Is a bustling, landmark-filled metropolis or a sunny seaside escape calling your name?
If you have the itch to leave behind your daily responsibilities and travel, your natural first step may be to hop on a discount travel site—the kind that wraps flight, hotel, and rental car bookings into a simple, neat process. That’s as convenient as travel planning gets, right?
Actually, there’s one option that may be even more ideal: travel agents. Yes, they are still going strong, and they may offer unique, personalized benefits that you could miss when booking on your own. They can even take some of the hassle and common pitfalls out of the process. Here’s what makes a travel agent not only relevant to this day but also your advocate for virtually any vacation—perhaps even your next one.
Travel for less
With traveling becoming increasingly expensive and inconvenient (airlines, in particular, seem to offer you less and less for your money every year), travel agents can help slash significant costs from your excursion. These pros can assist in identifying discounts and other savings for just about every type of trip and need, including agency or group rates on cruises, deals for bundling flights and hotels, and more. And you don’t just save during the booking process. If your agent discovers new discounts after you’ve made reservations, they can still apply them to your trip to further reduce your costs. You’re unlikely to encounter such perks when booking alone, much less have the industry connections needed to slash your rates accordingly. Additionally, agents can aid you in avoiding surprise fees that could make vacationing unexpectedly costly.
You may assume that you need to pay a travel agent for their services, but as NerdWallet notes on its website, “The cost of using a travel agent is generally marginal, and often, they won’t charge you at all. Much of their money comes from commissions the hotels and wholesalers pay them.” Some agents will charge, but even then, their ultimate aim is to save you more than you invest in hiring them.
Save the sweat
A good travel agent has not only personal travel experience but also access to tourism info for just about any destination you can think of. So if you’re seeking the best free museum in New York City, excellent four-star dining in Tokyo, or can’t-miss sights in the Caribbean, they can offer the exact recommendation you’re looking for and then reserve the experience for you. If you’re an open-minded traveler, you can even entrust them with building you a custom travel itinerary that’s geared toward your preferences: outdoorsy, restful, adventurous, etc. You can even find agents who specialize in organizing travel for families with young children, honeymooners, business groups, and other arrangements.
This can take significant sweat out of travel bookings, especially for those who lack the time and the insider tips to hunt down exactly what to see and do in unfamiliar destinations. Naturally, your agent will consider your budget throughout every step of the process to help ensure you arrange the best-possible experience for your money.
Changes to your plans
The word “nonrefundable” on your reservations may make you anxious (What if things go awry?), but travel agents know how to anticipate the unexpected and assist you in changing course. “I was able to quickly handle a hotel closure, rebooking, and flight schedule change for my client’s upcoming trip to Palm Springs while they continued on with their day,” Ashley Andrews, AAA travel agent, says on the organization’s website. Not only does this save you money on rebookings or cancellations, but it also relieves you of rescheduling duties. No need to interrupt your fun activities with long phone calls, stressfully sifting through your email inbox to find reservation details, and other aggravations.
To further protect your trip, an agent can also assist you in booking travel insurance, which can help cover unexpected flight delays, lost baggage, health-care needs in a foreign country, emergency services, and more. Safeguarding your travel in this way can promote greater peace of mind as you head to your destination.
When it comes to the particulars of trip planning, working with a travel agent can take significant stress out of the process. Whether you seek their help with a single portion of your travel or leave it entirely in their hands, you can better ensure the vacation ticks all your boxes, granting you a magical experience you won’t soon forget.
Contact a travel agent to learn more or plan your next vacation.