13 Things Travel Agents Want You To Know



Slide 1 of 14: Just because people have gotten used to booking their own travel plans online doesn’t mean they’re getting the best deal or experience. Whether you refer to them as consultants, advisors, or by the traditional title of travel agents, experts in the industry are still better than the rest of us at what they do. But they all know when push comes to shove, many stubborn folks will dig their heels in and opt to book online anyway. To help you make the most of your family vacation, we rounded up a few respected travel experts who were open to giving some complimentary advice for the do-it-yourself bookers out there. See what you should know before you dismiss the help of a truely knowledgeable expert.
Slide 2 of 14: It’s often assumed that using a travel agent costs significantly more than booking a vacation yourself. However, many people don’t realize that most travel agents work independently and receive commissions from vendor sales and other partnered relationships. Depending on the circumstances, hiring an agent may not cost any more than booking direct. There are certain instances where fees can come in for research time, but even then travelers can expect to pay a measly $75-$200 for an “all options explored,” thoroughly planned-out and booked trip.
Slide 3 of 14: When you first contact a travel agent, you may or may not know exactly where you want to go. Maybe you don’t have a destination in mind, but you know what kind of trip you want to have. Prepare a variety of questions and stay open to the possibilities a travel agent can offer you. Inquire about more than one destination, or about fluctuations in prices between on- and off-peak travel times. You could even theme your trip after a particular kind of cuisine — and a good travel agent can point you to your own personal foodie paradise.
Slide 4 of 14: If affordability is among your top travel concerns, your best bet is to keep a broad window of opportunity open for travel dates. In case of an event or specific date you need to be somewhere, of course there are limits to how flexible you’re able to be, but even arriving or departing on slightly different dates surrounding your journey can save you tons of cash. If there is any potential room for changes to your itinerary, communicate them with your travel agent for the best possible pricing.
Slide 5 of 14: There’s a rumor among DIY travel planners that it’s better to wait a certain amount of days before a flight departs to book it. Experienced travel advisors agree that when it comes to the best time for booking flights, the sooner the better. When flights first open up, there are ample options for well-prepared vacationers to choose from. On top of that, as the flight sells more and more seats, the prices escalate along with demand. Travel agents may even have premier access to seats or be able to bag better deals for budget-minded journeyers.
Slide 6 of 14: One of the major things that self-bookers fail to account for when planning their own trips is what may be going on in or near their destination during their selected travel dates. Professional travel agents are well-versed at knowing what is going on all over the world. Local holidays, large conventions, or even expected severe weather are just a few possibilities a less-experienced booker may not know to look for, even though these are all things that, among others, can hugely impact any voyage.
Slide 7 of 14: If you’ve gone through the grueling task of putting your own travel itinerary together, you understand how time-consuming a perfect plan can be. For this frustrating chore, travel agents remind wanderlusters they’re the real-life “app for that.” After consulting with specialized agents, they will check prices, put together customized options, and set you up with the most efficient itinerary you’ve ever seen. Since they focus on travel for a living, agents have accumulated knowledge of not only the best deals, but of what you can expect when traveling around the globe.
Slide 8 of 14: Because big travel sites deal with thousands of hotels, flights, and other travel arrangements, there’s not much room for close, personal relationships. When you find a reliable travel agent, it’s similar to visiting a favorite restaurant; they’re going to give you personal service that you can depend on because they know you. This personal touch and connection is a foundation of trust you’ll never be able to find with a random booking site. Travel agents exist as faithful proxies on your behalf so you don’t have to do anything but [travel]9https://mom.com/momlife/188925-life-changing-travel-destinations/).
Slide 9 of 14: You should always be completely transparent with your travel agent about what your actual spending limit is per trip. They are connoisseurs of their craft and have worked with all ranges of budgets before, so don’t scrutinize your own finances too much. When agents are aware of what you truly want to shell out — taking away the temptation to overspend by seeing luxurious options and booking them yourself — they can give you realistic, quality alternatives that fit your financial goals.
Slide 10 of 14: One of the reasons travelers wait so long to book their own trips is because they have to save up for the full payment, usually due at the time of booking. When using a travel agent, the possibility for a payment plan is a reality! You can put down a reasonable deposit and make payments up until a certain date (with many travel agents), alleviating the worry to have a bulk sum immediately deducted from your account all at once. And, if you book early, as travel professionals recommend, you’re left with time to pay off the cost of the trip.
Slide 11 of 14: Even when you book directly with an airline or hotel, strict restrictions can leave you out of luck and out of money if your plans change. When booking with a travel agent, there is a level of financial protection that just isn’t available anywhere else. Emergencies and unexpected changes can all be communicated via one person directly informing you of refund and cancellation policies, giving you ease of information and mind.
Slide 12 of 14: Travel agents don’t get enough credit. It’s underestimated how much cultural and geographical information these industry professionals have collected. The same way an excellent hotel concierge can point you to any place worth going to in town (and the best ways to get there), a travel agent can advise you on the most intricate details of countless destinations and the most efficient and affordable ways to arrive. Maybe we should start calling them global gurus instead!
Slide 13 of 14: When we browse the web, searching and clicking away, cookies keep track of our interests and delivers search engine results that seem related to what we may be interested in. Cookies work a bit too well however, because they return results seemingly attractive to our tastes, but this actually limits the information we receive. Since two different travelers could type in the same destination, but get totally different search results, travel agents want bookers to know that they are not limited by the same biases as your computer, supplying options you otherwise wouldn’t know were available.
Slide 14 of 14: When experts invest time, educate themselves on advanced industry technologies, and spend years forming trusted partnerships and connections, there are behind-the-scenes pieces in play that an outsider most likely won’t have access to. Anybody can use their favorite apps to find a decently priced last-minute deal, but when you are outside of any industry, there are unseen resources that you don’t know how to (or can’t) access — leaving travel agents with an unbeatable hand of cards, while DIY-ers are left to rely on luck.

Just because people have gotten used to booking their own travel plans online doesn’t mean they’re getting the best deal or experience. Whether you refer to them as consultants, advisors, or by the traditional title of travel agents, experts in the industry are still better than the rest of us at what they do. But they all know when push comes to shove, many stubborn folks will dig their heels in and opt to book online anyway. To help you make the most of your family vacation, we rounded up a few respected travel experts who were open to giving some complimentary advice for the do-it-yourself bookers out there. See what you should know before you dismiss the help of a truely knowledgeable expert.

Booking with a travel agent is actually worth it

It’s often assumed that using a travel agent costs significantly more than booking a vacation yourself. However, many people don’t realize that most travel agents work independently and receive commissions from vendor sales and other partnered relationships. Depending on the circumstances, hiring an agent may not cost any more than booking direct. There are certain instances where fees can come in for research time, but even then travelers can expect to pay a measly $75-$200 for an “all options explored,” thoroughly planned-out and booked trip.

Ask about multiple vacation options

When you first contact a travel agent, you may or may not know exactly where you want to go. Maybe you don’t have a destination in mind, but you know what kind of trip you want to have. Prepare a variety of questions and stay open to the possibilities a travel agent can offer you. Inquire about more than one destination, or about fluctuations in prices between on- and off-peak travel times. You could even theme your trip after a particular kind of cuisine — and a good travel agent can point you to your own personal foodie paradise.

Try to be flexible

If affordability is among your top travel concerns, your best bet is to keep a broad window of opportunity open for travel dates. In case of an event or specific date you need to be somewhere, of course there are limits to how flexible you’re able to be, but even arriving or departing on slightly different dates surrounding your journey can save you tons of cash. If there is any potential room for changes to your itinerary, communicate them with your travel agent for the best possible pricing.

Book vacations as early as possible

There’s a rumor among DIY travel planners that it’s better to wait a certain amount of days before a flight departs to book it. Experienced travel advisors agree that when it comes to the best time for booking flights, the sooner the better. When flights first open up, there are ample options for well-prepared vacationers to choose from. On top of that, as the flight sells more and more seats, the prices escalate along with demand. Travel agents may even have premier access to seats or be able to bag better deals for budget-minded journeyers.

Know what’s going on

One of the major things that self-bookers fail to account for when planning their own trips is what may be going on in or near their destination during their selected travel dates. Professional travel agents are well-versed at knowing what is going on all over the world. Local holidays, large conventions, or even expected severe weather are just a few possibilities a less-experienced booker may not know to look for, even though these are all things that, among others, can hugely impact any voyage.

Leave the planning to them

If you’ve gone through the grueling task of putting your own travel itinerary together, you understand how time-consuming a perfect plan can be. For this frustrating chore, travel agents remind wanderlusters they’re the real-life “app for that.” After consulting with specialized agents, they will check prices, put together customized options, and set you up with the most efficient itinerary you’ve ever seen. Since they focus on travel for a living, agents have accumulated knowledge of not only the best deals, but of what you can expect when traveling around the globe.

Rest assured it’s taken care of

Because big travel sites deal with thousands of hotels, flights, and other travel arrangements, there’s not much room for close, personal relationships. When you find a reliable travel agent, it’s similar to visiting a favorite restaurant; they’re going to give you personal service that you can depend on because they know you. This personal touch and connection is a foundation of trust you’ll never be able to find with a random booking site. Travel agents exist as faithful proxies on your behalf so you don’t have to do anything but [travel]9https://mom.com/momlife/188925-life-changing-travel-destinations/).

Know your REAL budget

You should always be completely transparent with your travel agent about what your actual spending limit is per trip. They are connoisseurs of their craft and have worked with all ranges of budgets before, so don’t scrutinize your own finances too much. When agents are aware of what you truly want to shell out — taking away the temptation to overspend by seeing luxurious options and booking them yourself — they can give you realistic, quality alternatives that fit your financial goals.

Take advantage of payment plans

One of the reasons travelers wait so long to book their own trips is because they have to save up for the full payment, usually due at the time of booking. When using a travel agent, the possibility for a payment plan is a reality! You can put down a reasonable deposit and make payments up until a certain date (with many travel agents), alleviating the worry to have a bulk sum immediately deducted from your account all at once. And, if you book early, as travel professionals recommend, you’re left with time to pay off the cost of the trip.

Booking with an agent offers financial protection

Even when you book directly with an airline or hotel, strict restrictions can leave you out of luck and out of money if your plans change. When booking with a travel agent, there is a level of financial protection that just isn’t available anywhere else. Emergencies and unexpected changes can all be communicated via one person directly informing you of refund and cancellation policies, giving you ease of information and mind.

Agents are like global concierges

Travel agents don’t get enough credit. It’s underestimated how much cultural and geographical information these industry professionals have collected. The same way an excellent hotel concierge can point you to any place worth going to in town (and the best ways to get there), a travel agent can advise you on the most intricate details of countless destinations and the most efficient and affordable ways to arrive. Maybe we should start calling them global gurus instead!

‘Cookies’ limit your travel searches

When we browse the web, searching and clicking away, cookies keep track of our interests and delivers search engine results that seem related to what we may be interested in. Cookies work a bit too well however, because they return results seemingly attractive to our tastes, but this actually limits the information we receive. Since two different travelers could type in the same destination, but get totally different search results, travel agents want bookers to know that they are not limited by the same biases as your computer, supplying options you otherwise wouldn’t know were available.

Rely on your agent’s resources

When experts invest time, educate themselves on advanced industry technologies, and spend years forming trusted partnerships and connections, there are behind-the-scenes pieces in play that an outsider most likely won’t have access to. Anybody can use their favorite apps to find a decently priced last-minute deal, but when you are outside of any industry, there are unseen resources that you don’t know how to (or can’t) access — leaving travel agents with an unbeatable hand of cards, while DIY-ers are left to rely on luck.

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