Whether you’re booking a family cruise or need help with corporate travel, a qualified Travel Agent near me can handle the nitty-gritty details of your trip. Plus, a good travel agent can often get you deals that aren’t available to the general public. They also have connections with suppliers, and can sometimes call in favors (like that bottle of Champagne or those coveted cabin upgrades).
Depending on your travel needs, consider an agency that specializes in a certain destination or type of vacation or has an affiliation with a particular travel company. For example, if you’re planning a cruise, look for agents who are accredited by the cruise lines or have taken courses offered by the industry.
Also, when looking at potential agencies, find out how they deal with travel emergencies. “Ask what their policy is on rebooking flights and hotels that have been cancelled or overbooked,” says O’Shaughnessy. You should also see if they have errors and omissions insurance, which protects them in the event something goes wrong with your booking.
Finally, be sure to consider how much the agent earns. In the majority of cases, agents are paid on commission (though some work for salary or have a portion of their fees subsidized by the agency). If they’re not upfront about how they’re compensated, they may not be the best person to book your trip. And don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t feel comfortable with how they answer your questions or their planning process.