The travel business is not what it was once was. The main function of a travel agent used to be to let you know what flights were available and at what time, and to issue the ticket. For that service, the agent got a commission from the airline. With the advent of the Internet and online booking, travel agents are not needed to provide that service. Today travel agents must specialize in tours, cruises, holiday packages, hotel packages etc. in order to stay in business [source: BLS]. Some agents specialize in tours in certain parts of the world or specific countries. As an agent, you will have to decide if you want to be independent or work for another agent. Do you want to specialize in corporate and business travel or leisure travel? Once you decide on your niche, you'll be ready to start your own travel agency business.

Here's how to start a travel agency business:

  1. Register your business name with your state's Secretary of State.
  2. Inquire whether you need a license to operate as a travel agent. The law varies from state to state.
  3. Try to join the International Air Travel Association (IATA) or any other recognized travel association.
  4. Make sure you're knowledgeable about the travel industry.
  5. Hook up with a good and reputable travel company. Spend some time in that company's office learning about their services and specialties.
  6. Once you feel confident that you know the business, set up your own Web site describing what you do and how you can help clients.
  7. Advertise as much as possible. The competition is fierce and all you have to offer over your competitor is your service and know-how [source: Srivastava].