Seven reasons to use a travel agent

November 4, 2010 8:49:43 PM PDT
So you are dreaming of Jamaica but you should tackle the task of booking your great escape on your own.

"Ten minutes. Find the tickets and off you go," said traveler Tom Dennison.

Or use a travel agent. Cristina Rodriguez prefers to do it herself online.

"I like to see all of my options, look at everything myself - prices, times - rather than going through a middle man," said traveler Cristina Rodriguez.

But Nancy Dunnan, publisher of the monthly newsletter TravelSmart, says there are situations in which you absolutely should use a travel agent.

First, if you are not internet savvy or, number two, simply do not have the time to search for bargains, travel agents do.

"They're getting promotions from packers, hotels and airlines and that's coming to them 24/7 so, yes, they know about deals before you do," said Dunnan.

If you are going on a cruise, some travel agents specialize in them.

Next, for you road warriors and frequent travelers, an agent can set up a custom profile and stick to it.

If you have specials needs, a disability or say travel with oxygen, an agent can make sure everything is in place.

If you have a complicated itinerary, plan to make multiple stops and stay in several different hotels.

Finally, worth its weight in gold, if there is an emergency, a travel agent can, say, wire money if necessary, gets medication to you.

However, Nancy says insist on one thing.

"You don't want to use a travel agent that doesn't give you an after hours number. That would be a criteria for picking one. You want them to be available when you need them," she said.

Nancy says because the pool of travel agents to pick from has gotten smaller, chances are the one you decide to work with will be top notch, go above and beyond the call of duty.

As for fees, Nancy says you rarely have to pay travel agents, most receive a commission from hotels and airlines. So sit back, relax, and get ready for an adventure.

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