Travel agent vs. a self booked trip

With the modern technology of online travel booking engines, it is awfully tempting for travelers to go ahead and book a trip online in an attempt to save money.  Far from their minds is the possibility of the small disasters that can occur on their journey that can cause their well-deserved holiday to turn into a sleepless nightmare.

If you are one of the brave souls who are planning to dive into this canyon of technology, please consider the following questions so that you are able to, at least, make an informed decision.

Why use a travel agent?

The answer is really quite simple… Travel agents work in the industry every single day.  It is their passion on which they thrive.

Are you really saving money with a DIY option?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  A good travel agent will always go out of their way to ensure that you are offered the best value for your money.  Travel agents have direct access to many various airlines and accommodation options that may not be available to you as an individual.  It may also be more cost effective to have a full package price, payable to one travel agency than to pay for each service separately to each service provider.  A dedicated travel agent will also go the extra mile to ensure that the best possible routes are taken to get you to your desired destination as quickly and easily as possible, while still offering you the best travel deals available.

“Difficult” Destinations

It is definitely advisable to make use of a travel agent when traveling to more challenging destinations, such as India, Egypt, Morocco etc. A well-connected travel agent has a much better chance of ensuring that your trip in these destinations runs smoothly and will receive much better service guarantees from the service providers with which they have a long-standing business relationship.  It would ensure a much happier and safer trip for you as traveler as your travel agent will be able to ensure that you are collected from the airport and taken to the correct hotel and any other desired destinations for the duration of your visit.

Your travel agent will also be able to help you with your application for a visa to countries where obtaining a visa can be an unpleasant and difficult experience.

Who are you going to call?

So, you’ve gone ahead and taken the DIY option.  You get to the airport, only to discover that you flight has been cancelled.  Now what?  You could try and phone the airline, but will they really care?  A travel agent would certainly come in handy now.  Travel agents will go out of their way to ensure that you are on the very next available flight on another airline, if need be.  They are often miracle workers for their poor, stranded clients.  An even worse scenario is being in that foreign country, where you know no-one, only to find that the hotel has lost your reservation.  According to them, there was no reservation to begin with and they really don’t care that you have nowhere else to go and that you don’t know the city.   Once again, a travel agent can sort this situation out fairly quickly.  Hotels earn a great deal of their income through reservations made by travel agents and would be more likely to co-operate with a travel agent to resolve issues due to the referral power of the agent.  You, as individual, have much less chance of accomplishing a suitable resolution.   You are just one person and losing your business is, for them, not a train smash.  You’re on your own.

Just these two situations can turn your dream holiday into a nightmare, but there are many more issues that can arise which a travel agent can sort out with much more ease than you can.

Some other examples of what can go wrong are:

-Your flight was delayed and you arrive at your destination after the car rental company that you booked with has closed for the day.

– Your luggage mysteriously disappears

– The website that you booked your trip on did not offer insurance for lost luggage and now you’re stranded.

– You have a medical emergency, but there is no-one to help you get the medical care that you need.

The list is endless and by the time you have managed to sort out the issues, it would probably have cost you a great deal of money to replace your luggage, rent a car from a more expensive agency that happened to be open, paid for a more expensive room in order to have a place to sleep etc.

At the end of the day, it is true.  You can arrange your own trip online quite easily, and it may be slightly less expensive, but, unless you’re a regular traveler to a specific destination, you never know exactly what you’re setting yourself up for.  A nominal extra fee paid to a good travel agent may save you valuable time and avoid many unnecessary headaches, and may end up being much more cost effective with better travel deals and a better plan of action.