Find out how a travel agent can make planning a trip easier for you. Learn their tips and tricks of traveling and why it may be smarter to book through one.
By Janice Hough
These days, many people are surprised travel agents still exist. However, as counterintuitive as it seems, the biggest problem a travel agent that is still in business has is hiring people.
Booking online often appears fast and easy. But, the truth of the matter is that there is a lot of conflicting information out there, and a lot of confusion.
Travel agents know the rules
A good travel agent can help cut through the clutter. Agents still sell a high percentage of airline tickets, cruises and hotel rooms. With those sales come both clout and know-how to make a trip easier and more enjoyable.
For starters, most agents have access to one of the major central reservation systems. These high-powered systems allow agents to have real-time access to almost all airline seat inventories, as well as programs that help find the lowest prices available between points for air travelers.
Travel agents can get special deals
Some agents have preferred arrangements with airlines that can both benefit the agents and consumers. Consumer benefits can range from access to special help desks to things like free seat assignments with airlines that otherwise charge. Other little-known benefits might include even waivers of everything from change fees to missed advance purchase rules.
Travel agents can be a traveler’s advocate
A very important general advantage of a travel agent is also having an advocate on the traveler’s side, during and after travel, and not just for flights. An agent can work to resolve all sorts of problems with hotels, tours, etc., often immediately, and potentially rescue a trip.