The travel industry is riddled with bad actors. There are bogus “instant agents” who have paid hundreds of dollars for a card declaring them to be travel experts, and there are a few agencies that overcharge. But the vast majority of agents do a good job for their clients. The best ones stay on top of every detail until all the plans are firmly in place. And if something goes wrong during the trip, they’re there to help out.
A good agent saves you time and trouble by performing the legwork of sifting through online reviews to find the right hotel, restaurant or tour. They can also make recommendations that fit your interests and travel goals. In addition, they may have access to special money-saving deals and discounts that you can’t get on your own, such as free upgrades at hotels or cruises.
But the most important thing a travel agent can do for you is be an advocate when things go wrong. A good one will be there to help you out if your luggage is lost, an airline overbookes or an unexpected natural disaster strikes. And they can also wrangle special perks and deals that you can’t get on your own, like free room upgrades, breakfast credits and dinner or spa discounts.