Why You Should Use a Travel Agent, Now More than Ever

The travel industry is as exciting as ever, and next year will be no different. We’ll see new firsts on ocean cruise lines, the highly anticipated launches of Virgin Voyages and the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, and innovations across the hotel sector. With all that’s to come, there are now even greater reasons to always book with a travel professional.

Get V.I.P. treatment at no extra cost.
Most travel advisors are members of a consortium, which negotiates special rates and perks on behalf of their clients, from free cocktails and room upgrades upon arrival, to spa treatments and late checkouts with supplier partners.

Ease the hassle of planning a vacation.
For complex trips, such as cruises where there are multiple room categories, to dozens of restaurants and hundreds of land excursions, travel advisors know what to look for and when. All you have to do is show up and enjoy.

Navigate Mother Nature.
Natural disasters are becoming more intense and frequent. This year saw wildfires in California and Australia, and the Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Dorian. Not only can a travel advisor help you around canceled flights, but it’s their job to know what is open and what isn’t, and they can provide reassurance whether or not it’s okay to travel to a destination.

Protect your bottom dollar.
New research found that nearly one in four people are scammed by third-party booking sites, translating to a loss of more than $5.7 billion. Make sure the money you saved for a special vacation goes into the right hands with a trusted travel advisor (reputable agents often list their accreditations on their website).

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Pass along the homework.
A vacation filled with authentic and immersive experiences translates to a lot homework researching and verifying. Let the travel advisor do a deep dive into each destination, instead, as they can pull from their vast personal and product knowledge through fam trips, client feedback, and in-depth education.

Don’t go it alone.
Life is unpredictable. If a personal issue finds you needing to rebook – and fast – there’s no one better to have on your side in a pinch than a travel advisor. They know what phone numbers to call and whom to speak with, so you’re not on the line for an hour waiting for an operator, just to be transferred to a different department. Sometimes, personal relationships with general managers and other suppliers allow them to work around items like a no-refund deposit.

Find the right travel option for you.
From the air to the sea, there are more choices than ever before. As more airlines join the unbundling trend, fare options range from Basic Economy to Economy to Business; and additional services such as baggage checking and seat reservations, creating even more components for travelers to choose from. Booking a cruise is complex, with dozens of cabin categories and multiple rate codes, as well as refundable and non-refundable rates, and guaranteed cabins and cabins with free perks. Advisors are uniquely positioned to tell you which combination is right for you and your wallet.

Get important, up-to-date information.
When there are changes in documents needed to travel, or travel visa requirements, you’ll always be in the know. Take, for example, October 2020’s REAL ID deadline, which most Americans are unprepared for. Travel advisors are keeping them informed and reminding them to complete the necessary steps, so there are no surprises when they go to the airport.

by Jessica Montevago / November 26, 2019
Photo: Shutterstock

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