Here are some reasons why you may want to consider using a travel agent these days instead of spending your valuable time researching endless ideas….
1. They know whether you’re actually getting a good deal.
Since 90 percent of the airline tickets you buy are for a domestic flights, your knowledge of the relative value of a flight to London is, how shall we say, limited. A travel agent, however, books these on a regular basis and will know immediately if the $600 whatever website told you is a “smoldering price” or it’s actually reasonable.
2. Travel agents know where to go in a city, or know someone who does.
It helps to have a reputable resource available who knows the best restaurants, dive bars, or sports arenas without having to sift through a thousand ridiculous reviews about how the waitress didn’t bring you the right drink. Since they book trips all the time, TA’s know this stuff like the back of their hands. And if they don’t, they’re one call away from getting you an answer.
3. They’ve got your back when it comes to flight delays/cancellations.
Try calling a website when your flight gets cancelled and the line to rebook stretches through the terminal. Even if you get through to the airline directly, they still don’t have a clue who you are. Call your travel agent, though, and they’ll get you squared away on another flight while you get squared away at the airport bar.
4. They can actually get you seats together, on the same flight, for the same price.
Rather than spend a week on a group text trying to coordinate your Summer vacay away with the family, only to book your flights separately online and find you’re all sitting next to different people (and paid different fares), a travel agent can get your entire group the same ticket price, with seats together, on the same flight.
5. They can get you VIP status without being a VIP.
Restaurant supposedly booked for months? Yeah, that’s no issue for a travel agent. Need a table at the hottest club in Las Vegas? They’ve got more promoters on speed dial than a South Beach swimsuit model. Thanks to the relationships they maintain across the tourism industry, they can also score you tickets to special tours, private tastings, and other events the Internet doesn’t even know about. Or, if it does, has hidden so deep it’ll take you hours to find out about them.
6. And speaking of hours on the Internet, TAs do all the research for you (Period).
7. They get better prices, first
That $49 one-way flight your email update indicated was a “fresh new deal” was actually available to your travel agent last week, because they have better relationships with airlines and wholesalers. Which also means their prices are… ready for this… usually better than online. Especially for complicated or premium fares.
8. They have Southwest’s prices too.
Fun as it is planning your flight, calculating baggage, seat selection, and water fees, then repeating the whole process on Southwest.com to seeing if it’s cheaper, a travel agent can do the comparison shopping for you. And he or she can do it with any other airline that doesn’t play the online search engine game.
9. No-hassle 24-hour changes
“Non-refundable” on your online reservation — be it a flight, hotel reservation, Duck Tour, whatever — usually means you have 24 hours to make changes without penalty. Most people don’t realize this. Yes, even a “non-refundable” airline ticket can be changed. The only catch, you have to actually call and deal directly with the airline. Or, instead of spending hours on hold listening to “all agents are currently busy”, you can let your travel agent happily fix the ticket. Your call.
10. They’ve been there, they’ve experienced it, they know what will be the best for you!