When it comes to planning trips, time is of the essence. Most of us can’t afford to spend weeks sifting through airline schedules and hotel rates or keep an eye on flight sales (although TPG can help).
Travel agents are a valuable resource for people who don’t have the time to do it all themselves. But not all agents are created equal: When choosing an agency, look for one with a staff of well-traveled experts who can craft the perfect trip itinerary, says Edman. And when it’s time to book, make sure the agent can nail down every detail, from flights and hotels to restaurants and tour tickets.
An expert travel agent will also have insider knowledge of the destinations they promote, often providing perks and discounts that you won’t find on your own. For example, if you book a luxury cruise through Keene Luxury Travel, part of the Signature Travel Network, your agent can often secure extras like onboard credit, upgrades or free amenities.
A good travel agent can also save you money by finding hidden deals, such as discounted packages that combine airfare, hotels and car rentals. To help you find a great travel agent, ask friends for recommendations or search for an ASTA-verified professional on the American Society of Travel Advisors website. Then, interview potential agencies to see how they stack up. Pay special attention to their communication style and whether they seem invested in your trip plans.