There’s a certain stigma against travel agents, especially with the proliferation of do-it-yourself trips. But a good travel agent isn’t just someone who clicks buttons for you—they have decades of experience and intimate knowledge of destinations that you just can’t get from research alone. Plus, a quality agent can get you deals and special access that you couldn’t find on your own.

A good travel agent will ask about your vacation goals and budget upfront, then use their connections to put together a package that fits the bill. They’ll also handle any changes or issues that come up before or during your trip. And, as full-time travel experts, they’re immersed in the world of travel and know how to mitigate problems when they arise.

Travel agents can also offer destination advice and recommendations. Many are well-traveled themselves and can recommend hotels, restaurants and attractions that will meet your needs. They’ll also know the best times to visit, based on weather, festivals and other factors. And, if you have special circumstances (like mobility limitations), they’ll make sure that your hotel, tours and other activities are truly accessible.

Finally, a travel agent can save you time and money by managing all of your bookings for flights, hotels, transfers and other logistics. This can be particularly useful if you’re traveling with a group or are planning a complicated itinerary. Plus, if something goes wrong during your trip (a natural disaster or an airline strike, for example), a travel agent can help you recover from the disruption and get back on track.

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