When to use a Travel Agent

When to use a Travel Agent

Planning to get away this winter? If so, you could spend hours on the internet searching for deals on airfare, and accommodations. Or, you could use a travel agent. It doesn't have to cost you a thing, and could save you plenty of time and money.  

"The Internet has been the best thing that ever happened to travel, and to good travel agencies.  The rotten ones are a dead and dying breed," says veteran travel agent Kathy Duvall.

In fact, the number of travel agents has been cut in half over the last 15 years, but those that are still standing, are thriving. The American Society of Travel Agents says the country's 64,000 agents account for 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States.

Angie Hicks of Angie's List highly recommends using a travel professional, especially for certain types of trips. 

"Hiring an experienced travel agent can be a great idea if you've got a complicated trip, or if you're traveling internationally. They'll be able to coordinate the hotels, the airfare, any tours you want to take, and they may have access to special packages that you couldn't find on your own," she explains. 

And many travel agents are paid by the hotels, resorts or vacation vendors they work with, so there is no cost to you for their services.  

"We have contacts and friends everywhere. Not only with the wholesalers that offer these resorts, but also with the on-the-ground transfer people, the general managers, the sales people, everybody," Duvall adds.

If your connecting flight gets canceled while you're en route, a good travel agent will track your progress, and step in.  

"They text me. I say no worries, I'll follow your plane. By the time they land and they're late, their flight information has already been updated. I text them, here's your next flight, go catch it, have a great time," explains Duvall.

Now, if your trip is a quick weekend getaway, or you travel to the same location every year, you probably don't need the expertise of an agent.

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