How Much Does a Travel Agent Make a Year?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · April 03, 2024 · 7 minute read

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How Much Does a Travel Agent Make a Year?

The median annual pay for travel agents is $46,400, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent data.

Travel is a passion many people share, but not many people are fortunate enough to make their love of travel their full-time job. If someone is skilled at finding the best travel deals and building the perfect vacation itinerary, they may find that working as a travel agent is a rewarding way to earn a living.

To better understand what it’s like to work as a travel agent and how much they earn, keep reading.

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What Are Travel Agents?

Travel agents help their clients plan and book their trips. They may work for an individual client to plan their vacation or a corporate client to book their work travel. No two trips they manage are likely to be exactly the same, but they can help arrange everything from flights to hotels to excursions to dining reservations. Many travel agents can also give their clients access to deals through partner hotels and other travel vendors.

A travel agent can work independently. In-house at a large corporation, or for a major travel company. They may pursue this work full-time or as a side hustle. Given that a significant part of this career involves working with individuals to understand their travel aspirations and needs, it’s likely not a good job for antisocial people.

Travel agents can train in different ways: Some have a bachelor’s degree in an allied field or an associate’s degree in travel and tourism. There are many professional training programs and certifications available, such as ASTA, IATA, TIDS, and CLIA for different dimensions of travel planning.

As part of their work, travel agents may have the opportunity to visit various properties and destinations to make sure they would be a good fit for clients and learn about their selling points. This is often available at a reduced rate or for free and can be a major perk of working as a travel agent.

However, it’s worth noting that travel agents likely have to be available 24/7 and can deal with considerable stress, if, say, a client misses their flight or extreme weather ruins a vacation.

💡 Quick Tip: We love a good spreadsheet, but not everyone feels the same. An online budget planner can give you the same insight into your budgeting and spending at a glance, without the extra effort.

How Much Do Starting Travel Agents Make a Year?

If you’re wondering how much money a travel agent makes, the answer will depend a lot on how experienced the travel agent in question is. For example, entry-level travel agents can earn a lot less than more experienced agents. The lowest 10% of earners in this role make less than $29,650.

The highest 10% make more competitive pay north of $64,100. And there are those travel agents who work in the luxury sector who make considerably more.

Indeed, some could make an annual salary of $100,000 or more.

What is the Average Salary for a Travel Agent?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the latest median pay per year for travel agents is $46,400 and the median hourly pay is $22.31.

Alongside experience, location can majorly impact a travel agent’s earning potential. The following table illustrates how much a travel agent’s average salary can vary by state, arranged from highest to lowest. For example, in New York, travel agents make an average annual salary of $51,002, but in Arkansas, they earn almost $20,000 less at an average of $33,194.

What is the Average Travel Agent Salary by State for 2023

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
New York $51,002 $4,250 $980 $24.52
Pennsylvania $46,702 $3,891 $898 $22.45
New Hampshire $45,667 $3,805 $878 $21.96
New Jersey $44,975 $3,747 $864 $21.62
Wyoming $44,490 $3,707 $855 $21.39
Washington $44,429 $3,702 $854 $21.36
Wisconsin $44,110 $3,675 $848 $21.21
Massachusetts $44,109 $3,675 $848 $21.21
Alaska $43,993 $3,666 $846 $21.15
Oregon $43,637 $3,636 $839 $20.98
Indiana $43,568 $3,630 $837 $20.95
North Dakota $43,557 $3,629 $837 $20.94
Hawaii $42,711 $3,559 $821 $20.53
Arizona $42,667 $3,555 $820 $20.51
New Mexico $42,402 $3,533 $815 $20.39
Colorado $42,122 $3,510 $810 $20.25
Minnesota $42,111 $3,509 $809 $20.25
Montana $42,024 $3,502 $808 $20.20
Nevada $41,598 $3,466 $799 $20.00
Alabama $41,499 $3,458 $798 $19.95
South Dakota $41,167 $3,430 $791 $19.79
Vermont $41,101 $3,425 $790 $19.76
Ohio $41,077 $3,423 $789 $19.75
Rhode Island $40,418 $3,368 $777 $19.43
Iowa $39,934 $3,327 $767 $19.20
Delaware $39,881 $3,323 $766 $19.17
Connecticut $39,806 $3,317 $765 $19.14
Virginia $39,419 $3,284 $758 $18.95
Mississippi $39,257 $3,271 $754 $18.87
Tennessee $39,219 $3,268 $754 $18.86
Utah $39,017 $3,251 $750 $18.76
Illinois $38,900 $3,241 $748 $18.70
Georgia $38,659 $3,221 $743 $18.59
Maryland $38,651 $3,220 $743 $18.58
California $38,534 $3,211 $741 $18.53
Nebraska $37,909 $3,159 $729 $18.23
Maine $37,734 $3,144 $725 $18.14
Missouri $37,456 $3,121 $720 $18.01
South Carolina $37,087 $3,090 $713 $17.83
Kansas $36,952 $3,079 $710 $17.77
Idaho $36,789 $3,065 $707 $17.69
Louisiana $36,765 $3,063 $707 $17.68
Oklahoma $36,712 $3,059 $706 $17.65
Texas $36,475 $3,039 $701 $17.54
North Carolina $36,322 $3,026 $698 $17.46
West Virginia $36,068 $3,005 $693 $17.34
Kentucky $34,977 $2,914 $672 $16.82
Michigan $34,895 $2,907 $671 $16.78
Florida $34,212 $2,851 $657 $16.45
Arkansas $33,194 $2,766 $638 $15.96

Source: ZipRecruiter

Travel Agent Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

Working as a travel agent can be very flexible. While full-time positions are available in this role, some travel agents choose to work part-time or for themselves as entrepreneurs.

When working full-time for a travel advisory firm, travel agents can expect to gain access to benefits like health insurance and retirement contribution matching. If they work part-time or are self-employed, they will need to provide themselves with those benefits, which can eat into their take-home pay.

💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Pros and Cons of Travel Agent Salary

The main disadvantage of a travel agent’s salary is that the median annual salary is on the lower side at just $46,400. That being said, one of the main advantages of this salary is that it can come with hefty bonuses based on travel bookings with partners that offer commissions to travel agents. Also, travel agents often get discounts and freebies as they themselves travel to check out new resorts and attractions.

Travel agents who work for themselves can also choose to set their own rates and can potentially earn more. Or those who cater to high net-worth individuals may be able to raise their income.

Recommended: Work-from-Home Jobs for Retirees

The Takeaway

A travel agent who is super organized and passionate about travel can help make their client’s lives easier and their trips more enjoyable. In exchange for their savviness, some travel agents earn good salaries doing work that they truly enjoy and have perks that involve more travel at lower or no cost for their own purposes.

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Can you make 100k a year as a travel agent?

While most travel agents don’t earn $100,000 per year, those who choose to work for themselves and set their own rates or cater to an elite clientele can possibly make six figures. Many travel agents work on commission, so they can also stand to earn more if their clients book a lot of expensive trips.

Do people like being a travel agent?

Many people like working as a travel agent because it’s a fun way to put their love of travel to use. It tends to be a good job for those who consider themselves to be a “people person” since there’s lots of interaction with clients. Also, it’s good for people who can “roll with the punches” since travel plans often change for various reasons.

Is it hard to get hired as a travel agent?

The demand for travel agents is on par with the average of other professions. So, while it’s not seeing a surge in need, there should be availability of jobs as a travel agent.

Photo credit: iStock/Dimensions

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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.


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