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Becoming an Agent

Starting your own travel business is not hard to do. We will break it down to four simple steps.

Step One – Self Assessment

  • Do you love to travel?
  • Do you like helping other people?
  • Do you like learning about new and exotic destinations?
  • Are you self-motivated to work toward financial success for yourself and your family?

If your answers to one or more of the above questions is “yes”, then you are qualified to become a home-based travel agent! Self-motivated people who are passionate about travel and helping others are exactly the type of people that succeed at selling travel. There are no prerequisite educational requirements for entering the travel industry.

Step Two – Understanding Licensing, Affiliations and Agencies


The most asked question regarding entering the travel industry is, “Do I need a license to be a travel agent?” The short answer is, “In most states, NO, you don’t.” Currently, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, and Washington have requirements for travel agents to register, post bonds or contribute to a state restitution fund. Most other states have no special licensing requirements to sell travel products. Check with your local state business offices to check for specific requirements. Just like opening any other business, you will probably have to register a business name with your city or county. Again, simply check with your local taxing authority to determine what documents you will need to do business in your city.


Most travel vendors and suppliers (cruise lines, tour operators, all-inclusive resorts, etc.), will require that you have certain affiliations or credentials before they will allow you to sell their products. The main credentialing agencies are ARC, CLIA, and IATAN. Each of these organizations require proof of sales volume or industry experience in order to issue their credentials. Newcomers to the industry may not be able to obtain these affiliations and credentials until they have been in the business for 1-2 years. So, if you are not able to get these credentials until you have been in the business, but cannot do business until you have the credentials, how do you get into the travel industry? There are basically two paths into the travel industry.


    • The first way to enter the travel industry is by working for an existing agency. This will give you time to learn and sell travel but will also limit your ability to earn top commissions and experience the freedom of working your own hours and owning your own business.
    • The second, and most common way for individuals to establish their own travel business and gain access to the related benefits of ARC, CLIA, and IATAN affiliations is to function as an Independent Contractor with a good host agency.

What is a Host Agency?

The concept of the Host Agency/Independent Contractor’s (IC) working relationship is similar to the business model of a “real estate” agent working with a broker.  The broker, as well as the Host Agency, is looking to their agent to sell a product or service and share in the sales commission earned. Although in our business model, you are selling to your clients under your own DBA – travel business trade name.

The host agency provides you, the Independent Contractor, an easier entry into the travel business by:

  • Sharing the benefits of their conference appointments, ARC-CLIA-IATA, which require bonding, years of industry work experience, testing, and continuing education.
  • Providing access to continuing training programs
  • Providing office & technical support, backup, industry travel vendor contacts etc., to enable you to spend productive time in developing sales and earning most of the commission (70%) for your efforts
  • Handling invoicing, ticketing, and sharing booking knowledge
  • Supporting you every step of the way to help you succeed in your new business endeavor

When conducting your research into starting a home-based travel business, it is very important that you consider the advantages of working with a HOST agency that specializes in working with new entrepreneurs. You will have a lot of questions when you first enter this industry and need someone who will take the time to explain how things work. Do not be surprised from your research findings that many host agencies are NOT interested in working with new entrepreneurs and only want to sign with experienced agents that have an established clientele. This is where LTA Central really shines as a host agency. LTA Central’s staff has the education, training, experience, and desire to help you succeed.

Step Three – Evaluating a Good Host Agency

As mentioned before, becoming affiliated with a good host agency is vital to your success as a new home-based travel business owner. You will be much more likely to succeed if you have someone who is willing and able to help you learn the ropes of the travel industry. At the beginning, you will need to learn about travel destinations, reservation booking procedures, tour operators and what they have to offer, cruise line policies and procedures, how to find the best deals for your clients, how to find clients, how to find groups, how to sell group travel, special group travel requirements, and more. Being affiliated with a good host agency who specializes in helping new business owners will save you money, shorten your learning curve, and help you to establish a successful home-based travel business.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is the host agency recognized by ARC, CLIA, and IATA?
  • Does the host agency have a good reputation with travel vendors?
  • Is the host agency staffed by people who are experienced, knowledgeable, and willing to take time with new home-based travel agents to help them succeed?
  • How long has the host agency been in business?
  • What type of training does the host agency offer?
  • What is the cost for joining the host agency?

Since 1974, we have been helping people, just like you, get a solid start in the travel industry. Host agency affiliation as an independent contractor with LTA Central includes access to our full appointment credentials with ARC, CLIA, IATAN, and others. You will also benefit from the relationships that we have built with the major travel providers and their local representatives. We also provide access to our special New Owner’s Training, Travel Industry Reference Guide, product training, vendor training, travel agent familiarization trips, phone support and office support that includes invoicing, ticketing and help with research tips that will help you provide the best value to your clients.

Startup Costs

While other host agencies charge an average of $495 or more for access to their agency services, LTA Central wants you to be able to get started with minimal expense. Below are our current startup costs.

Initial Investment: $175*

A pre-payment of $175 is required to join our travel program. This amount would apply to a single owner, partnership or corporation and permits the issuance of one TRAMS account number, one reference guide, a New Entrepreneurs Orientation session at LTA Central offices, and a single name registration with IATAN. *Note: The annual renewal fee ($100) beginning with the first anniversary sign-up date is waived if the IC has earned a minimum of $600 in sales commissions via LTA Central in the previous year.

Travel Agent’s Professional Liability Insurance (Errors & Omissions): $100

For your protection, LTA Central requires you to participate in either the LTA Central E&O program (the most economical way to cover yourself), in which you are charged for the E&O coverage provided via the LTA Central umbrella policy, or you may purchase your own E&O insurance and add LTA Central to your policy as an additional insured. If you purchase your own E&O and include LTA Central under your coverage, the LTA Central fee of $100 is waived.

Step Four – How Do I Get Started Today?

1) Call our office at 713-785-2682

2) Set up a date for your New Owner’s Training

3) Start enjoying your new home-based travel business!

If you have further questions or would like to know more about our Home-Based Travel Business Program, please give us a call or send an email. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.

Benefits of Working With LTA Central

Receive Enhanced Commissions, Education, Training and Networking, Managed Consumer Marketing, Access to Technology and much more

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LTA Central has enhanced commission programs with travel suppliers. Simply stated, you will have opportunities for and access to enhanced pricing and enhanced commissions.