15 Surprising Reasons To Use a Travel Advisor for Your Next Trip

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Holly Johnson
by Holly Johnson
Last updated: 10:00 PM ET, Sun April 30, 2023

Qualify for Extra Perks

In the majority of cases, travel advisors can beat the same price for travel as you get if you booked it yourself. However, experienced advisors know how to get you extra perks that can save you money or sweeten the deal. As an example, Jonathan de Araujo of The Vacationeer (a travel agency that specializes in Disney vacations and cruises) says his agency is frequently able to offer guests up to $1000 in onboard credit when they book a Disney cruise.

Qualify for VIP Treatment at Hotels

Booking a hotel through Expedia or another website won't get you much in terms of perks. However, there are many scenarios where a travel agent can help you get more bang for your buck. According to Amy Siegal of Valerie Wilson Travel, one of the most compelling reasons to work with a travel agent is the relationship many of them have with hotels and resorts. "Our clients benefit from these strong relationships by getting VIP treatment and amenities, upgrades, issues resolved more quickly and sometimes even better pricing," said Siegal.

Get Personalized Advice

When you work with a travel agent who has experience in the type of trip you want to book or the destinations you plan to visit, you can expect a lot more than the cookie cutter travel advice you find online. According to travel agent Henley Vazquez of Fora Travel, working with an agent means getting truly personalized advice instead. "You're getting personalized recommendations catered to your travel style – not a generic top 10 list or recommendations from an algorithm," said Vazquez. The agent adds that you're getting better value for your vacation as a whole, all for the same cost as doing the heavy lifting yourself.

Save Time and Stress

Booking your own trip can be time-consuming and stressful. Plus, you may not have adequate free time to comparison shop or read hundreds of recent reviews for the hotel or cruise ship you're hoping to book. With that in mind, travel agents can help you enjoy your trip without pouring all your energy into figuring out pricing and logistics. Anita Russell of Noire Escapes travel company makes this point clearly: "Using a travel professional takes the stress and time consumption out of travel planning," she said.

Using a Travel Advisor Costs You $0

While there are some travel agencies that charge for certain services, using a travel agent's services is 100 percent free the majority of the time. That's because the agent gets paid via commissions they earn for booking travel for you. This is something you may not know if you have never used a travel agent before. Travel agent Kaitlynn Leninsky of Travelmation adds that travel agents are industry experts who spend countless hours in training so that they are able to find the perfect options for your needs. "If you book on your own, you're already paying for the service but not using it," she said.

Avoid Costly Mistakes

A good travel advisor can help you avoid mistakes you don't even know about in the first place, which could negatively impact your trip or ruin it altogether. Greg Johnson of TravelBlueBook says mistakes an agent can help you avoid include missing payment deadlines, booking a flight on the wrong day or trying to plan a trip with an expired passport. "Your travel advisor should help ensure all the small details are completed and correct," said Johnson.

Get More For Your Money

The services of a travel advisor are almost always free, which we already mentioned. However, an advisor can also help you save money in other ways you don't even know about. For example, Johnson says that you may be able to access special promotions through a travel advisor, or deals that may be offered on an agency basis. They may also have access to agent-exclusive discounts on event tickets, attractions and excursions. If you never work with an advisor, you won't know which perks or discounts you're missing out on.

Not Having to Rely on Social Media

The travel space is filled with travel influencers who constantly post pictures and videos of hotels, resorts, cruise ships and destinations. However, their social posts may not offer any helpful or relevant information for the way you travel, and many of them are being compensated for sharing in the first place. Vacation curator Rebecca Mitchell of FTM Travel also points out that Instagram and TikTok don't always tell the full story. "Social media is great for inspiration, but you'll want an expert to help you navigate the realities of travel," she said.

Get Your Questions Answered

When you book travel without a travel professional to do the research for you, you are left to figure everything out on your own. With a travel agent, however, you have someone to turn to for advice and help with every aspect of your trip. And if your travel agent doesn't know the answer to a question, they'll put in the time required to find an answer for you. Bijoy Shah of Travel by Mr. Bijoy lays this point out very clearly: "We can offer advice on the best time to travel, the most convenient and cost-effective routes, and the most interesting things to see and do. We can also provide invaluable information on local customs, traditions, and laws, ensuring that clients have a safe and enjoyable trip."

Get Help During Your Trip

Booking a cruise, an all-inclusive resort or a sightseeing trip without any help means you are stuck trying to figure out issues that arise during your vacation. Maybe you arrive to pick up a rental car and the agency overbooked and doesn't have any cars left. Or perhaps you paid for an oceanfront suite but a hotel is trying to put you in a room overlooking the parking lot. As Bijoy Shah of Travel by Mr. Bijoy points out, travel agents can help resolve issues that pop up at any time. Travel agents are there for you "before, during, and after a trip, making sure things run smoothly," said Shah. "The peace of mind is priceless." 

Travel Advisors Can See Availability You Can't

If you can't seem to find a flight itinerary you like or you are having trouble finding an opening at your favorite resort over peak travel dates, there's a possibility a travel advisor can find availability you just can't see. Jonathan Alder of luxury travel management company Jonathan’s Travels points out that travel agents book in the same systems the airlines see, and that they have live availability that shows open space and fares. "Travelers don’t realize how fast fares can change," said Alder. "A great air agent will know how to find the best space and options available."

Get Help Planning Your Dream Trip

It's not that hard to book a single hotel stay or a flight, but what happens when you want to book a honeymoon, a 25th anniversary trip or a family reunion? In that case, the help you get from a travel agent can become priceless in a hurry. For example, travel agents can listen to your travel wants and needs and provide you with a list of options that could work for your special trip. From there, they can make sure the plans for your getaway make sense for all parties involved. "Travel agents can help make a client's wildest travel dreams come true," says travel advisor Joslyn Weaver of Fora Travel. "Whether it's intimidation about traveling solo, putting together a vacation of a lifetime, budget restrictions, or traveling like a VIP, travel agents will give you the confidence to take trips you never thought possible."

Extra Assistance With Disney Trips

While travel advisors usually specialize in certain types of trips or regions of the world, Disney trips are one where people tend to need the most help. After all, Disney vacations can be incredibly complicated, and Disney newbies don't always know what they need (and don't need) for the perfect Disney vacation. Steve Griswold of Pixie Vacations says families need help finding the right Disney resort for their family based on their children's ages. Travelers also want to find out what has changed since the pandemic, and whether Fastpasses are still available. "Everything changes so quickly and a travel agent can let you know from first hand experience about Disney resorts, new park reservation requirements, Genie+, MagicBand+, Lightning Lanes, dining plan changes, and much more," said Griswold. 

Receive Firsthand Recommendations

Many travel agents have spent considerable time learning about the types of travel they want to promote. For example, cruise specialists take a lot of cruises with many of the top cruise lines, and all-inclusive resort agents often visit dozens of all-inclusive properties. Honeymoon specialist Dan Bagby of HoneymoonAlways says many of his clients reach out because they have become overwhelmed with options because of the reviews, blogs, and YouTube videos with so much information. "Travel agents use their expertise and experience to help you parse through the overwhelming options and information you find when searching online yourself," said Bagby. 

Travel Advisors Book Much More Than Resorts and Cruises

Also remember that travel advisors book more than people realize, and that many of their services help you sort the logistics of a trip. As an example, advisors can seamlessly help you book train travel from one place to another, or they can arrange private transportation to and from the airport before and after your trip. They also book excursions and day trips, and they can recommend personalized experiences based on the information you give them. At the end of the day, working with a travel advisor can leave you with a full-fledged itinerary that includes your lodging, transfers, activities and more. 

There are an endless number of ways to book travel on your own these days, and that's especially true if you enjoy browsing the web. There are online travel agencies to consider, and then there are discount booking sites as well. 

You can also book your own airfare and hotel stays, and cruise lines offer portals that let you set up and pay for your entire cruise from the comfort of your home. With that in mind, you may be wondering why anyone uses a travel advisor anymore. 

Why bother using a travel advisor when you can search for the trip you want online and book it on the spot?

In reality, there are numerous reasons to use an experienced advisor you may not even know about. For example, these travel professionals can help you save time and energy since they take care of all the research and planning for you based on the information you give them. These experts can also help you avoid costly and stressful mistakes like booking the wrong hotel or booking a flight from the wrong airport.

Travel advisors can even get you extra perks you can't get on your own, including on-board credits, room or cruise cabin upgrades and more. And, did you know that using a travel agent's services is almost always entirely free for you?

These are just some of the reasons to use a travel advisor for your next vacation, but there are plenty more. Read on to find out all the ways they can make your vacation more affordable, more enjoyable or all of the above.

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Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

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Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me