Words to Know: A Beginning Travel Agent Glossary

Written by: KHM Staff on March 28, 2019

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The travel industry is full of lingo and acronyms that can be confusing for newcomers. There’s so much to learn, you don’t want to get stuck Googling definitions every time you start a new course or read through a supplier brochure. Knowing these common industry words and abbreviations will help those new to this world learn to speak travel agent.


AI stands for all-inclusive. In its most general use, this refers to an all-inclusive meal plan, which includes meals, snacks, and beverages, even those with alcohol. AI Resorts are all-inclusive resorts that include the meal plan, gratuities, and most activities. The amenities for these resorts can vary, and some may have additional fees for certain activities like golf or motorized water sports.

Mexico and the Caribbean are popular locations for all-inclusive resorts, though there are some in other locations like Costa Rica, and two in the U.S.

Use it in a sentence: “I loved the AI we stayed at in Cancun. I can’t wait to go back!”


This abbreviation stands for the American Society of Travel Advisors. This organization is a leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry, and travelers. ASTA is an association of travel professionals who connect and share information about the travel industry. They offer resources and host events to educate their members about the latest news and information.

Use it in a sentence: “I am attending the ASTA convention this year to learn more about the policies and changes that are affecting the travel industry.”


A Business Development Manager represents a travel supplier. Their role is to increase awareness of their brand and help travel agents grow their sales with the brand. KHM Travel Group works with many leading travel suppliers and their BDMs to provide our agents with unique opportunities and offers. They can also assist when agents have special requests or unique challenges that arise.

Our BDMs and Supplier Relations teams work closely together to host educational events and webinars to share what is new with their brands and promotions that are available to our agents.

Use it in a sentence: “I met the BDM from Norwegian Cruise Line at Boot Camp last year.”


Cruise Line International Association is an organization that focuses its energy on educating its members on cruising. CLIA’s focuses on providing travel agents with educational opportunities to learn more about cruising through online courses and industry events. The association also issues a CLIA number, which travel agencies use as an industry identifier. It is widely accepted for all forms of travel with the exception of direct air bookings.

Use it in a sentence: “I was ready through CLIA’s website last night, and I learned all about sustainable cruising initiatives.”

FAM Trip

FAM trip is a shortened version of “familiarization trip.” On these trips, travel agents visit certain destinations and resorts to gain first-hand knowledge of the places their clients want to visit. Agents are able to use their personal experience to provide their clients with specific details and increase their travel sales for these locations. The cost of these trips vary and are sometimes offered to agents at a discount or special rate.

Use it in a sentence: “I heard there is a FAM trip coming up for Sandals. Is there still time to register?”


FIT stands for “foreign independent travel.” This type of travel is designed for those who take a trip that does not follow an itinerary preset by a travel supplier and does not have a set tour guide or leader. Read more about FIT trips and how they differ from escorted tours here.

Use it in a sentence: “My clients opted for FIT over an escorted tour for their trip to Paris.”


Similar to a FAM Trip, a Seminar at Sea is a trip that travel agents take to familiarize themselves with a cruise ship. These are usually short cruises and can include educational sessions on board to help agents learn more about the cruise line. For agents that specialize in cruising, these can be important opportunities to see new ships and exclusive destinations, as many cruise lines also operate private island destinations in the Caribbean.

Use it in a sentence: “The SAS I took last year gave me a whole new perspective on Carnival Cruise Line.”


This website is the official government site for the U.S. Department of State. It is an important resource for travel agents to ensure their clients are prepared to travel abroad. The site includes a list of the entry requirements for U.S. citizens visiting foreign countries as well as the embassy locations for each country. It is also a key resource for learning about visa requirements and travel notices.

Use it in a sentence: “For the most up-to-date passport information and travel advisories, I always check travel.state.gov.”

Are you interested in learning more about the travel industry and how you can launch your own travel business? KHM Travel Group is a host travel agency that provides the resources and tools that independent travel agents need to start and grow their business. For more information, fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 1-888-611-1220.

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