Decipher the advantages and disadvantages of using a travel agent

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Confession: I’m a big fan of travel agents (oops, sorry, travel advisers), although I could technically book all my trips through websites and apps. And despite the fact that many of us might see this industry as old-fashioned and outdated, research shows travelers, and millennials in particular, are turning to these specialists once again to help them dig through TripAdvisor’s trash.

Once you’ve come to the idea of ​​hiring a travel agent, ask yourself these three questions before you book:

  1. Is this an inner journey or a journey to a part of the world you have never been to? If it’s the former, you don’t need a travel agent.
  2. Can I get a better deal using a travel agency? (This question requires you to price your trip with and without.)
  3. Is this a big budget, special event trip? If the answer is yes, go with a travel agent.

The benefits of using a travel agent

They can find some crazy deals.

It is literally their job. If they’ve been in the travel industry for many years, they likely have relationships with suppliers who can help you take advantage of better deals. Many travel agents specialize in destinations (i.e. cruises in Europe). Some travel agents offer packages, with more savings that you can then book by booking the trip on your own, that’s good news for your wallet.

They will be your lawyer.

One of the best ways to use a travel agent is to advocate if something goes wrong during your trip. They can help you with lost luggage, natural disaster, if you are stranded in a place before your trip, etc. They are there to help get your trip back on track.

They will take care of the little things.

I love my travel agent and love all the extras she offers when we use her services for a trip. For example, when we went to the Bahamas, she made sure there was a nice bottle of champagne and strawberries in our room when we arrived, and she also upgraded our room for free. While this is certainly not a guarantee when using a travel agency, you can expect a lot of value-added extras when using a travel agency. Why? Because travel agents know you don’t have to use them to book your trip, and they want to say thank you.

They are real experts.

Most travel agents have been in the industry for years now, and it’s their job to stay on top of upcoming travel trends and hot destinations. When I spoke with my travel agent about a trip to Europe recently, she offered me a few alternative destinations. I didn’t think about the destinations she suggested, but the alternatives offered great activities, culture, food, interesting boutique hotels, and more options for less money than my original destination.

They usually don’t cost more.

It’s a myth that working with a travel agent will automatically cost you more; most are paid through commissions from the hotel or outfitter. Sure, some travel agents charge a fee for setting up an itinerary, but most will credit you for this fee if you end up booking the trip through them. Make sure you are aware of any potential charges before hiring a travel agent, and feel free to negotiate.

The disadvantages of using a travel agent

They are not going to help with cheaper plane tickets.

Back then, you used a travel agent to book all aspects of your trip. However, with so many options for finding cheap plane tickets, like Google Flights, Scott’s Cheap Flights, and Skyscanner, booking your own flights is easy and cost effective. Most travel agents can’t score discount flights, and many travel agents won’t even care. Instead, follow these tips.

It’s not you.

This may seem obvious, although it is always important to take it into account. A travel agent not only finds you the best deals, but also offers suggestions for activities, restaurants, etc. This is great if you’re someone who doesn’t like researching these things, but you run the risk of working with someone who doesn’t understand your personal preferences (maybe they’re leaning towards them. road circuits rather than technical singletracks). First do your own research and make a list of activities you want to do. Once you have this list, pass it on to your travel agent to see if they can find any deals as they book.

How to find a good one

One of the best ways to find a reputable travel agent is to get recommendations from friends and family. Anyone who has used this travel agency on a previous trip and appreciated their service is worth a visit. As with everything, I always suggest speaking to at least two different travel agents to see who you feel most comfortable with. Remember they are there to work for you.

Know your travel budget before contacting a travel agent. This will likely be the first question they ask you and will help point them to the best destinations for that budget. If you’re traveling to a specialized location, like going on a once-in-a-lifetime African safari, find a specialist who knows this region inside and out. They will usually have the best deals and relationships with hotels and activity companies in that region.


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