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A Dozen Reasons to Book With a Travel Agent

We live in the internet age; however, a real, live, experienced travel agent you can talk to is still very useful. All of them at Columbus Travel provide services and knowledge you simply can’t find online; and in a crisis, an agent is invaluable.

#1A travel agent is accountable. This is the real person you can speak with whose job is to make sure things work out. Sorry, but the internet doesn’t really care, and unfortunately, neither do most airline check-in agents, car rental personal, or almost all personnel working for other travel providers.

#2An experienced agent has knowledge. They just know more than you do. Their tips and advice can help you make good travel decisions. They have gotten personal feedback from hundreds of clients, and their own personal travel agent network, to provide insights you can’t get on social media sites.

#3They help you get more for your money. When booking an expensive trip, you want to see everything and experience the most the place you are visiting has to offer. A travel agent can help you make your dollars go farther, and make sure you don’t miss the great sites and even the best restaurants.

#4Travel agents have “clout.” They have developed personal relationships with individuals at the companies they sell, and this gives them leverage to get things you can’t get on your own. When the internet says a hotel is “sold out” or the connecting rooms you want for your extended family are not available, a good agent can often make them available. They also have knowledge of experiences you might not know are available to you.

#5Your agent can help you set up an itinerary. People often say they “just want to wing it” – what I call “a white knuckle trip” (ie: “I’m in a strange place, and I don’t speak the language. and I don’t know where I’m going, or how to get there, but let’s go”). Your travel agent can help you develop a clear-cut schedule of what will be happening on a day-to-day basis, and keep clear records of everything that is included in your trip.

#6You need a budget and your agent knows how much everything will cost. He or she can help map out exactly how much a trip will cost, and that means no surprises. Does an excursion include lunch, for example, or do you have to buy your own? Does it pay to take the drinks package on the cruise ship, or pay for the excursions in advance? Your agent can guide you and save you money.

#7What about insurance? Things seldom work out exactly as planned. Travel agents offer insurance in a number of ways, from guaranteeing that your hotel is safe and the company operating an excursion is trustworthy, to actually advising on which insurance policies you need, from trip cancellation to medical emergencies.

#8And what travel documents do you need? Should I get a passport? Will I need a visa? Is my driver license sufficient? Your agent will inform you so you can have what you need so you won’t miss your plane or cruise. And when things do go wrong, travel agents have the resources and the contacts to get you to the head of the line.

#9Yes, travel agents are fixers. The average person books one or two trips per year, typically with different travel suppliers, so they have little or no leverage when things go wrong. Travel agents are constantly providing travel services and so they have the leverage to fix things, even when the supplier isn’t directly at fault. Travel providers value the travel agent’s business much more than any individual traveler does. They want to make sure the travel agent, your representative, is happy.

#10Travel agents save you money. They have unique access to benefits that can save you a lot: discounts or lower rates because these professionals are volume purchasers; free room upgrades; spa credits; food and beverage credits; etc. They can often provide exclusive or priority access to attractions, hard-to-get reservations, added amenities, and more. (Did you ever wonder why the couple in the room or cabin next to yours got champagne and you didn’t?) At your agent’s fingertips are resources you simply don’t have. Yes, you have the internet, but you are still a lone customer, not a volume buyer.

#11Travel agents save you time. Instead of searching blindly on the Internet for hours, days, or even weeks, you can have an expert do the research for you. Your travel agent will spend a little time getting to know you and what you are looking for, and then put together an entire vacation customized for you.

#12You are getting all of this for nothing. Over 98-percent of hotels are parity priced. That means the cost is the same whether you book it yourself or have the travel agent do the work. Cruise lines often actually charge less when one of their preferred agencies books a cruise than it would cost to book directly with that cruise company. Car rental agencies don’t charge anything until the car is picked up, and they pay the travel agent commission. Only when you book an airline ticket do you pay a nominal fee to your agent, but if you booked with an airline agent, they would also charge a fee.

In short, if you have never visited with a Columbus Travel agent, you are missing out on a chance to save time and hassles and aggravation, and usually money as well.

Photos are taken in person or provided by the supplier except where credited.

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