Once upon a time, when you wanted to take a trip, you picked up a landline phone and dialed up a travel agent who would book your airfare and hotel, and anything else you needed for your travels. Fast forward to today and our fast-paced gotta-have-it-now lifestyle and it you might be wondering if travel agents still exist anymore now that we can book a vacation right from our smartphones while we wait for our meal at a busy restaurant.
Travel agents aren’t a thing of the past though. In fact, they’re very much a part of our present and can be instrumental when planning your travels. So when should you opt to use a travel agent and when should you simply double tap your screen? Here are some helpful hints.
They do the dirty work
You can look online on the most popular travel sites and book it yourself, but if you hire a travel agent to handle it (generally a $20 service fee for airfare and $50 for cruises), it’s well worth the cost, particularly if you’ve got a complex trip planned abroad and a flight gets canceled. They help you get there and back smoothly. Imagine trying to handle that yourself!
They find the lowest prices and packages
If you’re trying to book a vacation yourself, you might find yourself in an endless loop checking and rechecking all the prices and options through different booking sites. A travel agent can stop that madness, seamlessly organizing and arranging everything you need at the lowest price they find. They help you find what you want without wasting hours of your own time. If you’re going on vacation, there’s nothing relaxing about combing over every last detail, so hiring a travel agent to do your booking and worrying is a great idea.
They offer expert advice
While it’s impossible for every travel agent to have traveled to every place on earth, they all have extensive knowledge of the travel industry. They know how to help you find the kind of accommodations you’re looking for, and if you want to try out a new adventure, they will have some fantastic suggestions. Also, if you plan to visit a country that is relatively new to receiving tourism, a travel agent is extremely helpful because they know what visas may be required and other insider information that isn’t common knowledge.
They can take care of every detail
When you’re preparing for a vacation, a travel agent can help you plan out every last thing on an itinerary. From the flights and hotel stays to the rental cars and attractions, they offer full-service power that frees you from having to sift through tons of websites or even make annoying phone calls. If you ever wondered, “Can’t someone else do it?” The answer is yes, a travel agent can.
But there are times to do things yourself
Travel agents are indeed helpful in booking trips. They save you money, despite that you’ll need to pay them a fee for their services, plus they can line up everything you want to see and do. And should something go wrong, they can help take care of your arrangements so you don’t become stressed. However, there are indeed times when doing it yourself is fine too.
For example, if you’re planning a simple trip to one destination, particularly in your own country, it’s easy enough to book your flight there and back and arrange your own hotel. Simple plans are best to handle on your own. Save the travel agent for when you want to book a trip through Asia or to the Land Down Under.
Travel agents add that personal touch that you don’t get from online booking sites. They will make sure your travel plans are completely in order, alert you to things you might not be aware of prior to leaving, and fix any bumps that come up during your travels. It’s worth the additional fee to ensure that your vacation plans are completely cemented, that your hotel is the kind of place you want to stay (and actually looks like the photos you saw online), and that any reservations you desire are reserved. In a way, it’s like traveling VIP-style. While you don’t need it every time, it’s certainly a service that is worth paying for to ensure a sensational vacation.