How Do I Become a Personal Travel Assistant?

A personal travel assistant working.
A personal travel assistant going over her client's schedule.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2014
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There is a very limited number of people who want to become a personal travel assistant. Most people who are interested in administrative work are interested in a broader area of focus. The number of positions available for a personal travel assistant is quite limited and is forecast to shrink over the next five to seven years. Typically, a personal travel assistant is responsible for the creation and management of travel arrangements for senior executives or other staff who are required to travel extensively.

There is no specific training program to become a personal travel assistant. Instead, the vast majority of candidates are trained and licensed as a travel agent. Many people have training in business, with a diploma from a community college in administration, business management, or travel management.

Building on their business connections and understanding of the travel industry, the travel assistant can make complex travel arrangements on short notice. In many large information technology consulting firms, the personal travel assistant is responsible for making the travel arrangements for sales team and professional consultants. The timing of travel arrangements to minimize costs while ensuring smooth traveling requires coordination and scheduling skills.

The first step required to become a personal travel assistant is to gain working experience in the travel industry. Understanding how flights, trains, and accommodation are priced, booked, and managed is essential for this role. In general, working in a travel agency is a great way to gain this experience.

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The next step is to obtain experience in an administrative role inside a large company. The pressures, concerns, and business practices in a large company are quite different than in a travel agency. Most firms control travel expenses and budget quite tightly, and the process surrounding approval of travel arrangements and the primary selection criteria for these types of arrangements are very important.

The career advancement opportunities available once you become a personal travel assistant are limited. This is a niche area of responsibility that may not be found in a wide range of companies and institutions. In order to advance into a higher position, candidates should ensure they have excellent computer, communication, and organizational skills.

Positions as a business unit or office manager, administrative assistant or personal assistant to a senior executive all use the same skills required as a personal travel assistant. Talk with your supervisor about the options available. Many people volunteer for duties outside their primary area of responsibility to broaden their job skills and keep their other skills current.

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Discuss this Article

anon941479
Post 6

I am a 24 year old Italian girl living in London and working in the hospitality sector.

I have just finished my bachelor's degree in foreign languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) and I would like to work as a travel assistant or in general in the travel industry, but I think it's very difficult because I have no specific experience.

According to this article, having experience is essential to become a travel assistant. I completely agree with that, but the basic problem is that even though I have applied millions of times to travel agencies to get experience, they have always rejected my application because of that.

serenesurface
Post 5

I work for an administrative office of a University School and take care of travel arrangements for the Dean and other Professors all the time.

I agree that you don't necessarily need education or experience in the travel industry to do this job. And like the article said, this position isn't high in demand because office assistants and managers generally take care of arranging travel and lodging for their bosses.

I think it's more important to have education and experience in administration. When you are in such an administrative position, you will get the hang of arranging travel and lodging fairly quickly. All it takes is efficiency and being money-smart in my view.

John57
Post 4

I have always loved to travel, so pursuing a career in the travel industry was something I did right after high school.

My local community college offered a diploma after completing a travel management course. Shortly after that, I was hired at a travel agency and really enjoy my job.

Even though I am employed by the travel agency, I see myself as a personal travel assistant for every one of my clients.

They rely on me to make travel arrangements for their trips. I need to stay within their budget and make sure they have a positive experience.

When I travel, I like to know that the details are taken care of so I can relax and really enjoy the trip. This is one thing I really like about personal assistant work, is that you can have a part in making special memories for your customers.

If I do a good job, not only do I know they will have a great time, but they will also use me when they are ready to take another trip in the future.

andee
Post 3

I never planned on being a personal travel assistant, but found myself performing many of these duties in my job.

I worked as an administrative assistant for the chief financial officer of a major company. He had to do a lot of traveling for his job, and I was responsible for making all of his travel arrangements.

I guess I had a knack for it, because soon I was asked to make travel arrangements for all of the executives.

While this may sound like an interesting job, it can be extremely stressful. You have a budget of how much you can spend, and many times this is way too low for the accommodations they are expecting.

This means you really have to stay on top of the airline prices and try to save as much money as you can on airfare so you have a little bit more to spend on other travel expenses.

Moldova
Post 2

@Suntan12- Wow, how stressful. I just wanted to add that the executive assistant that used to work with my sister and did all of her travel arrangements decided to become an independent travel agent.

She works from home now and focuses strictly on business travel which is how she makes the majority of her money. She really has to work hard to make sure that her clients stay with her because most companies have their own in house travel coordinators.

I think that becoming a travel agent is another option in this field.

suntan12
Post 1

I think that many personal executive assistants also schedule travel arrangements for the executives that they serve. I think that the most important thing to remember in a job like this is the attention to detail that it requires.

You should always read the fine print. For example, my husband was booked on a non-flexible flight to Hong Kong because the personal executive assistant wanted to save the company money.

The problem was that the dates of my husband’s trip were later changed and she had to scramble to try to get the airline to adjust the date of the ticket which was $7,000.

She was eventually able to change the ticket dates, but it was only because the company had a lot of clout because it was a frequent flyer. It was a scary lesson and I don’t like that the executive assistant would make the same mistake again.

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