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Posted by on Aug 10, 2009 in *Hot*, TripClips, TripTips |

The Top Reasons Why YOU Should Use A Travel Agent

With all the recent research and dialogue about travelers returning to using travel agents more and more, we thought to remind ourselves… Why use a travel agent?

Here’s the “short list”:

  • Convenient One-Stop Shopping: Travel agents can handle every aspect of your trip from airline tickets to lodging, ground transportation, activities, tours and more.
  • Consumer Advocate: If you should have a problem during your trip, travel agents can act on your behalf to see that proper restitution is made.
  • Expert Guidance: Travel agents are experts in helping travelers get where they need to go and in helping to create possibilities most people never would have dreamed were possible.
  • Save Time: Avoid the headaches and let the travel agents call around and do all the time consuming work of planning a complex itinerary.
  • Choice: Travel agents offer you an array of options and price quotes from a variety of travel suppliers, giving you the upper hand when making your final travel decisions.
  • Less Stress: Planning a trip can be stressful. There are so many options and details to worry about. Travel agents do the work, resulting in less stress for you.
  • Updated Information: Travel agents are constantly communicating with the travel community, thus giving you the most up to date info on airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel visas, and other travel services to consider as you plan your trip.
  • Customer Service: Travel agents offer that “personal touch” to your travel planning experience- Offering help and advice that a website cannot provide.
  • Travel Documentation: Travel agents can help you to prepare and organize any necessary documents that you may need in order to travel outside of the country. They can direct you to your local passport office, and they know where you need a visa, as well as any other documentation that you might need along the way.
  • Travel Expertise: Many travel agents are considered experts in the area you are traveling to and have probably already been to your chosen destination.
  • Best Value for Your Money Spent: Travel agents can help you to make your dollars go farther while you are away. They have access to finding all sorts of deals, some that can only be booked by and through a travel agent!
  • Location, Location, Location!!!!:Travel Specialists can help you to find a place to stay pretty much anywhere you desire. If it’s a hotel with a view of the ocean in Hawaii or a jungle hut in the Nilgiri foothills, a travel agent can help you make it happen.
  • Credentials: Travel agents attend all sorts of seminars and classes and obtain rigorous certifications to prepare themselves for trip requests like yours.
  • Tourist Attractions: Travel agents can give you a list of all the not-to-miss spots: such as amusement parks, museums, nature preserves, and historical locations.
  • Trip Cancellation: Something has come up and you need to cancel your trip? If you have used a travel agent they are the only person you need to call. A good agent will also have recommended and provided you with excellent insurance options for your trip.
  • Travel Insurance: With all the countless options for travel insurance these days, it can become confusing. A travel agent can help you pick which package works best for your needs.
  • Where to Go to Avoid Kids: Want to go somewhere without children running all over the place? A travel agent can help you to find excellent retreats that are open to adults only.
  • Exotic Adventures: Travel experts can help to recommend great once in a lifetime experiences. They can help you to find the best/safest shark cages to dive into and the highest free-fall bungees to jump off.
  • What to Eat: Where are all the top chefs at your destination? Travel specialists give great advice on the best restaurants to hit on your trip.
  • Local Traditions: Travel specialists can update you on all local traditions and customs of places you are visiting, so you make a good impression. For example, in Japan many people expect their visitors to take their shoes off before entering their homes.
  • Busiest Travel Times to Avoid: If you want a quiet trip, travel experts know what dates you should avoid and can help you plan your trip accordingly.
  • Avoid Unexpected Expenses: Travel agents will be able to inform you about expenses you will incur on your trip, even ones you might never expect.
  • Exchange Rate Knowledge: Travel agents are knowledgeable of the countries where your dollar can go further.
  • Useful Travel Books to Have with You: A travel expert can give you advice on what travel books are the most useful to have with you. Some of these books list restaurants, customs, and small amounts of the local language.
  • What to Wear: Many restaurants have different types of dress codes. If you are interested in dining at specific places on your trip, your travel expert can advise you on appropriate dress wear for the occasion.
  • Someone to Call if Having a Problem During Your Trip: An online travel agency is not going to answer the phone when you call with any complications during your trip. A travel agent continues to give you that personal support even while you are away.
  • Saves You Precious Time on Your Trip: To avoid 36 hours in the airport, your travel expert can help plan your trip so your time spent getting to where you want to go is the shortest it can be.
  • Complicated Itineraries Made Simple: Travel experts can take care of all the details for those complicated around the world itineraries and all the extra headaches that go with them, such as hotel and transportation along the way.
  • Special Needs Travelers: Travel specialists can prearrange any wheelchair or special need that someone in your travel party may have. They can also take the time to make sure your reserved accommodations are safe and easily accessible for the special needs traveler.
  • What to Pack: Some activities you choose to partake in may require different layers of clothing throughout the day. Your travel agent can advise you on what to bring. A bike trip down an extinct volcano in Hawaii for example, may require you to start out with jackets and wool socks, but when you get to the bottom you may be down to shorts and a tank top.
  • Let Them Wait on Hold: By using a travel agent you no longer have to wait on hold and talk to automated systems while trying to book different parts of your trip.
  • Group Hotel Reservations: Travel agents can help to keep everyone in your group on the same floor at a hotel.
  • Charter Private Boating Trips: Travel specialists can help you to avoid paying top dollar for chartered snorkeling or fishing trips for large groups. They can often find great deals for large groups who want to do personalized tours.
  • Special Deals Worked Out in Advance: Travel agents may have a relationship with certain tour operators and could be able to get you a special price that might not otherwise be available.
  • Make Travel Meaningful for Children: Travel agents can offer information about kid-friendly activities on your trip to make the experience exciting and meaningful for everyone.
  • Trust: If you should have any questions after booking your trip, you know how to reach your travel agent and can avoid the confusing FAQ section on a website.
  • Tips and Tricks: How early do you really need to be at the airport? What are the quickest ways to get through security? Your travel expert can advise you of the airport security levels the day of your trip and any new security checkpoints you may have to worry about.
  • Is the Upgrade Worth It?: Your travel expert can help you save money by helping you decide if certain upgrades at hotels are really worth the extra money.
  • Difference in Days to Save Money:Instead of playing around with dates on the internet for hours, your travel agent can advise you on any changes to your travel dates that might save you hundreds of dollars.
  • Staying In-the-Know of Daily Promotions: Travel agents get emails and faxes of daily money saving promotions.
  • Enhancing the Trip with Extra Amenities: Your travel specialist may be able to arrange for those little extras- like a bottle of champagne to be waiting in your room when you arrive.
  • Using Clout in Impossible Situations: Whether it is airline seats, cruise reservations, or overbooked activities travel experts have more buying power than the average consumer.
  • Clarifying the Fine Print: Your travel agent can advise you of all the cancellation penalties and restrictions hidden in the fine print of your travel documents.
  • Detailed Itineraries: Your travel expert can help you plan out your trip day- by -day to give you a good mix of fun and relaxation.
  • Advice on Activities to Book Beforehand: A travel expert can forewarn you of any activities that tend to sell out early so there are no unexpected disappointments when you are there. For example, character dining in Disney sells out months in advance.
  • A Trip to Nowhere…Sort of: Want to get away to somewhere that is not normally a vacation hot spot? Your travel specialist can help you find that perfect place.
  • Great Singles Trips: A travel agent can help find you exciting singles trips and cruises.
  • Plan a Trip Where you Bring the Kids but Can Still Get Some Alone Time: Many cruises and resorts now offer activities throughout the day for young children that make the day fun for them and give you some time to yourself. Travel experts can help you find great family destination options such as these.
  • Great Group Trips: Trying to organize a trip for big group of people? A travel expert can help get all the details finalized and update everyone in the group, AND get you special benefits and enhancements you can’t get on your own.
  • Someone to Complain to: If that slim chance were to occur that you do not get what you were promised, you have a real person to go back and complain to. Travel agents will work hard to rectify the matter.
  • They Are Considered Travel Experts and Specialists:Wouldn’t you rather have a travel expert plan your trip rather than a preprogrammed and impersonal website?
  • Best Pre-Seat Assignments Possible: Travel agents can talk directly with the airline to arrange for you to get the seats with the most leg room, seats that might not otherwise be released until the day of the flight.
  • Family with 3 Small Children and Only Want 1 Room?: A travel expert might be able to find a way to help a family with small children get around the hotel policies of only 4 to a room.
  • Help, I’m Lost!!!!!!: if you should get lost somewhere along the way, your travel agent could be a good outlet for help. It just Makes Sense to Use a Travel Agent.
  • They’re Out There… Use Them: Why do the work if someone else like a travel specialist can.
  • Even if the Internet Goes Down Your Trip Can Still Be Planned:Your travel agent is still getting your trip planned even if your internet at home or at the office is not working.
  • Back-up Distributor of Documents: You can give your travel agent a copy of all your travel documents so if anything were to get lost you have someone to call that can send copies.
  • It is Their Job: Travel agents actually work to get different accreditation to increase their qualifications as a travel expert. Why not let them put that expertise to work for you?
  • Lost Baggage: If the airline should lose your baggage, your travel agent can get on the phone and make sure the airline works as quickly as they can to solve the problem allowing you to at least go relax at the hotel.
  • Travel Agents Must Be Doing Something Right: They Sure Have a lot of Business Travel agents still sell 51 percent of all airline tickets, 87 percent of all cruises, 81 percent of all tours and packages, 45 percent of all car rentals and about 47 percent of all hotels.
  • Don’t Like Letter Writing?: A good travel agent will send a letter to the airline or hotel for you if you should have a bad flight or poor service at a hotel.
  • Sound Important When Talking About Your Trip: After a bragging about a great trip to coworkers or the neighbors, and they ask how you got all those details organized you can say, “My agent did it.”
  • Financial Planning: Travel experts can help you to create a budget to stick to while you are on your trip, so you can have a good time and not break the bank.
  • Good Lounge Recommendations: Travel specialists can help you decide if purchasing access to an airline lounge is worth it or not.
  • Good Airport Hangouts: Travel agents travel a lot. They can probably help you figure out what to do with that extra time you have in an airport after getting through security.
  • Altering Your Travel Arrangements: If you have already booked your trip but want to change some details your travel agency can help get all the necessary steps done, leaving you without the headache and confusion.
  • It Makes Traveling Easy: Once you find a good travel agent, your dream vacation is just a phone call away.

The above bullets were excerpted from the American Society of Travel Agents website and have been edited for berevity.

Just think, these are only about one third of the official full list of why you should use a travel agent… but we ran out of breath narrowing it down to just these!

And the best reasons why YOU should use a travel agent: It will cost you the same or less, someone else does the work, and you get so much more!

While there are some minor fees agencies charge for services, most typically a ticketing fee for airfare, you get so much more expertise, service, knowledge, and value that it’s no wonder one of our family friends who we offered to help book a Hawaii visit to stay with in-laws said “I would gladly have paid your $50, each, to take care of the hassle of finding just the right air for my trip…I spent hours trying to do what you found in 5 minutes.”

Think of it this way:

  • Would you rather spend two hours servicing your vehicle to change the oil, flush/refill fluids, inspect all the belts and fittings, and perform other routine maintenance, OR do you go to a mechanic, pay them $39-$79 to expertly handle the work in a third of the time?
  • Would your rather rummage around listings on your own, navigate the rules and regulations of escrow, mortgage, and contract laws in your area, and go-it-alone when buying or selling a house… OR do you engage the services of a professionally licensed real estate agent to perform the best search or make the best listing, ensure the correct paperwork is executed properly, and generally handle all the details for a fractionally small fee?
  • Would you rather go to the grocery store, purchase flour, yeast, sugar, salt, oil, possibly eggs, butter or margarine, then go home and whip out the mixer, make the dough, let it rise, bake it precisely hoping you got the mix, temperature, and time correct, OR do you find a great bakery, consult with the baker, get advice on the different bread options and then purchase a loaf of very good fresh bread for less time effort and energy…. and as the proverb notes: Give the bread dough to the baker, even if he eats half of it.

Similarly why not engage a professional, an expert who is knowledgeable, certified, and trained in their field to assist you with planning your vacation… the effort and time spent will be significantly less, and the expertise will ensure you receive the best value and the best experience. And the best part?…. we won’t eat half your bread!

(c) 2009, Pride Travel, all rights reserved. Portions edited from public domain information provided to members of the American Society of Travel Agents on its website. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without prior written authorization.

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