Travel blogger Mhde Askar is on the road again to bring readers tips and tricks that make for an unforgettable trip. Travel agents used to be integral in trip planning. In 2019, however, everything from airfare to cruises to secluded temple visits can be booked online. Travel agents have fallen out of favor.
It may take some searching, but great travel agents are still out there, and can make a huge difference in the quality of a trip. Askar breaks down why more travelers should consider enlisting the services of a qualified travel agent:
DON’T SWEAT THE DETAILS. Yes, you can do it all yourself online, but who has the time? A dedicated travel agent can listen to your travel aspirations and book you a plug-and-play itinerary. Your travel agent may have specialized knowledge of your destination. If you want to do five or six different activities in a weekend, that’s five or six research projects to find the best vendor before you book. Your travel agent may already know the best vendors and can book you with a click of a button. He or she may even have suggested activities you never would have thought of once you explain how you love to travel. All you need to do is show up with your suitcase and bathing suit.
GROUP TRAVEL. Even simple trips become complicated when navigating a large family, class, bachelorette party, or work junket through multiple activities. A travel agent can be a lifesaver in hashing out the logistics of multiple plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, excursion passes, and trip booking. Though his or her vendor relationships, he or she may have access to group discounts not available online. Which brings us to …
PERKS AND ADDED VALUE. Through years of contacts and relationships, a really good travel agent has the resources to make your trip “extra.” He or she may have access to sold-out events, private tastings at exclusive restaurants, perks and amenities like breakfast or spa treatments at your hotel, and behind-the-scenes tours not available to the general public or bookable online. A great travel agent could be the difference between “blah” and “WOW!” on a trip to the same destination.
POSSIBLE SAVINGS. Services booked through a travel agent will often cost a little more. Considering the added convenience, this is to be expected. It is not, however, guaranteed. Travel agents may have access to “preferred vendor” fares and fees that could actually save you money overall. Don’t count out a travel agent if you are on a budget. Remember, time is money too.
TROUBLESHOOTING. Any experienced traveler knows that even the best-laid plans can go off the rails. A good travel agent is your personal concierge, ironing out issues as they happen, a one stop shop that you know will pick up the phone if you wind up stranded, lost, or separated from your luggage. It’s hard to put a price on that peace of mind.