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Travel Planner vs. Travel Agent: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Travel planners and travel agents are two professions that help people plan and book their travel arrangements. Though both roles share some similarities, there are several key differences between them. In this article, we discuss the differences between a travel planner and a travel agent, and we provide tips for choosing the right professional for your needs.

What is a Travel Planner?

Travel Planners are responsible for arranging all aspects of a client’s travel, from booking flights and hotels to planning itineraries and activities. They work closely with clients to understand their travel needs and preferences, then use that information to create a custom travel plan. Travel Planners must be knowledgeable about destinations, transportation options, accommodation options and activity options in order to provide the best possible experience for their clients. They also need to be able to find the best deals and discounts on travel services to save their clients money.

What is a Travel Agent?

Travel Agents work with individuals and groups to plan and book travel accommodations, transportation and activities. They use their knowledge of destinations, resorts, airlines and tour operators to find the best travel options and create custom itineraries. Travel Agents often have first-hand experience with the locations they recommend, which helps them provide more accurate advice and recommendations to their clients. They also keep up-to-date on the latest industry news and developments to ensure that their clients are getting the most up-to-date information. Travel Agents typically work in travel agencies, but some may work remotely.

Travel Planner vs. Travel Agent

Here are the main differences between a travel planner and a travel agent.

Job Duties

Travel planners typically focus on the travel planning aspect of their job, while travel agents handle a variety of tasks related to traveling. Travel planners help clients create personalized itineraries based on their needs and preferences. They research destinations, plan transportation and accommodation details and advise clients about local regulations.

Travel agents perform customer service duties by helping travelers with common issues like lost tickets or flight rescheduling. They also provide travel planning services by advising clients on destinations and accommodations. Additionally, travel agents may book flights and other modes of transportation for their clients.

Job Requirements

Travel planners and travel agents typically need at least a high school diploma to enter the field. However, many employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in tourism or hospitality. Some travel professionals also pursue certification through organizations like the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) or the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA). These certifications can help travel professionals stand out to potential employers and show that they are serious about their career.

Work Environment

Travel planners and travel agents work in different environments. Travel agents typically work in an office setting, where they can access information about their clients’ travel plans and book flights, hotels or other transportation options for them. They may also meet with clients in person to discuss their travel needs and preferences.

Travel planners often work in a variety of settings, depending on the type of trip they’re planning. For example, if they’re planning a cruise, they might work from home or at a desk in an office building. If they’re planning a hiking trip, they might go to the location of the hike to scout out trails and plan activities for the group.


Travel planners and travel agents share some skills, such as customer service, communication and organizational skills. They both need to be able to understand the needs of their clients and provide them with options that meet those needs. Travel planners and travel agents also need to be able to keep track of many details at once and stay organized while they are making travel arrangements for their clients.

However, there are some differences in the skills needed for these jobs. Travel planners may need more research skills than travel agents as they often work with clients who are planning trips to destinations that they are not familiar with. Travel planners also need to be able to use computer software to book travel arrangements and create itineraries. Travel agents typically have access to booking systems that make it easier for them to find and book travel arrangements for their clients.


Travel planners can earn an average salary of $58,112 per year, while travel agents can earn an average salary of $44,694 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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