1. Buying travel is a unique purchase, because you are buying both a product and a service.
A travel agent knows how to sell both parts—the airline and resort and cruise line that best match your needs, and the service that will guarantee your vacation is seamless and stress-free.
2. Travel agents are trained to take a critical look at each piece in your trip puzzle.
They make sure each piece meets your specific needs, so you’re happy with every penny you spent.
3. They can make sense of the multitude of offers from cruise lines and airlines and hotels.
This year travel companies are offering more brands than ever before in history—on land, in the air and on the seas. Is Fathom the right cruise for you? Is Delta Light good enough? A travel professional can decipher the subtle differences and choose the one that fits your requirements for this unique trip.
4. Travel professionals save you time and money.
Whether they charge a fee, as many do, or base their businesses on commissions, the time and money you spend with them will be returned to you many times over in the form of perks, upgrades, convenience and great service.
5. They are your advocate.
Whether you need an upgrade to an ocean view or a ticket out of harm’s way after an earthquake, your travel agent will be there for you, intervening with suppliers on your behalf.
6. They are the experts.
Like a doctor or an accountant, a travel counselor will ask the right questions, listen to your answers, understand your pain, and offer expert advice to guide you in making one of your most important decisions—how to spend your invaluable time off. Because there are no do-overs for a vacation gone wrong.
7. Knowledge is power.
From the visa and passport requirements to the name of the maître d’ at the best restaurant in town, a good travel agent has the inside information that makes your trip perfect.
8. They have your back.
When things go wrong, a travel professional knows whom to call to get it fixed on the spot. If your flight is canceled, just have a seat and pick up the phone while the rest of the passengers are lined up trying to rebook. Didn't get the room category you booked? No need to argue with the front desk. One call will get it corrected.
9. They are your personal shopper.
Over time your travel professional gets to know you and your family, your likes and dislikes. You are so much more than a sale to them—and they provide the human connection that makes every transaction more pleasant and meaningful. Plus by supporting local businesses, you support your community.
10. They can offer customized experiences that no one else can.
After 20 or 30 years in the business, a travel professional has the connections to arrange for the side trips, the special passes, the upgrades and little touches that are not available to the general public. Because in this wide and amazing and wonderful world, you just don't know what you don't know. So ask someone who does—ask your local travel agent!
Audrey Hyman is the owner and CEO of the Hyman Travel Network, a full service travel agency located in the suburbs of Washington, that specializes in cruises and all inclusive vacations