“Travel Agents Aren’t Extinct”

In the age of the internet, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for, usually within a few clicks. That want for quality products at cheap prices has spawned new brands advertising products that are simple, cheap, and quick. This quick and easy mentality is great for products like razor blades, contacts, hotels, car rentals, even organic foods, but just because it’s available for “cheap” online doesn’t always mean its the best deal - in particular, travel.

Discount travel deals pop up all the time and can appear to be “too good to be true.” After all, meeting with a travel agent is costly, time-consuming, and a “thing of the past,” right? Think again! There are many misconceptions about working with a travel agent, the most common being that travel agents are “extinct.”

Misconception #1: It’s Easier to Book Something Online Yourself

The first common misconception about finding your dream vacation is that it’s easier to book something online yourself. When booking online, it’s often through a discount website with certain restrictions on the travel deals. There are certain dates and times that may not be available, there are limitations on flight times, and many times there are no refunds or cancellations.

When trying to find the “ideal” vacation, it can take the average person more than 42 hours of online research. Even after this research, you may end up settling for what appears to be a “good deal,” but it could have hidden implications. A travel agent can provide knowledge and expertise about certain hotels, cruises, and resorts and can help you break free of your comfort zone.

Misconception #2: Travel Agents are Costly

Another common misconception about working with a travel agent is that they are costly. The truth is, working with a travel agent won’t cost you a dime! Travel agents are typically paid by cruise lines, resorts, and tour companies. Airlines are the only suppliers who don’t usually pay the travel agents, but if air travel is part of the package that you book, it doesn’t typically cost you any extra.

Travel agents also have early access to deals and promotions and can compare offerings side by side to get you the best rate. An agent will take the time to ask you questions about your specific wants and needs to make sure you find the best vacation at the best price. Working with a travel agent may actually save you money!

Misconception #3: I’ll be Pushed to Travel Somewhere I don’t Want to Go

Has a 30-year-old rumor about a distant relative that was backed into a vacation nightmare kept you from working with a travel agent? Since travel agents are paid directly through the destinations that they book for clients, they are motivated by helping their clients pick the best vacation that suits their particular needs.

A travel agent will take the time to get to know you, asking questions to learn about your particular taste and vacation wants and needs. While you may be presented with some options that are outside of your comfort zone, your travel agent will always consider your preferences to choose these options.

When working with an agent, you can also travel with purpose. Agents can offer itinerary that are built to your destination, including shore trips while cruising or land tours around the world.

Misconception #4: Working with a Travel Agent is Old-Fashioned

Just like phones and cars have evolved to be smarter with time, travel agencies are also fresh and cater to the fast-paced world, whether you’re looking for an old-fashioned getaway, or an adventure-seeking trip across the globe.

Travel options exist out there that are completely online with no “human touch,” but in the travel agent world, that personal interaction is coming around again. More than 32 percent of people turn to travel agents to help them book vacations, according to MMGY Global’s 2016 Portrait of American Travelers survey. Out of those surveyed, 28 percent of Millennials said they had used a travel agent in the last 12 months.

Working with a Travel Agent is Unique

Working with a travel agent is unlike working with a computer program, using algorithms and discounts to find vacation destinations. When you work with a travel agent, you can find your dream vacation along with free service, advice, and access to deals and promotions. You can explore options for cruises, tours, vacation resorts, and vacations with custom itinerary all in the same place.

There are also payment plans, so instead of having to front the full amount, there is time to make payments leading up to your vacation. It’s really a no brainer that a travel agent can help you find the vacation of your dreams and your budget- without adding any gray hairs to your head in the process.

Aiste Foreman