In November I wrote a blog post about the benefits of using a travel agent. That post was so well received I thought I would write a little more on the topic. I’m often asked if there are fees to use a travel agent. Some travel agents do charge fees for different services, like booking air, but they will advise the client of this up front. Why then do so many people think that it’s easier to not use a travel agent? That’s something I just don’t understand.
Why then would you book with a travel agent instead of booking a trip on your own? Let’s compare booking travel to doing your taxes. Yes, you can do your own taxes these days, either online or with special software. But if you use a tax professional or accountant you get the benefit of their expertise. You won’t have to sift through piles of IRS forms and try to decipher this deduction or that expense. Instead, you simply turn everything over to them and then sign on the dotted line and all before tax day.
With a travel agent, you also get the benefit of their expertise. They know which suppliers are great for which areas and for what type of clients since they work in the travel industry. You could sit in front of a computer for hours or days on end searching for the best deal to your destination or you could call your travel agent and let them know that you are interested in a trip to Punta Cana or a 7-night Caribbean cruise and they do all the work for you. Within a short amount of time they present to you a variety of travel options and you book, pay, and go on your trip.
But how do you know you have a travel agent you can trust? A reputable travel agent can and will provide you with references from their client base. Ask them questions about their training, experience, and where they have traveled to, especially in the last few years. A travel agent is in the business because they love to travel and because of this, they can recommend some incredible destinations that you perhaps you have never considered. In addition, they should be easily reachable by phone or email and have a web presence including but not limited to a professional looking web site, FaceBook page, Twitter account, and more. Your travel agent will be willing to meet with you if you live locally or use Skype to chat and update them.
You should feel comfortable talking with your travel agent, but if you don’t, try to determine why before bailing. The travel agent/client relationship is like any other. You need to be able to talk and communicate your needs to one another and if you don’t, then it will feel less than satisfying. Imagine going to the hairdresser and hoping that he or she will cut your hair the way you wish without ever really explaining what it is that you want? It would be impossible to get what you wanted if you didn’t communicate your needs. It’s the same way with a travel agent.
If you’re thinking of taking a trip and are willing to commit countless hours to researching destinations and prices, by all means do it if you have nothing better to do. However, if you feel like you never have enough time in the day to get things done, why add more work to your already hectic schedule? Call a travel agent and let them get you on your way to that vacation you so desperately need!