In today’s world where you can book air travel, hotels, cruises and events online, many people avoid using a travel agent. However, even with all the great travel deals available online there are definitely some benefits to using a travel agent rather than booking your travel yourself.
Probably the biggest benefit to using a travel agent to book your trip is that they make the planning process stress free. If you try to book a trip yourself online you can run into a lot of time consuming obstacles. You may have to spend hours searching various websites looking for the best deals. Trying to coordinate your flights, hotels, ground transportation and tickets for all the attractions you want to see can be overwhelming. You wind up having to buy tickets for various parts of your trip from several different websites which can make your trip disorganized. When planning a trip yourself it is easy to overlook details only to find out too late after you have already departed.
A travel agent, on the other hand, takes care of planning your entire trip for you. They iron out all the little details, make sure that everything is taken care of, coordinate all your travel, and can get you tickets to any attractions or events that you want to visit. You tell the travel agent what you want and they take care of everything for you. This can literally save you hours of planning time and a whole bunch of headaches.
One of the main reasons that people avoid using travel agents is because they think that they have to pay the agent. In fact, most times there are no fees for using a travel agent. Instead, the travel agents are paid a commission from the airlines, cruise ships, hotels and attractions that they book for you. Another important point about this is that these companies so not pass the savings along to you if they don’t have to pay a commission on the tickets meaning that you would pay the same price online as you would with an agent, but with an agent your trip planning is hassle free.
Travel agents can also provide you with specific information on traveling and tips for choosing the right destination. Often times they are aware of vacation deals offered by airlines or cruise ships that are not advertised online and can get you a really great price that you could not find anywhere else. Not only that, but travel agents often have industry connections and can use them to get you a better deal.
If something does go wrong with your trip, a travel agent will act as an advocate on your behalf. They will work to resolve any problems and often have more clout than you would in the same situation and can get action more quickly.
When choosing a travel agent you should try to get a recommendation from a friend, family member or business colleague. Try to find an agent who is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). The ASTA has stringent requirements to become a member so it will give you extra piece of mind that your travel agent is qualified to handle the job.
Make sure that you are very comfortable talking to your travel agent and that they answer all your questions. This person is planning a big event in your life and you want to make sure that they are listening to your needs and planning the right trip for you instead of doing what they think is best. It is perfectly acceptable to ask a travel agent about their qualifications as well, so if you have any questions or concerns you should not hesitate to ask.
In some situations it makes more sense to use a travel agent to book your travel for you. Not only can they help to take away some of the headache of planning, but they can often get your better deals and make your vacation a more enjoyable, fun filled experience.