Whether you’re planning an epic vacation around the world or just a weekend getaway, travel agents can help. Their skillset includes research, pricing, and booking. They can also help you understand complex travel regulations like visa requirements and frequent flier programs, as well as alert you to any travel warnings or security issues.
They’ll also save you time by handling the booking process and negotiating prices. In fact, when it comes to tours and activities, a good agent can get you deals that aren’t available online. But it’s important to remember that travel agents aren’t free; they earn their salary by charging a commission on bookings. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind before seeking out an agent.
You can tell an agent is committed to their job by how quickly and thoroughly they respond to you. If they’re slow to communicate or make mistakes that could jeopardize your trip, consider finding a new agent.
It’s also worth noting how familiar an agent is with your destination. While any agent can perform basic research on a destination, if they’ve never been there themselves, it’s unlikely that they’ll have much insight to offer beyond generic itineraries. In that case, you’re better off with a specialty agency. They’ll have in-destination contacts to recommend reputable tour guides, hotels that meet your needs, and eateries that aren’t just tourist traps. In addition, they’ll be able to share tips and tricks on navigating the local culture.