Q: What are the main advantages of using an Agent?
A: There are several ways in which hiring a professional can be beneficial:
1. Most of the time, an agent has already traveled to your designation, so you will have the expertise on your side and won’t be going in blind. They will tell you what to expect at your destination so you can minimize the unexpected surprises.
2. When using an agent, you have the ability to make payments towards your trip instead of having to cough up everything all at once.
3. An agent is an advocate in your corner if anything goes wrong. This is especially important when traveling abroad. It’s nice to know you can get ahold of someone if you are ever in need of help.
4. You’re paying for knowledge. Just like you wouldn’t tackle the stock market without the help of a financial advisor, why would you not want an expert by your side when it comes to one of the biggest trips of your life.
5. Agents often know local customs, contacts, and events you wouldn’t otherwise know about. They can set up and pre-pay for some of these excursions on your behalf.
Q: Why should I spend money on a travel agent when I can find great deals on online travel sites?
A: People always assume it will cost more money to use an expert, when in fact it often saves you money or at the very least gives you more travel bang for your buck. Professionals bring added value in the way of extra amenities, better travel times, and experiences you may not see online. Advisors spend years cultivating relations with their suppliers, and act as that needed liaison if something should go awry. In fact, even airlines treat you differently when you book online instead of through an agent.
Q: My fiancé and I can’t agree on a destination. How long do we have to make a final decision so we can still get something booked?
A: This is a great question and it all depends on where you’re looking to go, what season you’re traveling in, and how specific you want to get with amenities. While you should start looking about twelve months in advance, you can sometimes get by with booking two months out. Make sure to budget more time if you’re set on a certain room type, or you’re traveling during a high season when other travelers are likely to be booked far in advance.
Q: Are all travel agents created equal? How do I know if they are reputable?
A: Ask questions, then ask more questions. Kick the tires a bit. Just as you wouldn’t marry a guy you didn’t know, get to know your advisor. Find out where they have traveled and how often they set sail. How long have they been in business? Once you find someone you like, trust them to advise your honeymoon. All you should have to worry about is the wedding, and then enjoy the amazingness your agent created for you afterward!
Robert Reismeyer is the owner of Travel Benefits by Design. With more than 30 years of extensive travel experience under his belt, he’s been there and seen that. After a fortuitous career in Insurance, he took all of his knowledge of the world of trip-taking to ensure you have a trip wilder than your imagination.