How To Be An Independent Travel Agent

Sep 28, 2023 | Aspiring travel agents, Launch a travel business, Travel Business

Discover the ins and outs of setting up as an independent travel agent, from legalities to supplier relationships so you can earn 100% of the commissions you make.


It’s time to start the career of your dreams as a travel agent. Which means, it’s also time for the fun of having your job revolve around fantastic locales and experiences. For the satisfaction of helping people have the trip of a lifetime. For the excitement of discounts on your own travel.

…For part of your commissions to be handed over to a host agency?

If you’re a budding travel professional, that last one is NOT part of the dream you’re trying to live. You want the full freedom to set your own goals and hours, to not have to be under anybody else’s umbrella, and to bring home the entirety of the commissions you earn. And that means becoming an independent travel agent.


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Set Up Your Travel Agent Business

The journey to becoming an independent travel agent starts with some foundational steps. First things first – you need to get your business set up. Whether it's an LLC, partnership, or S corp, consult with an attorney to register your business in your state and pick a catchy name that resonates with you and who you want to work with.

Next is, you need to set up your travel agency. Yes, even if you’re just a one-person shop, you’re still going to operate as an agent within your agency. To do this, you’ll need to get your agency credentials and then list yourself as an agent under your agency.


Travel Agent Paperwork and Operations

Now, with the business side sorted, it's time to tackle logistics. In Careers on Vacation, we provide all of our students with their own Wander Path, which is a comprehensive guide covering legalities, insurance, and other crucial aspects of setting up as an independent agent.

Launching your business involves strategic planning. You need a training plan, knowledge of various technologies, and a marketing infrastructure. Each of these depends on your unique goals and niche within the travel industry but at a high level, you’ll want to make sure you have in place:

  • Legal paperwork
  • Proper insurance
  • Systems for operating like training, technology, CRM and bookings
  • Business bank account


Build Relationships with Suppliers

Now, before you can sell dream vacations, you must establish relationships with travel suppliers. This involves finding all the suppliers that you want to do business with and then registering your agency credentials with them. Registering usually means filling out the required paperwork and having a business bank account to receive those coveted commission checks. Be prepared for this process to take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.


Getting Support to Become an Independent Travel Agent

Feeling overwhelmed? We get it. The travel industry can feel like a maze, but fear not – we're here to help. At Wanderlust Campus, we help independent travel agents evaluate their goals and choose their right path – whether that means going solo or opting for a hybrid approach. Our Wander Paths provide access to our vetted supplier lists, setup checklists and industry partners, so you can be sure you’ll have support every step of the way.

Whether you choose to go it alone or seek guidance from Wanderlust Campus, the key is to take a deep breath, evaluate your goals, and drown out the noise.

The travel industry is waiting for your unique touch, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

Last quick reminder, if you're ready to explore the exciting world of becoming an independent travel agent, take our free master class at It's a one-hour session that covers all you need to know about being independent, working for someone else or taking a hybrid approach.

Let's embark on this adventure together!


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