travel agent talking on the phone

Are Travel Agents Worth the Extra Cost?

If you’re about to plan your next vacation, you might be thinking about hiring a travel agent, but are they actually worth the extra cost? If you’re inexperienced in booking, then it’s a resounding “yes.” If you have some experience, you’ll have to determine the answer for yourself based on why someone would book a travel agent. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.

Promotions and Discounts

If you haven’t used a travel agent, you should know that these professionals get extra discounts and promotions that are difficult to find. Additionally, they may get other promotions that aren’t available to the public. Also, travel agents have a rapport with the people that they book with, meaning you can get free upgrades without any extra cost. Keep in mind that it isn’t guaranteed that a travel agent will get the best price, especially if you’re a member of AARP or AAA. Sometimes you can get a better deal by calling a hotel directly. Inform your travel agent if you’re a member of these organizations to ensure the best discount possible.

Time Spent

The amount of time it takes the average person to book a vacation varies. There are many variables to consider when planning a trip. For example, it can take even longer if you’re planning to go overseas to a country with a foreign language. However, if you hire a travel agent, they will take care of all the hassle of planning for you and you can spend that time simply preparing your trip instead of planning it. 

Price

The cost a travel agent is impossible to estimate because the price varies by business, location, how much work goes into your trip, and the companies your representative uses. Sometimes, travel agents get paid commission from the airlines, cruises, and hotels that they book, which reduces your cost. Much of the time, you’ll just pay for the cost of your trip, but it isn’t unusual for you to pay a research fee of $100 to $200.

Issues

The best reason to have a travel agent is if something goes wrong, you have someone to contact who can help you resolve any problems you have on your vacation. Sure, calling them may cost you extra, but it’s great having the peace of mind that if anything goes wrong, you have someone that can help you resolve it as soon as possible. Your representative is your advocate before, during, and after your trip. Miss a flight or connection? Lost? Your travel agent is there to be helpful in times of need.

The Decision

To hire or not to hire? If you’re an inexperienced traveler or if you’re going overseas, you may want to think about hiring a travel agent who is skilled in your dream locale. Experienced travellers should have no shame in hiring a travel agent to get a few upgrades. While the benefits aren’t guaranteed, there’s a better chance you’ll get a flight or room upgrade if you book with someone who frequents your destination. 

To avoid hiring a travel agent with little experience, vet them before you hire them. Ask if there are any additional fees with booking. Take time to understand what's included in your vacation. Try to find a travel agent who has remained in business locally for many years. This person will be in the office when you need them. Finally, check with the International Association of Travel Agents Network to see if your agent is reliable.