How to Overcome Obstacles as a New Independent Travel Agent

November 15, 2016

By Emily Peters Contributing Writer Montrose Travel

Few things are as liberating — or anxiety-laden — as becoming your own boss. For independent travel agents, starting your own travel agency means finally building a career you’ll love — but it also means overcoming the many obstacles involved with self-employment.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be the most experienced or even the best-traveled to be a successful travel agent. Success belongs to those who work the smartest and care as much for their mental health as they do for their work ethic. If your enthusiasm for your travel business is waning, chances are you’ll benefit from revising your approach to overcoming obstacles. Let’s explore a few techniques together.

Get comfortable with discomfort

At MTravel, we have one-on-one conversations with every person who is interested in our host agency before they decide to join. Why? Because we know that new agents often struggle because they assume starting a travel agency is easy. We want to equip them so they know exactly what they’re committing to as a new travel agency owner.

To overcome obstacles as an independent travel agent, you must embrace the discomfort of growing pains. As English athlete Frank Clark once said, “If you can find a path without obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” So don’t let the discomfort of challenges rob your joy. It’s a sign of maturity, strength, and good things to come. 

Kick the procrastination addiction

Obstacles are rarely overcome in our spare time. Too often, we take the Scarlett O’Hara approach of “I’ll think about it later”, only to create more problems in turn.

To overcome an obstacle, give yourself the mental space you need to face them head-on. That means rescheduling dinner with your in-laws. Canceling this week’s crossfit. Getting a babysitter for a few hours so you can focus. Be as intentional about problem-solving as you are with other valuable areas of your life, and don’t use your other obligations as an excuse to procrastinate.


Sometimes, obstacles arise when best laid plans go sour. What would happen to your travel business if you suddenly lost your day job, or a health issue arose? What if you had to move in the middle of the year?

Our MTravel partners know that when the unexpected happens, our Support Team can step in to help with their travel businesses until life normalizes again. They know that having multiple backup plans isn’t overkill, it’s smart. Prepare for future obstacles by developing your own contingency plans. Consider it a mental savings account to dip into when things go awry.

Learn the value of humility

Too often, new independent travel agents struggle with obstacles because of one thing: they avoid asking for help.

At MTravel, our ethic is that if a problem is taking more than 15 minutes to solve, our agents should pick up the phone and call us. The more frequently they ask for help, the less time they waste on chasing down the answers. Don’t let worries of “being a bother” or “figuring it out out on your own” stunt your professional growth. Ask for help and put those obstacles behind you permanently.

Give yourself permission to step away

This doesn’t mean to quit. It means to move away from obstacles that are insurmountable and a drain on your resources. Some travel clients will never be satisfied; some leads will not pan out. If you doggedly stick with a plan that is demonstrably flawed, you really will go down with the ship. So be flexible with your plans and open to new ideas. There’s rarely ever only one way of doing things!

Find the right host agency partner

Often the best way to triumph over obstacles as an independent travel agent starts with partnering with the right host agency. If you need help overcoming obstacles with your travel business, contact the family at MTravel here or call us at 800-870-5799. Be sure to check out our website at and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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