To Use a Travel Agent or Not to Use a Travel Agent...
That is the question
With the dawn of the internet and available apps online, the travel agent has become a useless job according to CareerCast. Technology today empowers the consumer with more control when booking accommodations and transportation. You are no longer at the mercy of a commission based agent to recommend what’s best; instead you are able to see reviews of other travelers like yourself and what they liked and didn’t like about their travel experience. A typical search online will yield a plethora of prices for the same destination and most of them cheaper than using a travel agent. That is a good thing for you, but may not always the best thing. A professional travel agent can provide a great deal of customer service if you don’t want the hassle of planning the trip yourself or if you are making a complicated itinerary.
That being said, with a little guidance, you can plan your own trip and enjoy the process of customizing a vacation that meets all your criteria. This is not for everyone but for those who enjoy the details it can be highly rewarding. We recommend spending a minimum of five hours for research and planning to get the most out of your vacation. The more complicated your itinerary is, the more research you should expect to do. The more time you spend researching, the more familiar you will be with the destination upon arrival which can help to minimize some of the “unexpected” things that come up. We have put together a vacation planning guide to help custom design your beach vacation from start to finish. Start Here…
When to use a travel agent:
If you plan to travel with a group, there are many different itineraries and variables that go into making the trip a success. We would highly encourage you to use a professional travel agent for complicated trips and itineraries. It will limit the number of inconveniences on your journey. That being said, part of any vacation is to expect the unexpected and be flexible enough to adjust.
If you’re planning a trip out of the country to someplace you’ve never been before, it might be a good idea to use a travel agent familiar with the country you are visiting. There are so many variable that can impact your trip you really should leave it to a professional agent.
Wedding or Honeymoon Travel
A tropical island is a highly desired location for many destination weddings. However, if you have guests arriving from many different locations, it is best to use a travel agent to help with all the details. You really don’t need to worry about travel arrangements and the complications of missed flights on your big day.
Keep in mind when using an agent:
Travel agents are paid a commission on the total price of your vacation package. Finding the lowest cost travel may not be the intent of every agent out there. Choose an agent based on a referral if you possible can. It is a misnomer that a travel agents relationship with an airline can get you a better deal. While that may have been true in the past, competition is too severe for an airline to lower their prices based on a “friendly” relationship with an agent. If cost is your number one priority, you will have a better chance of a lower rate by booking it yourself. Travel agents can help reduces the stress of travel planning but there is little they can do about unforeseen events that cause headaches in travel. We strongly advise you to purchase travel insurance for every aspect of your trip. Trip cancellation coverage can be some of the best dollars you will spend should something go wrong. After receiving the estimate from the travel agent for your upcoming trip, be sure and ask if there any additional fees such as “service fees” you will be expected to pay. Many travel agents will charge a fee based on the service they provide in addition to the commission they receive from the suppliers.