The term “travel agent” conjures up images of offices with wood paneling and gobs of travel brochures. An outdated profession rendered unnecessary in an age of countless travel sites and deal finders. But despite Google’s ability to find anything for you with a simple keystroke, travel agents are still very relevant today.
I personally used KlassiC Travel to book my trip to Cuba, which was the only legal means of getting there at the time. I was thankful to have Karina in my corner to navigate the visa requirements, special travel certifications, and tour options (as you weren’t allowed to freely visit Cuba at the time.) Because of her research and connections, I was able to travel with a reputable company and experience things I never would have otherwise. Things like a ration station in Old Havana, local farms where we enjoyed lunch, an artist’s studio in Las Terrazas, and neighborhood revitalization projects. Unique glimpses into the Cuban culture that lay outside the (now popular) Havana we see on Instagram.
Here are a few more times when a travel agent may be a better option than planning a trip yourself.
If you’re like me, you love a good deal. The thrill of the hunt, the anticipation before an awesome sale – is there anything more exciting?!? But oftentimes, a travel agent can find you even steeper discounts. These savings above and beyond what are advertised to regular consumers can often pay for the agent’s fee (jackpot!) In addition, a travel agent can usually get better rooms and airline seats as well. And who wouldn’t want nicer accommodations and the reassurance that you won’t end up in the middle seat on your flight (aka. the sandwich scenario.)
PLANNING WITHOUT THE PAIN
I’m pretty OCD, so planning a trip to me is half the fun. Organizing flights, accommodations, transportation, tours, restaurants, sites… my gosh, my heart flutters just thinking about it! But if color coding schedules, outlining itineraries, reading reviews, and researching for hours isn’t your jam, then using a travel agent is a great way to go. Simply tell them what you have in mind, and voilà! They will design the vacation of your dreams. Plus, they’ll ensure you don’t forget things like recommended vaccines, visa requirements, etc. Because while not sexy or exciting, those things are pretty important.
Your flight’s been delayed, which means now you won’t make your connection. Sweet. On top of that, while standing at the airline counter trying to sort the mess out, someone swipes your bag with your wallet and (gasp) your passport. WHY?!?!?! Nearly in tears from sheer frustration and the fact that you’ve never been hangrier, your dream vacation has suddenly become a nightmare. But wait! You remember your travel agent had you save their phone number in case you needed anything. Whelp, this seems like an appropriate time to call. And after a lot of legwork on their end (unbeknownst to you, as you settle in at one of the airport eateries for a bite to calm your hunger pangs) they’ve ironed everything out. Fyew! Close one.
Not only can a travel agent save you headaches while planning your trip, they can save the day if something goes wrong while you’re on it. Additionally, they can read all that annoying fine print to keep you from running into penalties and restrictions simply because you can’t make out 4pt font.
It’s hard enough to plan a trip without throwing extra people into the mix. Sports teams, corporate trip, destination weddings, family reunions… Trying to coordinate everyone can be like herding cats. That’s when a seasoned travel agent can come in handy! Let them do the lion’s share of the work when it comes to coordinating multiple schedules, multiple departing airports, multiple accommodation requirements – multiple anything can mean multiple problems. Save yourself the headache.
Time is money. It’s cliché, but it’s true. And that is never truer than trying to plan luxury travel. Chances are, if you can afford to stay at a hotel that costs more per night than most people’s monthly car payment, then you can afford to hire someone to do the heavy lifting when it comes to vacation planning. I, sadly, do not fall into this category. But for those who do (high net worth individuals, CEOs, etc), the last thing you have time to do on top of running a business, is plan a vacation. However, long working hours often necessitate stepping away to regroup. So hiring a travel agent to design a luxury vacation for just that reason is pretty brilliant. Delegate!
So while planning a vacation is something that our trusty sidekick Google can help with, it sometimes pays to hire a professional. As much as I love designing my own adventures, I’ve found a relationship with a good travel agent to be invaluable.
Who I’ve used & would recommend:
KlassiC Travel – Karina Conway – www.klassictravel.com