Centrav Resources
TA's Share How They Became a Travel Agent

TA’s Share How They Got Their Start

In honor of National Travel Agent Day, May 2nd, we asked travel advisors to share how they got their start in the travel industry. We received HUNDREDS of amazing stories from you and we loved reading each and every one. For some of you, it was the pure love of travel that sparked early on. Others fell into the job by surprise and are living the dream! Whatever the reason, we are proud to serve alongside you in the amazing travel industry as we See the Word and Change the World.

We selected just a few of these stories to share with you!

Travel Agents How They Joined the Travel Industry

“My son is 13 and started losing his vision since birth. We’ve always traveled with him to pack his head full of meaningful memories in hopes he’d remember what we’ve showed him. We were a family of 6 and we struggled but we always made it work. Decided to open my own business in 2018 and call it Meaningful Memories Travel Services to pay homage to my son. He now has just one eye and almost blind in the other. Like I tell people, “you just never know what can happen so make it work.”Leslie Buster, KS

“I always enjoyed traveling to experience different cultures and food. I was introduced to travel by My Uncle Sam (US Army); once that bug bite me I was sick with adventure.” –Dante Cummings, GA

“I became a travel advisor because I love to travel and wanted to help people create happiest memories of their lives. I’m originally from Nigeria and most of my friends/family didn’t value travel/vacationing because it isn’t what most of us grew up doing so I wanted to show them that it’s beneficial, inexpensive and doable even with kids in tow.” –Francisca Olopade, TX

“Do you remember American Airlines jingle? “Something Special in the AIR?” I loved it! All around travel intrigued me. One day years ago, my husband at that time had left me and our two baby girls, 7 months and 3 years old. My babies inspired me! I wanted a career, and an income to support us. I went to school, and graduated with a degree in Travel and Tourism. I have since remarried and had more children. Those two that inspired me are now grown with babies of their own. I now own my agency and I LOVE helping my clients.” –Tonya H., TX

“I became a travel advisor, because of my grandmother. We weren’t rich, but my grandmother wanted me to know that I could go anywhere on Earth and soak up as much culture as I could. From traveling a few hours away from home to landing in the Caribbean, I knew I loved to travel. As a result, I wanted to give others the same fernweh that I have possessed as a child.” –Raven Varnado-Glenn, WI

“A few years ago when my husband and I became empty nesters we disconnected as a couple. In order to get our marriage back on track we decided to travel to several romantic Caribbean destinations. As a result, we found our love for traveling together and fell in love all over again. We then created a blog for empty nesters looking to put the spark back into their relationship through travel. After the success of our blog we decided to turn our passion for traveling to the Caribbean into our dream career and now we specialize in planning unforgettable, fun and romantic experiences for our clients who we affectionately call our VIP’s.” –Celeste P., FL

“On my journey of self-discovery, I stumbled upon the job description of being a travel advisor and I have not looked back ever since. Becoming a travel agent with autism has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. The best part about this job is that I do not feel the need to conform to society’s standards. It has given me the freedom to express my creative side and also use it in a meaningful way. I am able to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas that add value for my company and clients alike.” –Gaelle Vernet, IL

“I’m an extremely independent person, and a 2nd generation agent. My Mom was an agent during my adolescent years, so I remember FAMS to the Caribbean and Canada. Also, I’m not a 9 to 5 type of guy. Travel agent work is never the same two days in a row. Because I’m an amputee, and I’m niched in Special Needs & Seniors travel, I have a more than professional investment in my 23-year old business. For me, this is PERSONAL. My passion for disabled rights has extended to everyday life, as I’ve become an Accessibility Advocate for all.” –Timothy Smalls, PA

“I decided to become a travel advisor to fulfill the desire I had to contribute financially for my family and create a dream life for my husband and three kids. I’ve always been a dreamer and had this dream of traveling the world. Not many career options for homeschooling moms. Becoming a travel advisor gives me all the options. I’m inspired by locations and it makes my dreamer heart fulfilled with all the opportunities possible!” –Kayla Nagely, OR

“I love to travel and since I started traveling and sharing my experiencing by social media, text messages, photos people started asking me to help them with a vacation. I really like to see people travel and experience different places and cultures for the first time and to know I helped them with it made me feel good.” –Kenneth Royster, GA

Ever since I saw a picture of a platypus, I have always wanted to travel! As I did travel, people would hear my stories, see pictures and “wish.” Before retirement from my day job, I decided I wanted to help others see, touch, experience those places and many more. That is my goal, to help you get from here to WOW!” –Jolene Gordo, CA

“I have always been interested in other cultures and venturing to far away places. My dad said to me, “Young lady, you better figure out a way to support your travel habit,” and he directed me to speak with our family travel agent at the time. That was in 1984 and I have been working as an independent travel advisor since then. It’s a happy profession where we make dreams come true, and that fuels my passion for our industry.” –Toni Lanotte-Day, NY

“I come from a small town in Oklahoma. After graduating college I knew there was more to my world than just Oklahoma. I lived as an expat and taught overseas for 8 years. I fell in love with different countries and sought adventure wherever I visited. I learned new languages and embraced myself in new cultures. I have now returned to my hometown and knew I needed to share my experience with others. As a travel agent I help others see the world and plan their own adventure.” -Michele Ramler, OK

“I became a Travel Advisor because I grew up in a family that valued experiencing the world over possessions like having a big house or the latest gadgets. My parents took us to third world countries to show us just how great we had it living in the US and we did the fun things like Disney and beach vacations but I learned so much by traveling and I want everyone else I help to have the same experiences. I think traveling is the BEST thing you can do for your family to teach them about the world and create lasting memories together.” –Kazandra Lewis, OR

“I love traveling and experiencing new places and cultures. I reached out to a fellow TA in October of 2022 and she got me started. It has been a lot to learn in a short amount of time bit I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of finding the best adventures for my clients and living vicariously through their travels. The perks aren’t to bad either. 😉” –Leslie Flemming, TN

“I was an elementary school teacher for 18 years when I decided to be a stay at home mom to my two children. I still had a need to help others like I did when I was in the classroom. I used a travel agent for three of my trips and I loved how he was able to provide us with all the tools we needed to have a memorable family trip with our son who has severe food allergies and I wanted to do that for others. That’s when I decided to become an agent myself. I truly love helping others make memories with their families.” –Christine Wright

“PASSION! When I was a little girl my mom worked for TWA and although a single mom she would take us once or twice a year somewhere and I LOVED the smell of planes, the views, the different weather where we landed, how happy travelers are everywhere you go!! And I didn’t really think TA’s existed anymore so I traveled while building another career until soooo many people said – you should do this. Encouragement from other advisors and leaders, meeting the right people and pure passion has fueled me into a full time travel advisor. So grateful!!” –Hayley Coon, MO

Shawna Levet

Shawna is passionate about helping travel agents grow their business and expand their knowledge as travel experts. She has been in the travel industry since 2011, helping agents and travelers alike find the best negotiated airfare and travel coverage to meet their needs.

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