One of the most frequent questions I get comes from people thinking they need to get a “license” or pass a “test” to become a home-based travel agent. These are fairly typical:
“How do I get my travel agent license?”
“In order to be a full-fledged travel agent do you need to be licensed or certified or take a test?”
Only one state, Rhode Island, had something they referred to as a “license.” But it was really just a requirement to register and post a bond. And Rhode Island repealed the law that required that “license” in June of 2010.
So there really is no such thing as a travel agent license – if by license you mean having to pass some sort of state-administered test, like you do when you apply for a driver’s license.
However, some local governments (counties, towns, cities, etc.) might have “license” provisions for those operating a home-based business. This is more in the nature of a tax than a license (in the “driver’s license” sense of the word). The local municipality uses ordinances like this to keep tabs on who’s operating businesses in residential neighborhoods.
This is pretty much a formality and you shouldn’t be worried that the local powers that be will tell you that you can’t run your business. Their main concern is that you don’t start a manufacturing business that might involve dangerous chemicals or processes, or a retail business that might bring a steady stream of cars and customers to your house, thus compromising the residential character of the neighborhood. And, of course, they get some more money for the municipal coffers.
Regulations like this are not a universal rule. There is a very good chance your local area has no such regulation. There is no such requirement in New York City, which is one of the most heavily taxed and regulated business environments in the country. (Sssh! Don’t tell them!)
If your local government has such a rule, you should abide by it (although I suspect that many home-business operators don’t – out of ignorance or otherwise – and the local authorities are none the wiser). Check with your local Chamber of Commerce; they should be able to tell you all about local ordinances. And don’t worry about it. Like I say, it’s just a formality and it shouldn’t cost you all that much.