I still remember what it was like as a travel agent. The first three months were a steep learning curve, and I made many mistakes along the way and spent countless hours trying to fix things that had gone belly up.

It was a tough start, and it remained a tough job all throughout my career.

Of course, I had the most amazing times too, and being a travel agent is awesome – as most jobs in the travel industry are.

But it is definitely NOT easy.

Here’s why…


Lunch breaks? Pff – as if!


Lunch breaks are like mirages in the travel agency.

You can see them over there in the distance, hovering between 12pm and 1pm. But the closer you get to midday, the further that picture of you tucking into your roll or last night’s stir fry recedes, until eventually it’s 3pm and you’re left with no other option bar ducking into the back room and cramming your lunch into your mouth in 30 seconds flat!

I wouldn’t really call that lunch now. Would you?!


You can work without getting paid…


This one stings the most, as no one likes doing work for free.

Travel agents need to be able to pick themselves up – again and again – after spending time and effort on an itinerary that’s inevitably booked online or with a competitor.

It won’t happy all the time, but it will happen.


The stress all adds up


All jobs have their own levels of stress. But travel agents have to put up with quite a lot of the stuff during an average day in the office.

It’s a lot of responsibility to have someone’s holiday on your shoulders. They would’ve been planning and saving up for it for ages, and if you get things wrong, you’ll just ruin it all.

This is the stuff that flightmares are made out of…


Working with a hangover is hard…


Everyone has had to rock up at work sporting a hangover at least once in their life.

In most industries, being hungover at work once every couple of weeks is about the norm. But in the travel industry, where we like to work hard and play harder, that rate jumps up to about two or three days a week!


Long hours & always on call


Although agents are only meant to work set hours, it’s not uncommon for many to stay back or come in early to finish putting that itinerary together and holding everything in.

Oh, and don’t expect to be able to get away from work on your day off. You’ll receive phone calls from your boss or work mates asking about Mr. Jones’s booking that they just can’t find in the system…

What aspects of being a travel agent do you find particularly challenging? Tell us in the comments below…