Travel agents may just be one of the most under-utilized professionals, thanks to a vast amount of information available on the Internet. Next time you are planning a vacation, before you hop online, consider contacting a travel agent. Travel agents may just save you time and money.
The ability to plan vacations both near and far has never been easier. The Internet is filled with tips, recommendations and just about everything you need to plan the trip of your dreams. You may not think you need to take the time to visit a travel agent but their expertise can make the difference between a good vacation and a great one. We’ve rounded up the top reasons to use a travel agent and why you may want to consider finding one before your next trip.
Michelle Desrosiers, a seasoned traveler and travel agent for more than 10 years with Avenues of the World Travel & Cruise, agreed to share her knowledge on the subject. First and foremost, travel agents have a wealth of knowledge not only about locations around the world but the ins and outs of traveling and how to make it as low-stress as possible. Desrosiers said agents are constantly educating themselves to make your vacations and travel plans the best they can be. “A good travel professional continues to expand their knowledge base through yearly consortium sales meetings, ongoing educational training in changing travel trends, reservation technologies and destination training,” in addition to constantly reading new material and staying up to date on consumer trends, she says.
Travel agents eat, sleep and breathe traveling, much like any professional does for their chosen field. “Not only do we send thousands of travelers a year across the globe, we ourselves go and experience the different destinations and types of travel. We have personal experience on transiting most of the world’s major airports, we know first-hand where the good snorkel spots are on any given island, we know how to bypass the lines to the world’s busiest museums,” Desrosiers said. This extra experience can lead to tips and tricks that will help save you time and money and may allow you to see things that you’d never find through a Google search.
Connections and partnerships
Agents and agencies team up with resorts, airlines and cruise lines to give you access to the best deals possible. Those relationships generally trump any deal you could find online. “We work with hundreds of suppliers of travel every week and know who has the best negotiated prices for certain destinations. Many of these travel suppliers do not work with the general public and will only partner with accredited travel agencies,” she says. While you may be able to plan a less expensive vacation on your own, you may not find as good a value or the same quality vacation as what you can book through a travel agent.
The travel agent is there to listen to your needs, wants and dreams for your perfect vacation. You may go in thinking of a certain location and they may show you an even better one that you didn’t even think of. “We take what we hear and we create a travel experience that is best suited for you and the type of trip you are taking at that time. Whether it is for business, a long overdue vacation, a honeymoon or anniversary, an adventure package, missionary travel, humanitarian travel, family travel, food and wine, etc., we take care of every aspect so that you can focus on achieving your travel desires and goals,” Desrosiers says.
If you have issues while traveling, the Internet is not going to do you any favors or advocate for you — but a travel agent will. Travel agents work for you, the customer, not the travel companies, so they can help resolve your issues for you. “If you have a situation arise with a hotel, cruise line, or airline arrangements, we become your advocate on getting those situations resolved as soon as possible,” she says. This can be extremely helpful if you are in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or if a situation arises that requires you to change your plans quickly.
Overall, a travel agent can give you the vacation of your dreams. Desrosiers sums it up: “Because of our personal travel experiences, we understand what a vacation can be – it can be life-changing, and I want every traveler I assist to come home with a better appreciation and understanding of the differences that make up this world.”