WRITER | LISA LEONE
PHOTO | KHM TRAVEL GROUP
Why do people love travel? For some, it’s the relaxation they feel lounging on a beautiful beach in the Caribbean or strolling through Paris in the spring. For others, it’s the sense of awe they experience on an African safari or at the ancient ruins of Rome. Traveling is important for many reasons, and now it’s easier than ever to plan vacations online.
That said, it’s common to feel stressed or confused when planning all the myriad details associated with a trip. Sometimes it feels like you need a vacation from planning your vacation! If this sounds familiar, it’s time to call in an expert: a travel agent.
In the US, nearly two-thirds of traditional travel tours and packages are booked through an agent, and over 70 percent of cruisers opt to work with a professional. The travel agent community is thriving because of the personal service and knowledge agents bring to their clients. So why does it still make sense to work with a travel agent?
They save time and stress when planning. Travel agents help travelers navigate the process of choosing the right vacation for them. They save their clients hours of time and a lot of the confusion that comes from scrolling through millions of options online. Especially for a group trip or a more complex itinerary that requires a lot of coordination, having a trusted and knowledgeable travel professional means you can spend less time worrying about the details and more time excited about your trip.
They are a vital resource for travelers. An agent is like a one-stop-shop for all those little questions that come up before your vacation. Is there an added cost to check a bag? Does the cruise ship cabin have an accessible bathroom? Will the resort have gluten-free dining options? Your travel agent will most likely anticipate your questions before you even ask them!
They advocate for you. Travel agents are always on the side of the traveler. If a flight is delayed or canceled, travelers can make one call to their agent to rebook. If a hotel is overbooked, a travel agent will step in to ensure you are taken care of. Without an agent, travelers are left to navigate these frustrating situations on their own.
They have valuable connections. As travel professionals, agents have personal connections to major travel suppliers and may be aware of special offers or opportunities that are not available to the public. Even more importantly, agents can turn to their network of connections to curate unique experiences, like private candlelit dinners on the beach or exclusive tours of a historical landmark.
In short, travel agents love travel, too, and are as excited about your vacation as you are. Your local agent’s knowledge, personalized service, and passion will foster your love of travel and help you build lifelong memories.