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The Complete Guide to Starting a Travel Agency

An online course by Host Agency Reviews

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Stephanie Lee

Hey, hey! I'm Steph and yes, I know Bridget and I look a lot alike. We not only look alike but we both grew up in the family travel agency AND love educating people about things we care about.

When I started HAR in 2012, it was really hard to find guidance on getting started. I've been helping advisors start their agencies since 2007 and love every bit of it!

Bridget Lee

Hi! Bridget here and yes, we're sisters who both have a strong passion for education and love to travel.

I've spent 15 years helping advisors start their own agencies. I also bring an official teaching credential to the table, while Steph brings the (insane levels of) excitement. I'm so lucky that I can marry two things I love by creating educational content for you!


If you've been researching a travel advisor career and are ready to start booking but just aren't sure how to get your agency up and running, this course is for you!

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Tote Bag and Travel

Course Curriculum

What you'll learn

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Chapter 1

Travel Agency Ecosystem

A travel industry 101 on overdrive! How it works, terms used, big players. You'll become familiar with the pieces of the puzzle and how they work together.

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Chapter 2

Developing a Niche

Learn about different niches, why we recommend choosing one, and get actionable steps to create your own! Plus, experienced advisors share their niche journey with you.

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Chapter 3

Choosing a Name

This is typically the hardest step. Understand the important things to consider when creating a name with our step-by-step tutorials and brainstorming worksheet!

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Chapter 4

Registering Your Business

Discover DBAs, FEINs, and the best business structure for you. Then we'll walk you through how to register your business with the state and federal offices.

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Chapter 5

Setting Up Your Finances

Find out the differences between business and personal bank and credit card accounts, what you'll need to set up your business accounts, and why it's so important.

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Chapter 6


A hefty and important chapter, we discuss bookkeeping options, how payroll works, what estimated taxes are, and what expenses you can (and can't) write off.

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Chapter 7

Choosing a Travel Agency Model

There's no one size fits all travel agency model. You'll understand the different options available, who they're best for, and the pros and cons of each.

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Chapter 8

Choosing a Host Agency

We guide you through picking the best host for you with the tools to compare their commissions, support, education programs, tech tools, and more.

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Chapter 9

Business Plan

We've made it easy to create a business plan by asking strategic questions that we magically put into a beautiful PDF form for you that you can edit anytime.

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Chapter 10

What s Next

Hurray! You've started your agency. We're not about to leave you hanging, don't worry. We'll help you understand what your next steps are to get booking!

View Full Curriculum

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We help answer the questions you have, and the ones you didn't even know to ask.

Take us for a test drive.

We break down complex topics into bite-sized pieces.

Try our free lesson previews below!

You ll need to sign up for a free account

One-Time Payment

for $399

3 monthly Payments

of $150


Plus add

Bite-sized Training

We know your busy. We broke apart this course into manageable chunks so you can fit it into your busy schedule.

Plus add

Step-by-Step Lesson

This course provides you with the in-depth information and sequential steps you need to take to confidently get your agency up and running.

Plus add

Get Your Agency Set Up Faster

Save yourself time. We've helped thousands of agencies get setup and know exactly what to do!

Plus add

You're Not Alone

Starting your own business is daunting. Get the support and accountability from the HAR team and the private course community. Engage and network with other entrepreneurs at the same stage as you!

Plus add

TRusted industry experts

Host Agency Reviews has nearly 40 combined years of experience helping advisors get their agencies started. It's what we eat, breathe, and sleep!

Plus add

Flexible Pricing

Choose the pricing structure that is right for you. A one-time payment of $399 or installment payments spread out over 3 months.

One-Time Payment

for $399

3 monthly Payments

of $150


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(7 hours)

Pen and Paper

48 Resources

Downloads, Worksheets, Templates

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Monthly Meetups with HAR Team + Industry Experts

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Private Course Community for Accountability + Support

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Priority Support from the HAR Crew

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48 HAR-Quality Resources

Travel Industry Glossary

(46 pages)

Supplier List

Niche Types (PDF + Spreadsheet)

Crafting a Name Worksheet

(6 pages)

Business Structure Flow Chart

Business Bank Account Documents List

Credit Card Tracker

Cash Flow Statement Template (Spreadsheet)

Tax Organizer w/Worksheets for:

  • Business Income/Expenses
  • Auto Expenses
  • In-Home Office Expenses
  • Equipment
  • Per Diem (Lodging, Meals, Incidentals)

Host Agency Vision Worksheet

Host Agency Comparison (Spreadsheet)

Host Agency Commission Plan Comparison


Sample Host Agency Contract

Online Business Plan Generator

Finding B2B Network Worksheet

Website Option Comparison Chart

Travel Agency Accreditation Options Chart

Commission Ranges Chart

Niche Brainstorm Worksheet (Blank + Filled Out Sample)

Social Feedback Form

for Agency Name

(Blank and Online Template)

Bank Comparison Spreadsheet (PDF and Spreadsheet)

Credit Card Point Calculator

Net Income Statement Template


Balance Sheet Template (Spreadsheet)

Comparison Chart of Travel Agency Business Models

Travel Agency Vision Worksheet

Common Programs/Tech/Tools Worksheet

Host Agency Comparison (Calculator)

Host Agency Contract Comparison Checklist

Sample Business Plan

(Word Doc)

Target Market Worksheet

Elevator Pitch Worksheet

(Blank and Filled Sample)

Detailed Chapter Outline for Every Chapter

Course Reviews

five of five star level

Fantastic Course to get yourself up and running without being overwhelmed.

If you keep thinking about it but never seem to get past the"talking about it" stage then this is the course for you. HAR walks you through step-by-step in the right order to help you start living your dream without being overwhelmed.

As someone who has debated it for many, many years and worse been doing it for free for all my friends and family, I now feel like I armed with the right information and the confidence to get out there and start selling travel.

The course helps you not only to set up your agency legally, but also inspires you to create a business that is tailored just for you.

With the multi-modality approach in this online course, such as written information, short video clips and organized worksheets, they touch on all the modalities of learning to make it easier for anyone and do it in a fun and informative way.

The course community and Q&A are a bonus as you start networking right off the bat, making friends and connections.

Five Stars all the way!!!

Judi L.

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five of five star level

I spent a lot of time reviewing countless posts, articles, forums, etc to try to learn about the industry and best practices on starting a travel business.

After I stumbled upon HAR's website and attended Host Week, I realized the HAR team knew what they're talking about. And more importantly, they really seem to want to help spread that knowledge and provide encouragement and support.

I followed the 7-day setup, but I realized I still had a lot of questions (or rather, when one question was answered, two more popped up). Following this course really helped push me over that fence to getting started. And I REALLY appreciate the access to instructors, Q&A sessions, and community space.

Grace C.

five of five star level

Highly recommend for new to the industry!

If you are new and feeling overwhelmed or lost this course is great for you! It lays out everything you need and the resources to get what you need and start your agency.

The worksheets are super helpful with brainstorming and helps keep you on track and push you to take the next step and move forward.

Hannah L.

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five of five star level

Best course I've taken so far. So organized.

Courses were in perfect order of learning for me as a new advisor.

Really appreciate all of the time you put into the helpful resources, links, worksheets, etc.

Amazing value. Thank you!


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five of five star level

Great introduction!

This course quickly led me to a host agency that equipped me with the tools to begin generating revenue.

Havier N.

five of five star level

Great information!

Really helped guide me through looking for a host and getting my business in line. And the instructors are absolutely adorable!


Start Your

Travel Agency


Still have some questions?

Three Question Marks

Who is this course for?

For anyone ready to start their agency. You've done your homework and know what to expect, now you need some help with the logistics of making the dream come into fruition. We help you through the part of your entrepreneurial journey when you know you want to start your agency, but aren't sure how to make that happen.

What if I'm not sure a travel advisor career is for me?

If you're still exploring whether becoming a travel advisor a good fit for you, you're a little too early for this course. To help you figure that out, we recommend taking the ASTA Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Advisor course written by one of our instructors, Steph Lee. (Use code HAR149 to save 50%)

Is there someone to help when I'm stuck?

Heck yeah! Your course includes access to not only the trainings and resources, but also priority support to the HAR team for questions you might have. Along with that, you can tap into our community of entrepreneurs going through the course with you. Fellow entrepreneurs are always a great source of information for help, feedback, or to throw ideas around. The HAR team is active in the course community so reach out anytime!

How long can I access the course?

You will have access to the course, the community, and updates for 12 months after the purchase.

How long does it take to complete the course?

Most people complete the course in 1-2 months but you can complete it within 7-14 days if you really go gang-busters. And it is self-paced so if it takes you longer, that's okay. :)

Will I have access to updated material?

You betcha! During your 12-month subscription, you will always see the latest lesson content, resources, and downloads.

How is this different from the HAR website?

Think of the HAR website as someone giving you the ingredients to a recipe, but no exact recipe. Whereas this course gives you the detailed recipe step-by-step AND has you working alongside an experienced chef. The course saves time, gives you access to the HAR support team for questions, and cuts down on information overload. You also have access to exclusive resources that you will only find in the course.

Can I get a refund?

Yup! If you find it's not what you expected within the first 30 days, we're happy to offer a full refund. Please note: If you've finished the entire course, we are not able to offer a refund.

What do I need to start this course?

Nothing. :) This course is based on the assumption that you are brand new to the travel industry and new to being an entrepreneur!

Do you offer financial assistance?

Absolutely. It is very important to us that money not get in the way of someone being able to take this course. We award quarterly scholarships to those with financial need. In order to qualify for the scholarship, you must meet the financial need requirements and you must have completed ASTA's Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Advisor course. (Use code HAR149 to save 50%) If that's you, you can find more details on the financial requirements and apply here.

Do you offer discounts?

We offer $40 off for students that have purchased and finished ASTA's Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Agent course. If that is you, send your course completion certificate to hello@HostAgencyReviews.com to get a discount code!

How much does the course cost? Are there installments?

There are two options for purchasing the course:

1) One-time $399

2) 3 monthly installments of $150 each

I love the course! Do you have an affiliate program?

We're thrilled you love the course and want to help spread the word! Yes, we do have an affiliate program. We pay 20% commission and send out earnings every 3 months via PayPal. You can find the affiliate contract here. Once we receive it, we'll get back to you with your affiliate link within 5 business days.

Is this good for advisors outside the United States?

Our main expertise is in helping US advisors start their agencies, and to a lesser extent Canada. While there is helpful information about starting a travel agency no matter where you're located, the more specific legal and operational details may be different based on your location. HAR's expertise is really focused on US agencies and regulations.

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