When you hire an experienced Travel Agent near me, they’ll make sure that all of your trip details are taken care of, whether it’s booking an airline ticket or reserving a hotel room. They can also offer insider knowledge on everything from frequent-flier programs to passport requirements to avoiding vacations in areas that have been hit by recent natural disasters.

In the pre-internet age, airlines paid travel agencies a commission on tickets sold—typically 10 percent of the fare. This allowed agents to survive by selling airline tickets and providing other services such as arranging tours, cruises and hotel stays, often with the help of fancy software that displayed rates and availability from a variety of sources.

Today, the industry has become more fragmented, with a number of online booking tools available that are designed to replicate the functions that once dominated the travel agency business. But the need for expert travel planning hasn’t died, and a new generation of travelers is starting to appreciate the value that a good travel planner can bring.

Look for an IATA-accredited agency with a staff of travel professionals that specialize in your destination. A reputable agent will have a high number of first-hand experiences, onsite contacts and a strong network of clients that they can call on for recommendations and advice. A seasoned agent will also be able to save you money through their own relationships with hotels, tour operators and airlines, as well as leveraging their membership in a large agency consortium such as Protravel International or Signature Travel Network.

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