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The $#!T travel agents are doing instead of selling travel

Whether stood down temporarily or permanently retrenched, travel agents have had to (COVID word warning:) pivot. Here’s what they’re doing instead.

There’s a group on Facebook called COVID S.H.I.T. The name is so typically this industry. The acronym stands for Side Hustles In Travel and shows how so many in the industry can take a horrible situation, see it for what it is, and find a way to work through it. In fact, that’s almost a good travel agent’s job description right there.



We’ve had to hit pause on international and even domestic travel. But what do you do when your income is derived from that? Bills can’t be paused. So a number of travel agents have started a side hustle.


Some agencies have turned their shopfronts into gift shops selling travel themed goods. One sells spices from around the world; another specialises in travel related goods. According to the Queensland Facebook page, one agent, despairing at not even being able to get a job at Bunnings, has turned his life around by mowing lawns.


There are a super creative bunch in Victoria who have used the lockdown to offer virtual business solutions or make jewellery, or paint or sew or knit or bake their way into my Instagram feed. 


For many, this is all just until the industry recovers. But I love what it spells for agents when it does. Agencies can be gift shops too, luring people in with goods from distant lands. Agents can be more than the travel gurus they are; they can be talented members of the community, inspired and creative. 


Money’s tight this year and Christmas, if we can even gather with all our family and friends, will be tough for many. But I’m pledging that the gifts I do buy are those made by people in the industry and I ask you to do the same. Join the COVID S.H.I.T group on Facebook and start scrolling (I’m particularly partial to the Victorian one for obvious reasons). 


Happy shopping.


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Written by: Gaya Avery

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