Full disclosure: I AM a travel agent. So are Sara and Sharla. So my POV may be *slightly* skewed on this, but I think it’s such an important topic. I hear constantly from people, ‘Why should I use a travel agent? I can just book my trip online!’. Well, sure you can! But that doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Here are my top reasons why you should consider using a travel agent to book your next vacation.
IT’S NOT MORE EXPENSIVE!
This is not something everyone knows – even my own boyfriend didn’t know this until about a month ago (which is what inspired me to write this post)! Most travel agencies do not charge planning fees! That means you’re not paying any extra money to use their services. Think about that – you get concierge level planning service FOR FREE. Normally I have to pay an upcharge on a hotel room just to get access to a concierge. I don’t know about you, but if I can get the help of a planning expert to supplement the planning I’m doing at no cost, I’m going to go for it!
In some cases, they’re even going to SAVE you money! Travel agencies have access to special offers that may be less expensive than what you can find on your own. Or, they have access to promotions that will add value to your stay – such as included transfers or perks at your hotel. Plus, they also have the ability to check for discounts that may apply AFTER you book, so you’re always getting the best pricing available.
Of course, some travel agencies DO charge planning fees, so you’ll want to make sure you do your research. Take time to ask them questions – do they charge fees, what type of travel do they specialize in, etc. Not every agency is going to be the right fit for every client, so doing a little homework will help you get the most out of the experience!
THEY ARE EXPERTS IN TRAVEL
I say it all the time – booking with a travel agent vs. booking on your own is the difference between information and expertise. You can spend hours researching your vacation online – and you should! But it happens to all of us. After searching for awhile we’re overloaded with too much information. All these hotels, so many restaurants, there are 95 attractions to see. Fifteen guided tour options jump out – should you even take a guided tour! Wait, what’s the best area to stay in? Does this hotel have what I need? What am I even looking for in a resort? Eventually your brain is just overloaded, and you feel overwhelmed.
But guess what? Your travel agent is here to help! We’ve gone through years of training – I’m constantly learning about new destinations and training on updates in destinations. We know what’s available in that area. We know what the good neighborhoods are. We are EXPERTS, and we have a ton of personal experience.
You never really learn a destination until you visit, so a big part of a travel agent’s job is to go to the destinations they specialize in, visit the hotels, take the tours. That way, they can come back and tell you EXACTLY what to expect. From walking you through the airport arrival to how many steps from your hotel the cutest little restaurant with the best pasta is, they’ve been there and can help you find exactly what you’re looking for so you have the best vacation possible.
THEY SAVE YOU TIME
Time is money, people! If you’re anything like me, you’re so busy most days you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, so anything that’s going to save me some time, I’m all about. Your travel agent will help you out by making your dining reservations, getting payments made for you, answering questions so you don’t have to spend hours searching for the answer.
Do you really want to spend six hours (yes, it really takes that long!) on the phone with Disney the day a special offer comes out? Neither do I. But I would so appreciate someone to do it for me, because if I can save any bit of money I’m a happy girl! Having a travel agent is taking all the tasks you DON’T want to do off your plate. Which means less work for you when dealing with your vacation. Which translates into less stress and more excitement for your trip – and that’s invaluable.
THEY GET TO KNOW YOU
This might not even be something you’ve thought about, but a good travel agent wants to build a relationship with you. That might not seem important, but it’s so helpful having someone who knows your family and what you like or don’t. After working for awhile with a travel agent they will be able to know what resort in a new destination you will absolutely love. They’ll be able to make restaurant recommendations based off your favorite foods. They’ll know what your children are very into right now and make suggestions accordingly.
It might not sound like much now, but having that person that knows your travel likes and dislikes and out means you have complete reassurance that you’re going to have an incredible trip tailored just to you.
YOU HAVE AN ADVOCATE IN YOUR CORNER
This last one is the most important – and probably the one people think about the least. What happens if something goes wrong on your trip? I know we don’t like to think anything will, but things can and do happen. What if you miss your flight? Or your cruise ship has to dock a day early? This is going to leave you scrambling – waiting in long lines to rebook your flight or stuck on hold for a few hours with your hotel or airline trying to figure out what to do. Then there’s the mess of trying to figure out where to stay for an extra night. The list goes on.
But if you have a travel agent in your corner, you don’t have to do a thing. Instead, you communicate the issue (and sometimes you don’t even need to – your agent may have already been alerted to the schedule change and is in motion making plans) to your agent and they get to work. That means they’ll get you on the next flight, find you a hotel room for the night, get your transfers set up. There is such peace of mind knowing you have someone in your corner, taking care of you so that you can relax while they handle all of the stressful details.
Those are just a few of the reasons using a travel agent is really going to help you on your next trip. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!