15 Jan Can a Travel Agent Help You on Your Next Trip?
In this day of countless travel websites, you may think that travel agents are a relic of the past. You’d be wrong. One data-gathering firm reports that the travel agency industry has shown significant growth in the past decade. They predict it will generate approximately $17.3 billion in 2020. What exactly is a travel agent, and how do they help travelers?
Who They Are
Travel Agents are professionals who assist travelers by taking care of logistics and arranging lodging, expeditions and tours. In other words, you decide you want to go somewhere and a travel agent makes it happen. Of course it is a bit more complicated than that. You provide information such as travel dates and budget parameters — but agents take the effort out of planning. Moreover, using a travel agent rarely increases your overall expenses.
How They Help
Agents provide expertise; they travel extensively and acquire knowledge that will help you in your travels. In many cases they have been to the places you want to go, so they know the area. Specialties may include:
- Location – Some agents specialize in exotic locations like New Zealand, Croatia or Madagascar. These areas are a bit off the beaten path and you may not know anyone who has been there, so if you want personal advice a travel agent is likely to be your best source. For travel to Cuba and other politically volatile regions, agents can steer you to the safest attractions and lodging options.
- Activity – Perhaps you want to golf on all the best courses in Hawaii, run 10K races in 10 states or tour food festivals. That type of special-interest, multi-destination package is where a travel agent can really shine. Agents often make the difference between stressful planning and excited anticipation, between a mediocre vacation and a truly memorable holiday.
- Mode of Travel – When planning an ocean voyage, river cruise, train trip or guided tour, you are faced with dozens of choices, maybe hundreds. A travel agent’s advice can direct you toward the best choices for you, regarding which travel company to use, what destinations to include and which excursions to join.
- Type of Travel – People travel for various purposes, and it can be difficult to anticipate your needs when you have a specific mission in mind. Agents may know exactly what you will need, based on their experience planning similar trips. They can advise you when organizing a destination wedding, a honeymoon, a multi-generational family reunion or an extravagant extended holiday. Recently, there has been growing interest in volunteer vacations and eco-tourism. Because these concepts are fairly new, it can be difficult to obtain reliable information about where to go and how to really make a difference with your trip. No matter what your purpose or destination, a travel agent will know where to start.
When You Need One
If you are booking another quick weekend getaway to the family cabin at the lake, you probably do not need the services of a travel agent. You already have the accommodations worked out, you have gone to the area many times, and you are familiar with the whole process because you have done it before. However, that is not the case with most trips. Travel can become complicated and difficult to manage, and that is when a travel agent can be a lifesaver.
Large groups are best handled by a professional who can arrange transportation from locations and reserve rooms that will meet each specific desires. Other complexities warrant a travel agent’s assistance, too, such as indulging many diverse interests or accommodating special needs. Small businesses often use a travel agency rather than task administrative staff with making travel arrangements for clients and employees. When it matters most, trust your trek to a travel professional.