The more I dig into travel writing and booking travel, the more I'm running into these Paycation, YSBH and "Travel agents needed, no experience required" folks. As a person who was once a part of Paycation land, there was a lot that I learned and became familiar with regarding travel organizations that require their agents to pay to make a living. It then dawned on me that these companies were not helping me in any way, they were taking from me, and they are taking from you too.
The biggest issue with these places is that you are not learning much. The information that they give you is not top secret material. Sure they give you training and make you "Travel Agent certified" but they are not in any way being of service to you. How? Well, let's start with Paycation.
Paycation bribes you with the "investing in yourself will help you in the long run" nonsense. So they talk you into paying this absurd amount of money to take classes, send you info and learn their way of running a successful business. After that, they tell you how you must sign up others to waive your monthly payment of $79.99; which keeps your site active. The more people you sign up, the more you make in residuals; this is to waive your fee. What they DONT tell you is when it comes to travel, finding people to book your vacation is, in fact, EASY.
There is so much competition when it comes to finding deals for travel. Everyone wants the cheapest rate, and reality is you probably don't have it. Some franchises that are around with chain hotels coming together to make booking easier for future patrons has risen. A number of travel sites that cut their rates lower to make flying more affordable has also gone up, and it's much easier to find cheaper flights for domestic and international travel than ever before. So why are you investing in these businesses?
I have spoken to a few people who have made money off of these companies, and are in excellent standing with them. However, I have met a lot more who are giving more than they are receiving, that's a huge problem. No one should have to go to these great lengths to make a living off of selling travel or make vacationing more affordable. So as a person who was once blinded by these "agencies," here are two things I did, and you could do too to make travel affordable and for a living.
1. Educate Yourself!
The biggest issue regarding these kinds of people is that they let the agency become their only source. They are not looking outside of the host company, and THEY SHOULD! The more you learn about different sites and seasons for particular areas around the world, you will learn which places would be the perfect spot for an individual and what they can get themselves into when they are there. This information you can not learn from a pyramid or a marketing agency that sells travel.
2. You don't need school
One does not need schooling to become an agent. You can either guide people in finding travel deals or work for a company like Amtrak or an airline to help you become more familiar with travel and how you can be of assistance to someone else. Now, many schools are available for you to attend online to get your CTA certification and it costs at least $200 - $400. If you decide to go that route, it will still come out cheaper than paying $50-$80 a month to use services or receive more competitive deals. Another way is if you are already good at selling travel, get your business certified.
The reality is that one does no need to fall into a pyramid scheme or a marketing agency strategy to make money or find affordable travel. You can make travel work for you as a business without their help, and you can also find other ways to vacation for a reasonable price without paying a fee every month. Don't fall into the trap, and don't believe the hype.