WHY SHOULD YOU USE A TRAVEL AGENT?
Good question folks! Have you ever thought about this? I mean I used to think I could do way better on my own and that a Travel Agent, one with years of experience, couldn't possibly plan a trip that was perfect for me. But then, I thought about their experience. If I compare the same years, qualifications, and connections, then they definitely have me beat. So lately, I've been learning a lot about Travel Agents and the truth behind them. I just never really thought there was a need for using one, unless you were some big Corporation, someone who wasn't computer savvy, or someone who didn't know how to book anything, but guys, I was wrong! There are so many benefits to using an Agent and I'm gonna outline a few for you!
TRAVEL AGENTS CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
I have heard this myth time and time again, "Travel Agents cost more money, and I could do the booking myself!", and to be honest, I totally thought this was true for the longest time! I thought, "Why would I ever use a Travel Agent, when they will in turn cost me more money, and they probably can't find all the deals and non-touristic stuff that I would like!". And from what I have been researching and learning now, this is totally false!
Now, this could be true depending on what Travel Agent [**gosh, I hate saying "Agent" because I consider myself more of a Travel "Architect" **] you are using, but their main goals are to plan something within your budget and/or save you money and provide you with an experience and service more spectacular than you could have planned alone!
I say this because there are 2 types of Travel Agents that I am aware of:
#1 - Travel Agents that work under a Parent Agency/Network where they get paid from the money you were going to use to book your trip anyways. This is called commission. They have Agreements and Partnerships with many different Airlines, Cruise lines, Hotels, Rental Car companies, Touristic companies, etc. so that when they book your trip, they not only get a preferred discount, but they also get commission from the company of choice.
[ Something I have found, is that on average most of these type of Travel Agents end up saving you more money than what you would have done yourself ]
#2 - Travel Agents who charge by the hour or charge a "Service Fee". Now, I can't say for a fact that this type of agent will in turn save you money, because I don't know what kind of agreements they may have, but I'm sure if budget is important to you, it will be to them as well!
TRAVEL AGENTS CAN SAVE YOU TIME
In my book, saving time is saving money! I'm not sure how much time you are spending at the moment booking your trips, but if it's anything like the amount I spend, you probably could have taken a second job by now lol! Given, I do really enjoy all the stuff I research because I look at it likes it's prep for someone else's trip in the future, but a lot of people I've talked to think I'm crazy. Or maybe you're wasting time waiting in an airport for 8 hours because you just had to book the cheapest flight; you just had to! Which, let me
point out the fact that within those 8 hours you will probably get hungry...and airport food ain't cheap folks. [ Matt and I got stuck at the O'Hare Airport in Chicago on our way to New York City for 13 FREAKIN' HOURS because our flight got cancelled, and spent roughly $85+ on food. UNEXPECTED EXPENSE! ] Or maybe your flight got cancelled and you've been on hold for hours trying to figure out how to get on the next available flight! All of this time, could have been saved with a Travel Agent! They do all the planning for you, all the logistics for you, they help you get the best possible flight with the least amount of time spent on layovers, and they even help you with getting on another flight as quickly as possible. They have the connections that you do not! So that cheap flight that you were so excited about, that had a 10 hour layover which required you to get a hotel last minute because the airport doesn't allow sleeping in it, and caused you to get a taxi to that hotel, which caused you to pay for some sort of food ... yada yada yada ... doesn't sound too appealing now that you're missing out on seeing the city you've traveled so far to see! Mic drop.
TRAVEL AGENTS CAN SAVE YOU FROM MISTAKES
This is one of the biggest things in my book! One of the websites I was researching on had these points -
"How much do you know about different travel insurance coverage plans? How's your knowledge of various visa requirements, immunization regulations or customs procedures? Do you need a power converter? Where's the best place to exchange your currency? Life already comes with a bunch of unknowns. Having a travel pro in your corner keeps that from costing you money when you should be relaxing on vacation." (1)
And the hardest part is, all of this stuff varies per country! I mean I can't even tell you how many hours it took for Matt and I to get our Chinese Visas and all the paperwork that was required for them. It was really stressful hoping that we got our Passports with our brand new Visas back in time for our flight!
TRAVEL AGENTS HAVE EXPERIENCE
Whether you want to acknowledge this or not, they do! I use to always think that I knew way more than Travel Agents or Travel Companies because I had actually been to the country many times ... p.s. sometimes I still think this, but most of the time this isn't completely true. Throughout the course of trainings, and years of experience, Travel Agents really do know their craft. And did you know that Travel Agents have to be Certified? I had nooo idea! They're not just people who started planning trips one day so that they could travel for free (huge misconception right there). They have a passion to get you from one place to the other, and want to work around your preferences. If you prefer off the beaten path kinda stuff, let them know that up front. If you prefer touring around a country with a group of people, let them know that. [ honestly though, if they are good at what they do, they would have already asked you about your preferences ] Because of their experience, they know the best time for booking flights, they have amazing perks, they have deals that are exclusive for Travel Agents, etc. The short is this: A lot of things that are monotonous and time consuming to you, aren't to Travel Agents because of their experience.
Now, there are many other reasons why you absolutely should use a Travel Agent, but I feel like we covered some good bases here! Is anybody out there reliving a vacation or trip where something went wrong? Do you kinda wish you had used an Agent?
Well I hope you all are now a little more educated in the world of Travel Agents, and realize how badly you need one for your upcoming trips!
If you come to this realization, I'll be here and happy to help you!