by Vivian Chung,
A host of online booking mediums means travelers can easily arrange their own journeys via the internet, eliminating the need for traditional travel agencies. But agents are passionate about sharing the world with others and go beyond just planning your vacation — they are an invaluable resource and take care of you from beginning to end, saving travelers time and money. Consider using a travel agent for your next major trip so you can take advantage of these hidden benefits.
Strolling by a travel agency while window shopping at your local mall, you find yourself mesmerized by the posters of Hawaii’s glittering turquoise waters and New York City’s dazzling lights. But when you start to do your own research at home, you’re overwhelmed by the amount of information and advice that lives online. Where do you start? Whose advice do you trust?
Different agencies specialize in different areas of travel — from Disney vacations to cruises — so you know you’re in good hands. Travel agents can facilitate the entire process of planning a journey, from brainstorming trip ideas down to cementing the minute details like which train to take between Barcelona and Valencia. Travel agents speak from personal experience and planning with one allows you to hone in on your interests and design your ideal getaway. Well-informed about the destinations you plan to visit, travel agents provide pro tips for hidden viewpoints and local favorite restaurants.
Building a relationship with a travel agency means they get to learn your preferences and traveling style, allowing them to personalize your journeys for you. You can engage in conversation with a travel agent about your previous vacations and reveal your preference for a getaway that seamlessly blends urban exploration with outdoor adventures.
If you’re a vegetarian traveling through Guatemala where chicken dominates their staple dishes, your agent will be able to suggest restaurant options with vegetarian choices, or arrange a vegetarian cooking class for you. Travel agents can also endorse special requests on your behalf, and personalize your fifth wedding anniversary by preparing a cake delivery upon check in at your hotel.
They Sweeten the Deal
Travel agencies part of a consortium have access to exclusive pricing and promotions that rarely go public, allowing agents to sweeten the deal by offering cabin upgrades and onboard credit. Travel agents also have the privilege of pre-selecting seats on a majority of flights, ensuring you don’t end up in the middle seat of a long haul transatlantic flight, minimizing the stress of being trapped in a cramped economy seat.
Save time by asking your travel agent for advice instead of searching through online blogs and forums. Travel agents build complex itineraries by arranging all transportation methods, booking your accommodations and securing fast passes to a city’s major attractions. And due to their vast network of global connections, they can also arrange for reliable guides to pick you up at your hotel or meet you at the entrance of a museum for a comprehensive tour. Save time by consulting a travel agent and stay organized without the stress.
Assistance On the Road
If you’ve booked your travels with an agent, you can call for assistance and receive personalized attention while resolving any issues that arise on the road. Your agent will inform you of your next best options and book you into a hotel for the night instead of leaving you scrambling on hotel search engines and airline websites, giving you peace of mind when travel plans derail you.