Family Vacation Tips

Do I Need A Travel Agent?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 22, 2015 11:48:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

Why Use a Travel Agent Do you cut your own hair?

If so, then chances are you're the type of person who doesn't need help from anyone, let alone a travel agent. If you're happy to proudly sport a lopsided mullet then via con dios my friend. You probably won't be able to see all that you're missing.

Folks have the internet for vacation planning. The world is at your finger tips. Power tools in the hands of the unskilled can be a recipe for disaster.

Just because you have millions of choices glaring at you from your computer screen, doesn't mean You'll find RIGHT vacation choices. Search ANY vacation spot, hotel, flight schedule, attraction or restaurant and google will deliver you millions of options. Too many choices creates confusion, analysis paralysis, stress and uncertainty.

If you've been slaving all year to afford that anticipated week of vacation bliss what you want is focus, confidence and joyful anticipation - not worry and dread.

Folks often don't realize that having a travel agent at their side is like having a trusted tour guide who will LEAD THEM TO the vacation of their dreams.

A travel agent works to make your life easy, steer you away from any harm and make sure you get to see and experience everything your heart desires. A really great travel agent will go beyond your expectations and offer experiences that you didn't even realize you couldn't live without.

So if you still need convincing, here are a few reasons why you should use a travel agent to help you plan your next vacation...

Save Time -folks don't calculate how much their own time costs.  Studies show it takes a minimum of 5 hours to properly research, shop and book a typical vacation. That's almost of full day of work squeezed in between work, homework and soccer practice. A good travel agent has the skills, knowledge and tools to get this done FOR YOU in short order.  They also have the resources and contacts to put together highly complex and complicated custom itineraries too. Just imagine what you could be doing if you had a free day to yourself instead of listening to Disney Tunes for several hours to make dining reservations!

In addition, travel agents know how to "time" your itinerary properly to offer you the most fun while avoiding hassles and headaches.  Those "cheap" online flights you found online with those short connection times put you at risk for spending several long days waiting at the airport instead of having fun on the beach.

Stay Safe - A good travel agent works with trusted partners.  Vacations are suppose to be fun and carefree. Most people don't want to think about any potential problems. a good travel agent has your back! They know which companies are licensed, bonded, insured and in good financial standing. Your agent wants your health, experiences and finances to be protected and free from worry.  It's our job to worry about all this stuff so that you don't have to. There are so many travel scams out there it's often impossible to spot the risks when you think you've found a real bargain.

Ever heard the expression, "Friends in high places"...good travel agents not only have friends in high places but they also have friends in every place on earth. The best travel agents have previously visited your vacation destination (on their own dime) and have made important industry contacts that will in turn, help their clients. Travel agents who have a huge contact list means they know exactly who to call to enhance and protect you and your family throughout your entire journey.

Saves You Money - You don't have to pay a travel agent for their services. Most travel agents work on pure commission. Yes, there a "few" that will simply make recommendations based on putting more coin in their pocket. Good travel agents are also very good business people.  They know building a trusted relationship with their clients means return business year after year along with many referrals.  This sort of business plan means recommending what is best for their clients. This is why a good travel agent looks to give their clients the best value and save them money whenever possible.

Most people don't realize how many different ways a travel agent can make more "cents" for you...

  • Professional prices - Travel agents have access to some products and pricing that is not available online or to the general public
  • Price matching - Travel agents work with computers, not crystal balls. Sometimes a particular hotel, website or airline may post a lower price. 99% of the time a good travel agent can match or beat advertised prices. Even more important, there are tons of travel scams out there. Working with a knowledgeable travel agent can save you from making very costly mistakes.
  • Sale matching - If a lower price is advertised, even after you confirm your reservation, a good travel agent may be able to still get you that new lower price. Book the trip yourself and you're stuck with the original price you paid.
  • Free Layaway - A good travel agent will offer free vacation layaway which can save you tons of hidden credit card interest and fees. Book online and you'll often have to pay in full upfront.
  • Avoid Costly mistakes - Travel mistakes can cost you big time! In many case you may find yourself out of pocket for the entire cost of your vacation. A good travel agent will guide you through any potential potholes and pitfalls to protect your vacation investment.
  • Smart Suggestions - If budget has been keeping your family away from your dream destination a smart travel agent may have ideas and suggestions to make your dream destination far more affordable and possible. 
Enhance your Experiences - Despite the time involved, there are many people who really enjoy researching their own vacations...but that doesn't mean that you still can't use a good travel agent. 
Sure, you might have decided on a specific destination or found great reviews of the perfect vacation spot online. A good travel agent, with first hand experience and contacts will be able to make that experience even more memorable. Your travel agent will know where all the locals like to eat or how to find hidden beach most tourists never see. They can offer suggestions and insights to make your vacation even more perfect.
No doubt, you'll have many "how to" questions from navigating foreign airports, getting around town, what to pack, local customs etc. Wouldn't it be great to be able to easily contact a real person that has all of the answers? (and if your travel agent don't know the answer, they will know who to call to get the answer for you).
It's easy to spot the folks out there who don't use they need a travel agent. These are the people you'll find time and again whining and complaining on travel review websites, family and friends about everything and anything that went wrong during their trip. They are the same folks willing to show you all of their power tool battle scars while bragging about how much money they saved on home improvements.  Does wasting time and money for the right to complain sound like a smart idea?
It's even easier to find the folks who use a travel agent.  They look happy, well rested and have a great family photo screen saver.  You'll often catch them smiling and having really great hair days too.
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Topics: family vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of 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.

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