If you’re like many budget travelers, you probably started booking your own trips yourself online in the early 2000s and thought travel agents went extinct. That’s actually the farthest thing from the truth. Sure, travel agents and agencies are not as common as they once were, but, they are still in demand. In fact, 34% of Millenials used an offline travel agent in 2015 (and many others with some crazy travel requests)! You know, the same generation that can send you a text message or tweet but won’t have a face-to-face conversation with you. I’m surprised that many know what a travel agency is.
You can also perform a quick Google search for “travel agents near me” and you will most likely find at least one private office. Or, you can always look for your local AAA location as well.
Why Do People Still Use Travel Agencies?
Why would anybody use a travel agency when you book the same flight or hotel room as the agent and maybe even save a few dollars in the process?
There are a few reasons actually. Let’s break those reason down below.
You Want Expert Advice
By finding a travel agent who is an expert on the region you want to visit, they can book the best flights, hotels, and even make top-notch recommendations of where to eat and sightsee. If you have never been to another continent, what looks appealing on the Internet doesn’t always work out so well once you arrive and begin to play tourist. Since the agent has already “been there, done that,” they can immediately tell you where to go so you can maximize every minute of the trip.
Not every travel agent is going to know everything about every corner of the globe. Travel Leaders can help you find an agent who specializes in the area you want to visit. For example, you can find an agent that specializes in beach weddings, Riviera Mexico, or Hawaii.
Travel Agents Aren’t That Much More Expensive
The Internet has driven the cost down for many items and services, travel agents included. To remain competitive, travel agents cannot charge the same fees they did before anyone could book their own dream vacation themselves. Travel agents do receive a small commission from the airlines and hotels when they book your trip, but, this helps keep your travel costs down.
Some agents might not charge any additional fees, but, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $50 per person to book your trip for you. If you can afford the convenience or simply do not have the time to research your own flights, hotels, and sightseeing itinerary this can be money well-spent.
If you own one of the best travel rewards cards like the Capital One Venture or a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you have complimentary access to the Amex or Chase travel concierge. You tell them where you want to travel or even what special event you want to attend in your hometown and they will make it happen for no additional fee.
You Have a Complex Trip
Many great free, online tools exist that make booking a complex trip look extremely easy. Any DIY traveler needs to use Google Flights, Momondo, or Skiplagged (hidden city fares) to research a one-way, roundtrip, or multi-city fare. But, buying your plane tickets is only one side of the equation.
If you don’t have the time to research or simply can’t seem to put all the pieces to the travel puzzle together, don’t be afraid to call a travel agent. After all, it’s their job to book these complex fares so that you can have the trip of a lifetime. How often would you regret not going on a complex trip because you were afraid to ask for help?
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