Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. They are supposed to be a time when you and your family can get away from the monotony of life and escape. However, the planning that goes into making the vacation go off without a hitch can be exhausting. That’s where a travel agent comes in and takes on all the planning duties… wait a minute… you don’t use a travel agent?!?! Why not?!?!
Here are the 10 reasons YOU should use a travel agent for your next vacation:
10. Travel Agents Save You Precious Time
Time is money. Expedia documented that Americans spent 8.7 billion minutes travel planning in 2016. On an individual basis, another study showed that the average individual spends 10-30 hours planning their own vacation. (Some types of vacations such as a Walt Disney World vacation can take double that time.) Even though some vacations require almost a week’s worth of planning time, only 13% of travelers used a travel agent.
Let’s numerize this for a second: The average American hourly wage is $23.46 and like we said each person can spend up an average of 20 hours planning their family vacation. That means just the vacation planning will cost you $469.20.
That’s pretty eye opening and begs the question, what is your time worth to you?
9. Travel Agents are Money Savers
Agents know where to look to find deals and promotions regular travelers might not. They also know when special offers drop that might lower the prices or offer increased amenities. Here’s the best part, research shows travel agents can save customers an average $452 per trip.
8. Travel Agents Offer Better Cash Management Options
When booking yourself, you will likely have to pay for your entire vacation at the time of booking. However, when booking with a travel agent guests have the option of making a ‘down payment’ which, if you are a good financial steward, will keep the remaining money in your account where it can be working for you… assuming you have that money sitting in some kind of interest bearing account.
7. Travel Agents are Matchmakers
Similar to “The Bachelorette”, but without the bikini-clad craziness, travel agents take the time to get to know you, your family, your budget, your like and your dislikes. They will use this information to match you with the best vacation for your specific scenario.
6. Travel Agents Unhide the Hidden Costs
It’s our job as travel agents to read the fine print. Is a resort fee charged? Is there a parking fee? Does the quote include taxes? How about all the fees associated with flying certain airlines? We can tell you way ahead of time EXACTLY how much your vacation will cost so there will be no surprises when you show up.
5. Travel Agents Can be Lifesavers
Sometimes bad things happen to good people. A travel agent can be your intercessory when reservations snafus happen, dining reservations get lost, and even when a family member falls ill while on vacation. As travel agents, we are often privy to special phone numbers that put us ahead of those in the general queue.
4. Travel Agents Have Been There, Done That
Most travel agents are well-traveled individuals. We have experienced destinations around the world and are ready to impart the information to their clients. We know the best hotel locations, the nearest airports and the most sought-after excursions, attractions, dining experiences and tours.
3. Travel Agent Provide Customized Planning and Support
From the time your vacation begins as a dream to after you have returned home, your travel agent will be at your side every step of the way. The same can’t be said for that cut rate website or discount retailer who is offering a deal that seems too good to be true? Here’s a hint: it is to good to be true.
What those websites and retailers aren’t telling you is once you give them your money they are gone like the wind. They aren’t going to help you with excursion reservations, resort and stateroom requests, FastPass+ selections, Advanced Dining Reservations and itinerary planning. And God forbid something goes wrong while you are on your vacation. A travel agent, on the other hand, will be there before, during and after travel we will consult, confer and debrief with you to make sure your trip is everything you imagined.
Listen, I completely understandable that some folks love to do all the planning themselves. No problem!! (FYI, I am one of those people.) After booking, travel agents can do as much or as little as you want. But remember, it’s always good to have a travel agent in your corner even if it’s just as a sounding board, to monitor special offers, or to be there if an unforeseeable issue happens.
2. You are Supporting Small Businesses in Your Community
Gone are the days of brick & mortar travel agencies. (Sure, a few still exist.) Nowadays, most travel agents are running their business out of their home. And instead of supporting some executive’s second home in Bora Bora, you are financing a little girl’s piano lessons or a pair of cleats for a soccer-playing teenager. By using a travel agent, you will be keeping that money in your local community.
1. They are FREE
You read that right. FREE!! Rarely in this world will you find a service which is 100% free. No hidden cost! No small print! That is true with most travel agents. We are 100% free. There is not one cent of added cost for our services. You get pricing research, accommodation booking, special offer monitoring, itinerary planning, tour and excursion reservations, all for the low, low, low, low bargain price of FREE.
Now the question becomes: Why aren’t you using a travel agent?
Do you have a dream vacation in mind? Let me know how I can make that dream come true by clicking here: Looking Glass Travel
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel and a travel agent with Looking Glass Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Agency. She is a team mom extraordinaire who has filled her time serving as secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist for her daughter’s travel sports team for over 15 years before becoming a team owner. You can follow her on Twitter at @JazzinDisneyMom.