You’ve decided to start a travel agency. You have experience in the industry and a desire to help people create rewarding travel experiences. That’s a great start, but there may be some other requirements for you to meet. Specifically, some states require you to have a license, often called a “Seller of Travel” license. For example, you’ll need to obtain your Florida travel agency license if you operate your business out of Florida or if you sell travel services in the state.
What Is a Travel Agency License?
If you do business in certain states, you must obtain a license to become a seller of travel. These licenses are fully administered at the state level. There is no federal travel agency license.
However, you may need to obtain licenses in multiple states. For example, if you are in California, you will need a license there. If you sell travel packages to destinations in Texas, you may also need a Texas travel agent license.
Fortunately, travel agency licenses are intended for liability protection and to ensure you operate your business ethically. The process is more about filling out forms and paying fees than passing any sort of class or taking a test.
Verify Whether You Need a License or Not
Don’t make assumptions about this. Consider where your offices are located and the destinations you include in your services. Learn the licensing requirements for each state. Don’t forget states where you may do business in the future.
Learn the Requirements for a Florida Travel Agency License
If you want to sell travel services in Florida, you must register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There are different agencies that handle licensing in other states. You must find out who handles licensing for each state that is relevant to your business. Then, you must learn the rules and processes that you need to follow.
Obtain a Bond If Necessary
A bond is a financial guarantee that you will operate your business ethically and meet all of your obligations. Travel agents are often required to have surety bonds because they are trusted to collect money from their customers and distribute it to other entities.
If a travel agent fails to do that, the customer can file a claim against the surety bond to recoup their losses. This, along with any licensing fees you pay will cover most of your licensing expenses.