When it comes to booking travel, there are many options available. For some travelers, travel agents are indispensable.

For others, the thought of working with a travel agent is a bit off-putting. It is important to understand the pros and cons of using a travel agent before making a decision.

1. They are experts

The old continent has a ton of treasures that make it a top travel destination. Travel agents are a vital part of helping travelers discover these attractions and have an incredible impact on the overall travel experience.

Travel agents (also known as travel advisors) are incredibly knowledgeable and skilled at their craft. They are experts when it comes to creating unique travel experiences that align with each client’s personal style and goals. They are also highly experienced when it comes to putting together European travel packages that maximize the value of each trip.

Another benefit of using a travel agent is their ability to save you money. While it may seem cheaper to book your own trip online, travel agencies have connections and deals that they can offer you, such as bulk discounts on hotels or airfare. Often, they can even get you special perks like free room upgrades or spa discounts!

Travel agents are especially useful if you’re planning a more expensive or complex trip, booking a honeymoon or other fancy getaway, or traveling with a large group. They can take the hassle and stress out of coordinating all of the individual components of your itinerary. Plus, they are there to help you navigate any hiccups or problems that arise while on your trip. This is something that DIY travelers don’t always have access to.

2. They save you time

Travel agents are a great resource for those traveling on business, planning a luxury vacation or honeymoon, or organizing a group trip. They often have special negotiated rates with hotels, cruise lines and more that aren’t available to the public and can save you time by doing all of the research for you.

A good travel agent will also know about budget options for your trip and can suggest tours, activities, accommodations and more that fit within your travel budget. They’ll also be able to find ways to save money by traveling off-season, booking in advance or finding free experiences.

While online booking engines make it easy to book flights, hotel rooms and car rentals on your own, a good travel agent can still save you time by doing the work for you. This is especially true if you’re planning a complex trip, want to avoid the hassle of finding the best deal or need help with something like a visa application.

Travel agents can also save you time by taking care of the little things that can add up, including recommending a doctor or dentist in your destination city, arranging for local transportation and making sure your passport is up to date. This can reduce your stress and leave you with more time to enjoy your trip.

3. They are advocates

Whether it’s getting you a room upgrade, helping you find unique activities, or pulling some strings to make your trip more enjoyable, travel agents are great advocates for their clients. If something goes wrong while you’re on your trip, they will work hard to fix it or get you a refund. This is especially important when you’re traveling in a foreign country, or even if you’re just visiting a new city.

A travel agent who specializes in a particular area of Europe can offer you expert advice and insider tips. They also have connections to the hotels and tour companies that they work with and can score deals that aren’t available online. In addition, many of these agencies are part of larger networks that can provide added benefits like hotel upgrades and free excursions for their customers.

In the digital age, people are no longer naive about prices and are aware that they can often find cheaper options by booking directly. This is why it’s so crucial for travel agents to differentiate themselves by offering value, not just price. For example, Ellenby and other travel agents at her trade association have fought alongside consumer groups to keep industry efforts to make airline tickets look more expensive than they are from gaining traction in state legislatures and Congress.

4. They are there to help

Back before online booking sites and the sharing economy, travel agents were a staple of trip planning. They provided expert guidance and tailored trips that aligned with a client’s travel style. They were also there to support clients if something went wrong while they were on vacation.

A good travel agent will spend time learning about their clients and how they like to travel. This allows them to offer recommendations and experiences that are right for each person, while still being affordable.

They’re also able to provide deals that aren’t available online. This is particularly true when it comes to group travel or luxury travel. They’ll often be able to pull some strings and get you that hotel upgrade or free meal that you’ve been dreaming of.

Whether you’re someone who is comfortable researching and booking their own travel, or you have a complicated itinerary that needs to be booked, a travel agent can be your best friend. The key is finding an agent with the right balance of experience and affordability, so you can feel confident they’re doing a great job for their clients. Be sure to read reviews and ask for referrals before choosing an agency. You want an agent with a strong track record. This way, you can rest assured that your trip will go off without a hitch.

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