Alberta British Columbia

Being a Travel Agent

When I returned from Europe I decided to become a travel agent; it sounded like a glamorous job. I found a correspondence course and began my studies. I loved the learning. The certificate program culminated in a six-week classroom requirement held at SAIT in Calgary. I was still living in Edmonton at the time so I ended up in residence with three other women taking the course. We all studied hard and my dedication was rewarded: I won the top student award.

Without much difficulty I landed a job at The Travel Shoppes of Edmonton. I was a full-time junior consultant. I mostly booked flights within Canada and the United States, sometimes vacation packages that extended a little further. At the time, there was an airport in downtown Edmonton: the gateway to the north. Our agency was nearby and we dealt with a lot of business travel on PWA and CP Air. Our popular leisure travel provider was Wardair. Those airlines are gone now.

There were a few travel perks, mostly domestic flights and hotels, and a couple of familiarization (fam) trips and some discounted holidays. For example, I got to spend a weekend in Waikiki looking at hotels. I was also one of the first people to go to Club Med Ixtapa – before it was even finished being built. And, most memorable, my fiance and I were able to go on a Caribbean cruise.

But, overall, the job wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing. It didn’t take me long to accept that not only did I not like working in an office full-time, I also didn’t like being the ‘middleman’ between clients and operators. The pay was low, and there was a lot of frustration and little appreciation. I decided to get out of my hometown and follow my friend to Vancouver.

Upon moving to North Van,  I promptly snagged a couple of travel jobs consecutively. Fasta Travel Service, in West Van near the Salmon House, was new and working there was incredibly boring; a British tour operator in False Creek – Leg in Boot Square – was bustling with excitement and the job was pleasantly challenging – but short-lived. The company packed it in and left the country after a couple of months.

So, after six months on the coast and two years in the industry, I returned to Edmonton, got married and moved to Calgary. My traveling ceased while I attended University and raised a family and I never worked full-time for someone else again.