Family Vacation Tips

Benefits of Booking With A Travel Agent vs Booking Online Yourself

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 31, 2013 7:52:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

travel agent vs booking onlineFolks ask us all the time why they need to book their family vacations with a travel agent. We could easily spout statistics like the fact that 51% of all U.S. travel is booked via travel agents but this doesn't get to the crux of the situation.

Let's face it, it's tempting to be able to book your own trips online. You can save a TON of money by comparison shopping and getting the lowest price online yourself. Besides using the services of a Travel Agent will cost more, Right?.  Let's bust a few myths here people...

Travel Agents are "All Inclusive" - Hotels, vacation package companies and cruise lines include our commissions in their published prices. If you do all the work, they "pocket" the difference. Use a travel agent and you won't be spending hours on the internet, hanging on phone hold for eternity or wasting any precious time wondering and worrying.

Travel Agent Do Not Cost More - Vacationkids never charges services fees. Our services are free to our customers.  We earn our living but the sales commissions we earn from  the hotels, cruises, sightseeing and rental cars. The airlines haven't paid commissions to travel agents since the mid 1990's.  This is why when we recommend infants should have their own airlines seats instead of flying free as a lapchild, we're not trying to part you from extra money. We're trying to make sure your baby stays safe. If their parents want to use miles too book their flights or if there are cheaper rates online, Online Travel companies do charge service fees. They build them into the cost that you pay.

Travel Agents Are Pushy - Any good travel agency knows it's not about making the sale, it's about creating happy clients. Happy clients become fans of your company, come back to you every year and recommend your company to others. We rejoice when we can save our clients money with a great deal. We make our recommendations based on the specific needs and requests of our clients. We don't base our recommendations on industry sales incentives or bonus gifts. If we know of a better room or experience that will enhance our client's family vacation, we'll suggest it but that's all. No pushing involved, we just do right by our families.

Travel Agents Match Online Prices - We do our best to find you the best deals available. If you do find a cheaper price online, let us know. 9 times out of 10 we can match or beat that price if you tell us about it. If we cannot beat it, we'll tell you why it's probably a scam and not a deal. You benefit by getting the best price and our great service.

Travel Agent Will Help You Save - Travel agents are privy to special flight prices, special hotel and cruise cabin rates that consumers will never find online themselves. This feature alone will save you money. You must be a licensed travel agency or belong to a specific insider group. Beyond pricing, travel agents can often get special ammenities like ship board credits or insider tours that can enhance your family's vacation.

Travel Agents Save You Time - Busy parents recognize how valuable their time is to them. Parents can easily spend HOURS researching family vacation options online. With the amount of conflicting information available online, it's easy to quickly get overwhelmed and confused. Many times, the questions perplexing many parents we agents can often answer right off the top of our heads thanks to our years of experience. If you have detailed questions or need to plan a complicated itinerary, we do all the work for you.  We can make the international phone calls to get your questions answered. We know who and how to reach out to in order to get the job done, saving you hours of frustration.

Travel Agents Understand The Fine Print- Most folks don't bother reading the tiny, small print when they book trips themselves and this what usually "trips" them up. Even if folks do stop to read it, they may not be able to understand the implications. Travel Agents understand the rules, terms and conditions. We can help navigate you to make sure you don't make any costly mistakes that could cost you big time down the road.

Travel Agents Protect You - Most DIY vacation planners don't realize that medical insurance usually does not cover your family while on vacation out of area or especially overseas. Many foreign countries will take your passport if you are admitted to a hospital and will expect payment in full for any treatment or surgery prior to discharge.  A good travel agent will make sure you have the proper peace of mind with the right travel insurance to keep your family safe and protected.

Travel Agents Have Contacts - You may notice from the pictures on Vacationkids, our staff visit most of the resorts we recommend.  You'll see us pictured with staff members and management. There is a huge reason why we spend our own money to make these trips. Having these face to face meetings and knowing the right contacts truly benefits the vacation experience for our clients.  We know exactly who to speak to in order to make special requests for our families. This could mean things like adjoining rooms, welcome bottles of champaign or advanced restaurant reservations.

Travel Agents Have Specialized Expertise - First hand experience and expertise are what will change a typical vacation into a real memorable experience. Not every Travel Agent can humanly know every destination in the world. As travel agents we too have favorite spots and types of family vacations that we're passionate about selling.  This is why when you work with us here at Vacationkids, you'll work with the family trave agent that can best serve your family. We have specific experts for Disney, family cruise, Caribbean/Mexico, Destination Weddings or even exotic trips like Thailand or Peru.

Travel Agents Have Priceless Advice - Visiting the resorts and places we recommend means we have first hand experience to pass along to our guests. We can help you choose the best rooms, eat at the best restaurants and find the best places to shop, all while savingyou money. No two kids clubs are ever the same. Often you can't tell from the website or brochure photos. We appreciate that this is very important for many parents. This is why we make it a point to inspect them for ourselves.  Our agents are available to you to help answer all of your questions directly from how to get your first passports to what you need to pack for your cruise.

Travel Agents Prevent Hassles - DIY travel people don't realize if the hotel they book does not live up to their expectations, they are left at the mercy of that hotel. Paying the cheapest rate for your room may mean you will be the first to have your room denied if the hotel over books.  There is a HUGE difference between great value and the cheapest price.  You may pay a low price for  your family's flight but that doesn't mean you'll make your connecting flight. This could result in an unexpected camp out at the airport terminal. A good travel agent know certain airport require longer connection times to prevent problems.  A good agent utilizes the clout of a travel wholesaler to make sure you receive a low competitive price with a guaranteed room upon arrival.

Travel Agents Babysit Your Reservations - Many folks have commitment issues when it comes to pulling the trigger and confirming their reservations. They always think they will get a cheaper last minute rate. Often they wait too long, forfeit availability and end up paying more for their vacation. Most people don't realize that if their trip goes on sale, they can get a lower rate. A good travel agent will babysit your reservation and have any lower prices or sales applied to your reservation, even after you've made your initial deposit has been made. This is true for many cruises or Disney vacations. For Caribbean or Mexico resort vacations, our agents can direct you to price guarantee coverage that offers you the same option.

Travel Agents Offer Affordable Payment Plans - Online booking websites normally require payment in full at the time you confirm your reservations. This means you could be paying huge credit card interest fees that will add to the total cost of your vacation in the long run. Many times, when you book with a travel agent you will only be required to pay a small deposit to confirm your family's vacation reservations. Final payment for your trip will usually be required 45 to 60 days prior to your departure. In many cases, a travel agent can set up a monthly vacation layaway program that could save you hundreds on credit card interest.

Travel Agents Work As Your Troubleshooter - No matter how much you prepare, sometimes unexpected "stuff" happens while your on vacation.  When you book with a travel agent, they  are with you every step of the way. We are your personal advocate. If you run into any issues, your travel agent can make calls and usually fix the situation so you don't have to waste vaulable vacation time problem solving. We usually know who to call and how to ask for the right solutions many times exceeding your expectations.

Travel Agents Follow Thru - In the rare instance that you need to make a travel insurance claim or need to follow up on a complaint after you return home, your travel agent advocate continues to work on behalf on your family. We make sure any problems are solved to your satisfaction.

15 reasons why working with a travel agent will save you time, money and hassles versus booking your family vacation online. At Vacationkids, our agents work very hard to gain your trust and prove our worth. We hope we've answered all of your questions here but if we've missed any important points, just send us an email or give us a call at 610-681-7360 and we'll gladly give you an answer.

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Topics: Affordable Family Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Vacationkids.com Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.