Is it better to use a travel agent or plan your own vacation?


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Depending on how you approach the trip, putting the pieces of a trip together can be exciting or exhausting. Some people love the fun of finding the best deals on airline tickets, hotels, and destinations, while others want nothing more than to have a travel agent do it for them. The question is, are you saving more money one way than the other? In order to find out what might work best for you, we spoke with experts about the pros and cons of booking a vacation on your own or working with a travel agent to help you do so.

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Travel agents have expertise

One of the reasons to consider working with a travel agent is their wealth of information and resources, said Mitch Krayton, owner of Krayton Travel. “Travel professionals have experienced what we promote. We are constantly learning and have contacts and resources that you will never find publicly. We keep all information so that a traveler can make wise plans and not be overwhelmed. “

Read: 13 Insider Secrets From Travel Agents That Will Save You Money

Travel agents can give you the best value for money

Travel agents also have experience in buying the best value for your travel dollar, said Stephanie Turner of Brentwood Travel. “Remember, the cheapest price is usually not the best deal. It’s just the cheapest price and you could end up spending a lot more to get what you want.

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Travel agents can save you time

Booking a trip, with all of its functional parts, can take hours, especially if you’re researching and comparing the best deals, said Avery Harris of Viking Travel. A travel agent will take much less time to help you find what you’re looking for, Harris said. “We also know about seasonal trends, price fluctuations, popularity cycles and… and how the algorithm models of booking sites are changing. “

Letting someone else book your trip for you allows you to focus on your luggage and imagine the good time you will be having.

Travel agents can offer you benefits / amenities

Travel agents often have relationships with partners who offer them pre-negotiated rates that are better than what you would get on your own, said Diana Hechler, president of D Tours Travel. , and early check-in / late check-out.

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Booking yourself puts your own spin on it

While there are some benefits to using a travel agent, Kelli, owner of travel blog, Vanabond Tales, said, “Planning your own trip makes the trip more personal. “

“An easy way to save money when planning your own trip is to be flexible about your travel days, travel during shoulder season, and use a flight aggregator to find the best deals on. flights. These few tips will help you get the best deals when booking.

She also recommends local coupon-based businesses like Groupon for discounts on things like museum tickets and other activities. Many places also offer discounts when visited on certain days or at certain times, which can be found on the company’s specific website.

Learn more: How to Save Money on Rental Cars for Your Next Trip

Booking yourself saves you money

Deanna Ford, owner of the Detailed Traveler’s Website, points out that travel agents “are for convenience, not for saving costs. They get bribes, commissions, and perks from the brands they partner with, so you won’t really get budget recommendations.

Thanks to the ease of booking and searching online, Ruby Escalona, ​​who runs the travel blogs A Journey We Love and Travel Florida, suggests that it’s both easier and more affordable to plan your own vacation. You can use “travel stuff” like credit card points and miles to save on hotels, flights, and other attractions. Staying in Airbnbs can lower the cost of hotels, and you may be able to purchase discounted gift cards or use referral credits to book your stay.

Find out: How to plan your future trips without risking your deposits

By booking yourself, you save on service charges

Luxury under Budget travel blogger Anh Le also finds that booking trips yourself is more likely to save you money if you have the time to spend. , so they often add additional booking fees. The recommends setting up Google Flight Alerts to grab deals on flights when prices drop. “I was always able to get flight deals even on summer vacation… with this tactic.”

Emily Cuneo, of the travel blog Emily Embarks, agrees that by removing the travel agent, “you are completely omitting the hundreds of dollars in service charges.”

She recommends researching accommodations from providers like Expedia, and then booking directly with the hotel once you’ve made your selection. “Second, using Skyscanner or Google Flights is a great way to compare prices by airlines, dates and stopovers.”

Finally, by avoiding expensive tour groups, travelers can save thousands of dollars by creating their own city walking tour or country road trip, she said.

While there is no right or wrong way to book travel, knowing how much work you want to put into it and what your goals are will help you make a decision.

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Last updated: Sep 27, 2021

This article originally appeared on Is It Better To Use A Travel Agent Or Plan Your Own Vacation?

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