If you’ve got a desire to travel, then a travel agent may be your greatest ally and offer the best value in planning a trip. Even though the Internet makes it possible to quickly search for great deals and find resort options around the world, a quality travel agent will learn the specific desires, budgets, and dreams of a traveler to make recommendations. The cost often won’t be any more than what an individual can find online on their own.
Travel Agents are Personable
“A travel agent offers personable help,” says Mike Day of Monrovia Travel Service in Monrovia, California. “You can get recommendations about a resort or local restaurants that you won’t easily find online. You just can’t know what kind of experience you’re going to have via the Internet.”
He told the story of two women who wanted to go hot air ballooning in Kenya with a stop along the way to see the red light district of Amsterdam. He was able to research the options that provided the women with a memorable experience.
Travel Agents Offer Local Insight
“We offer our clients the chance to fulfill their dreams and have an experience they normally wouldn’t have through a typical tour,” said Denise Harvey, the agency’s owner.
Monrovia Travel Service is a member-in-good-standing of Signature Travel Network, a consortium that uses destination specialists around the globe who are carefully selected and maintain standards of quality to ensure a traveler has a positive experience.
A travel agent can also help a veteran traveler discover a favorite destination in new and exciting ways.
“Let’s say you’ve been to Paris dozens of times and you know the sights well,” said Denise, “but what kind of unique experience can you have this time around? We can arrange for private tour guides who are historians or who are familiar with the art and architecture.”
Travel Agents Provide the Best Value
A travel agent acts as a personal consultant and can even help find the best value for the travel dollar.
“I had someone who wanted to vacation in Hawaii and was looking at spending up to $ 5,000,” said Denise. “I was able to find them a site in Mexico which was more beautiful with a price tag of only $ 2,500.”
Denise and Mike explained that a down economy isn’t a reason to scrimp on taking a dream vacation.
“Look for terrific travel bargains in 2009,” said Denise. “Great deals are constantly changing as the suppliers such as cruise lines are offering wonderful bargains.”
Mike mentioned how cruise ships were previously charging a fuel supplement fee but now that cost has been eliminated. He added that travelers who book cruises or other vacations through agents enjoy additional amenities such as complimentary wine or free excursions without paying more.
Travel Agents Advise on Important Documents
“Booking online can be a step in to the unknown,” explained Denise. “I travel about 3 to 4 times per year and I’ve been around the globe. Not only can I advise clients based on my personal experience but we have the additional strength of destination specialists.”
Mike says the firsthand experience allows a travel agent to see the details of a trip from a traveler’s perspective including offering advice on having the right documentation.
Denise and Mike told the story of a couple who decided to go online and book a cruise out of Miami. They flew to port and were ready to board ship when they were told they didn’t have the proper visas. They were turned away and their vacation was ruined.
A large family who booked a trip to Brazil online also ran into an expensive surprise.
“The family of 9 members were not able to board the plane and therefore no family trip,” said Mike. “Online they didn’t mention the Visa requirements for all passengers going to Brazil so there was a great loss of money for hotels, airline tickets and other excursions.”
Additional reasons to use travel agents include:
Peace of mind – if a mishap occurs in another country, travel agents can be reached to help.
Special accommodations – a travel agent who knows your personal situation can make special accommodations for diet, disabilities or unique preferences.
Save time – a travel agent can arrange a complex itinerary more quickly than someone researching online who doesn’t have knowledge of a local area.
Now get ready to explore travel options for 2009 and enlist the help of a local travel agent to help you find the best travel bargains.