October 30, 2012 | by Christina Van
Travel agencies can save you time and money.
(Photo by Steve Bowbrick/Flickr)
Hotels, flights, car rentals, cruises, dinner reservations, tours... basically everything you need or want to do in a vacation or business trip can be booked online without any human contact whatsoever.
Mega travel sites like Expedia.ca or Travelocity.com have made it possible for anyone with time and determination to search dozens of web pages to find a deal that suits their budget.
Does this mean that travel agents are no longer needed? Have travel agencies suffered because of the increase of online options?
An article in The Toronto Sun (Oldschool Travel Agents Stage Comeback) reported earlier this year that although it is true that agencies experienced a decline in past years, lately, it appears that travel agencies are making a comeback by repositioning themselves.
A Forbes magazine travel article suggests that for simple trips, the online travel sites will do just fine for you, but there are instances when the experience of a good travel agent will save you money. The benefits they list include:
1) You gain from their connections and experience. A good travel agent who has been around awhile knows people who know people. This can get you into places you would not be able to access in the online travel sites.
2) Complex trips with many flight legs or intricate details in the itinerary would be better handled by a travel agent expert. They’ll cover the bases you may not think about, because they have the experience.
3) Travel agents are better able to help you locate tour guides in your vacationing city who are reputable and reliable.
4) Travel agents can often get upgrades to your trip that you would not be able to receive on your own.
5) Travel agents know hotels. They will listen to your needs and help you select a hotel that matches what you are looking for. They have insight into industry information that you won’t find elsewhere and this could save you a lot of disappointment in your selections.
A travel agent is not for everyone or for every trip. But when a higher priced vacation is planned, or a world trip with multiple stops, or a trip that has a lot of emotion on the line—like a honeymoon or special anniversary trip—you don’t want to take the chance that you’ll find yourself in a foreign city with a suitcase of disappointments.
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