Travel Jobs

According to the Hcareers website, the travel and tourism industry brings in more than $1 trillion in the United States and provides millions of jobs to workers. You could pursue a career that helps fulfill a love of traveling, or you could work with customers and help ensure that they have enjoyable travel experiences. Hospitality careers encompass several travel-related jobs.

To enter the travel industry, you will likely require a college degree. “On the hiring side, there’s a distinct trend in employers looking for candidates with post-secondary degrees and diplomas in hospitality and foodservice-related disciplines,” Jordan Romoff of Lecours Wolfson, a hospitality recruiting service, explained to Hcareers.

Flight Attendant

A flight attendant’s presence is required by law to help keep the public safe on major airlines. They consult with the captain in charge, about security measures and any other issues related to passengers and ensure that emergency equipment is on the airplane and that the cabin has all necessary supplies. They also explain to passengers how to use safety equipment.

While security and safety are their main focus, they also strive to keep passengers comfortable during their trip, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explained. If passengers become nervous during adverse flying conditions, flight attendants help reassure them. They also pay special attention to any children or elderly passengers requiring assistance and serve food or beverages during the flight.

Communications, psychology, travel and tourism and even, education are good college majors to pursue if you’re interested in working as a flight attendant. Foreign language experience is also helpful. Once you are hired, you will also undergo some formal training by your employer and you must receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that you are fully prepared to carry out emergency and security procedures, if necessary.

Flight attendants earned an average of $35,930 in May 2008; salaries ranged from $28,420 to $49,910. Employment is expected to grow eight percent during the 2008-2018 decade.

Travel Agent

Travel agents aim to help their clients simplify the process of planning a trip. They advise customers on the details of the destination they plan to visit, including particulars about weather, local customs, currency exchange and legal documentation required, and help make arrangements and put plans in place. Often, travel agents specialize in certain types of travel, such as a particular region, or they work with particular groups such as the elderly. The job may involve a fair amount of traveling, as some agents prefer to make recommendations only after they have experienced a hotel or other establishment for themselves. Plenty of computer work and telephone time is also necessary. Many agencies prefer that, to work as a travel agent, a person receive specific training in the field. Public education programs often serve as the vehicle for obtaining this training but a few colleges and universities also have travel and tourism programs applicable to the profession.

As of May 2008, travel agents earned $30,570; incomes ranged from $23,940 and $38,390. During the 2008-2018 decade, little change in employment rates is expected for travel agents. However, people who specialize in certain types of travel will likely have the best chance for success, the BLS estimated.


Knowledge of language is important in a globalized world. Interpreters and translators can aid travelers with language differences and ensure that they are able to communicate effectively with others around them. They don’t just translate from one language to another, however. They are also responsible for helping “relay concepts and ideas between languages,” the BLS noted. A certain sensitivity for, and awareness of, other cultures is necessary.

Interpreters work while someone is speaking and convert the words they are using. Translators are skilled at converting written materials from one language into another. To work in either occupation, a person will have to know at least two languages; in fact, many grew up speaking two languages, although this is not required. A language degree isn’t always necessary but special training in how to perform the work could be mandatory. The employment rate is growing considerably, but your employment chances may depend on the language you speak and your specialty. Earnings averaged $38,850 in May 2008, and ranged from $28,940 to $52,240.

Tour Guide

Tour guides or escorts help guide people through interesting attractions, including public buildings, museums and art galleries. They have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about the destinations to which they lead visitors and should be able to communicate well with the tourists they are assisting. Many times, guides are hired by travel agencies, and receive on-the-job training to learn their craft.

You can learn more about becoming a guide at some community colleges and other schools with tourism programs. A Certified Tour Professional (CTP) designation is available from the National Tour Association, and the Sustainable Tourism Eco-certification Program (STEP) is offered by Sustainable Travel International.

Your wages will vary according to the state where you work and your employer. According to the BLS, average wages for tour guides totaled $23,750, with incomes ranging from $16,060 to $39,240.

Last Updated: 05/23/2014


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