We all love to travel, right? Dreaming of, and planning that next trip is almost as fun as the trip itself. With so much information at our fingertips, researching everything from destinations, flights, hotels, and tours, to local customs, foods, and hidden gems is more accessible than ever. At the same time, the seemingly endless options can overwhelm even the most experienced and savvy D.I.Y. traveler.
If you’re planning a trip for the near future, you may want to consider booking with a travel agent. Don’t be so quick to assume “you got this” and there’s no need for a middle person. Now more than ever, these pros can work their magic to not only help you plan your trip, but to keep it moving along smoothly. Here are our top reasons why we think you should use a travel agent and the last one will probably surprise you.
Travel Agents Have Connections That You Don’t
Travel agents have unique and leveraged relationships with the businesses they book. They have access to discounts on flights and accommodations, which alone will save you money. Travel agents also have the buying power to get extra perks and amenities that we everyday consumers don’t have access to. It’s the exact reason “do use a travel agent” made the #1 spot in our First-Time Cruisers Dos and Don’ts article.
Inside Knowledge and Experience
Travel agents can have in-depth knowledge and experience in the specific type of travel you are trying to book. This means they can offer tips and recommendations to give you a better experience. Case in point: with our recent trip to Ecuador, Cotopaxi National Park wasn’t on our radar – like, at all. But our agents recommended it as a day trip from Quito and set us up with an amazing horseback riding tour there. We spent three hours exploring the vast area surrounding Ecuador’s second-largest active volcano, and that ended up being one of our favorite experiences of our entire two-week trip.
They Will Look Out For You
Before our first cruise (to Alaska!), our agent prepped us with information that we newbies might not have known otherwise. One example is something that is common knowledge to experienced cruisers. The crew will collect your bags the night before disembarkation and have them waiting for you off the ship the next morning. This isn’t mandatory, as we’ve seen plenty of people wheeling their own luggage off the ship, but it sure is convenient. Without that heads-up from our agent, we might not have known to bring a small day-bag along to carry off our PJs, toiletries, and any other items we needed to keep with us on that last night.
Another example of our travel agents having our backs was during our time in Ecuador. Being in places like the Amazon and Galapagos Islands, that trip included more pre-scheduled group tours than we would normally take part in. If we had any issues connecting with these tours, we were able to contact our agents to help us. They were even available in near real-time to answer any questions we had during our D.I.Y. days in Quito – one of which we spent taking in some of the most amazing views the capital city has to offer. You can see them for yourselves in our vlog, Two Days of Incredible Views | Quito Ecuador.
How Much Does a Travel Agent Cost?
Here comes that “surprising” bit we mentioned in the title. So, you’re asking, “how much does a travel agent cost?” When we started to talk with friends and other travelers about our experiences with our travel agents, one of the first questions we get asked is “how much do they cost?” A lot of people like to D.I.Y. their trips to save money, and they feel that a travel agent might be an unnecessary expense. Our travel agents cost us nothing. In fact, they saved us money. In the case of the agents that we have used, they get paid in commissions from the tour companies that they book us with. We have never paid a dfee to our travel agents. There are some that charge for their services, so be sure to ask up front. But many do not and that’s why we feel there’s no good reason to skip including this essential travel partner in your plans.
If you’re planning to stay in budget accommodations, not pre-planning activities or transportation, then you might be better off booking your own trip. But if you’re looking at a more complex itinerary with more moving parts, or simply seeking inside knowledge to help guide you in unfamiliar territory, it’s a great idea to use a travel agent. They’ll make your life easier, get you discounts, and be there in case anything goes wrong.
Have a Look At Our Trusted Travel Partners:
Dale at Treat Yourself Travel.
Angelica and Christian at Terra Sur Travels.