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  When Should You Use a Travel Agent?

It’s time to start planning your summer vacation! That can be good news, or bad news for some travel lovin’ folks.

Why might it be bad news???? Well…It can be paralyzing to plan a big trip. There has been a transformation in the industry with the many travel planning websites accessible to consumers. Where do we begin? How do we find the best deal?

We now have information that was once a travel agent’s advantage. However, agents are still relevant, and depending on your trip, they can help you if you are overwhelmed.  The good ones have found ways to make clients happy, and improve their travels.

I recently took a trip to Burma – not a place “on the map” with tons of planning tools, and an agent helped. The best thing about that trip was she gave us a tour guide, Zor Zor,  to stay with us…. Since we were cruising the islands off the coast of Burma , he advised us on things only insiders would know – like when to come in from hiking on a certain island because there are biting flies that come out at dusk…. or took us to an island with a lagoon in the middle accessible ONLY when the tide goes down.

Here are other reasons to use a travel agent:

1) For many hotels, cruise lines, etc. the agents bring in repeat business. So the industry wants to keep them happy -it is not unusual to receive a room/cabin upgrade because the agent has relationships.

2) If the trip doesn’t go as planned, and you booked through a website, there is not as much recourse, if any, as if you booked through an agent where you get a real person to complain to remedy the situation.

3) The agent often takes trips to destinations as part of his or her job – they are offered these trips so they can make informed decisions for their clients. The agent can then pair you up with the travel situation that fits your needs better, since he or she has personally been somewhere.

Surf lesson in Waikiki

4) On that same note, the agent can offer first hand fun activities that he or she has tried….like a surf lesson!

5) Travel agents often specialize in certain companies or trips – Having an expertise is a benefit for you. Wanna go on an Amazon adventure? Confused about all the cruise lines? They gotcha covered.

6) They can save you money because their job is to know about the specials and the deals.

So where do you find a good one? Get a recommendation from a friend, or try www.asta.org – The American Society of Travel Agents.

On that note… it is a lovely day – time to get your summer travel plans on!

Have a good one.