach me. I’ll be sure to give Cindy all that information to share.


In fact, you can call her at 229-938-3401 (In my students’ voice, “Where they do that at? (Give out their number online.)) LOL!

Then I remembered, she is running a legit business making money! LOL! She can afford to have a business phone.

You can also connect with Andrea on Facebook and Instagram @andilandadventures if you have more questions about how to become an independent travel agent. 

You can find her website here

Wrap-Up How To Become An Independent Travel Agent

I had so many more questions for Andrea. 

For example, if I wanted to get into the travel business, how do I sell myself as a travel agent? What business structure would I use if I became an independent travel agent?

I feel like I know the answer to the second question.

Although you can operate as a sole proprietor, I suggest setting up your business formation, which can be done here ( correctly, easily, and hassle-free), and opening a bank account.

I decided not to wear my welcome out, pulse I am hoping to interview her for my Youtube channel soon and I want you to have a reason to reach out to her.

In fact, here is her number again just in case: 229-938-3401.

You can also connect with Andrea on Facebook and Instagram @andilandadventures if you have more questions about how to become an independent travel agent. 

You can also check out her travel and booking website here.

Thank You!

Dr. Andrea Walker thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your knowledge of how to become an independent travel agent. 

It is teachers like you who inspire and give hope to other frustrated teachers who want to create options for themselves- whether inside or outside the classroom. 

Other Articles of Interest

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Advertising Disclosure: A few links in this article may contain affiliate links. I earn a small amount of commission if you decide to go with my recommendation at NO COST to you. I recommend services that I trust and that is why there are very few in my articles. Funds are used to continue to grow my micro-school.


  1. Cat Miller

    This was so helpful and amazing!!! Thank you!!

    • Cindy Lumpkin

      That makes me smile!!!! Please come back and share about your school when its up and running. Don’t give up!!


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