By Emily Peters and Guest Author from Rollinglobe

Contributing Writer

It’s time to answer the big question—how much do travel agents really earn? Like all industries, the answer varies according to the client, the trip, and one key element: you. Let’s break it down.


As an independent travel professional, your first few years will be spent learning the ropes with smaller, simpler trips. Easy bookings (like hotels, a flight, a car rental here and there) often correspond to minimal commission checks. As your experience grows, you’ll be able to take on more complex FIT and group packages that will give your bottom line a boost.

In exchange for selling their product, suppliers will pay newbie agents an beginner commission of 10% commission. That can go as high 40%, depending on the supplier. A portion of this will go to your host agency and the rest will go to you.

Practical example: if you book a Christmas package for $8,500, a 10% commission would be $850. If you’re at a 70/30 commission split with your host agency, $595 of that will go back to you. Over a year, if you booked 5 of these types of trips per month, that brings you to $510,000 in gross annual bookings, giving you $35,700 in cash.

Seem impossible? It’s not. With a solid host agency behind you to provide training, technology and back office support, your time will be freed up to focus on marketing and servicing your clients. Soon, you’ll be able to push that base $36k higher and higher. As your volume increases, you’ll also be able to earn a higher commission split with your host agency. More moolah for you.

One-Time Fees.

It’s a pity that it has to be said, but we’re not shy: you deserve to be paid for your expertise. It’s important to make that clear to your clients, and a great way is to introduce one-time fees.

To compensate for their time, any agencies charge a ticketing fee of $25 or so for every economy airline ticket issued—more for first class or international flights. Good advisors will also charge a flat fee of $100, $250 (and beyond) per booking. This retainer fee is no different than other professionals, such as lawyers or financial advisors, who protect their business through reasonable rates and weed out time-wasting clients.

Using our model of 5 trips per month, charging a $250 advisor fee per booking brings in an additional $15,000 per year! Current tally with commissions? An annual income of over $50,000.

The Tip of the Iceberg.

Building a $50,000+ a year salary as an independent travel professional doesn’t come easy. It takes long nights, maximizing your resources and joy in the work itself. But partnering with the right host agency is half the battle. Reach out to MTravel to learn more about how you can explore what income you’re capable of as an independent travel professional today.

Are you ready to start your independent travel business with MTravel? We are here to help! Contact us here or call us at 800-870-5799. Be sure to check out our website at and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.