The internet has opened many opportunities for families to book travel online. For simple, uncomplicated and last-minute trips, they’re very useful. However, for a detailed family vacation, live travel agents in your home town are often the best source for making your plans.
There are many reasons for sitting down with a live agent and enjoying the personal service and consideration for your family’s specific needs. Some suggestions may help you the next time a family vacation is planned.
1. Travel agents are experienced in all aspects of the industry, possibly in many areas you don’t even know about. They can discuss questions in give-and-take conversation with you that will get your family the best possible deals. They’ll also know your budget and work with you to keep costs within what you can afford.
2. Agents-only deals: Hotels, airlines and cruise ship operators offer special incentive deals to agents. When the hometown travel agent believes you are or can become a repeat customer, some of the deal benefits could be passed on to keep you happy.
3. Been there, done that: The travel agent may have already visited the destination you’ve planned for your family. In your discussions with the agent, you can get first-hand information, suggestions and opinions about what to do to enjoy your family vacation as economically and fully as possible.
4. Consider the advice free: Agents work on commission paid by airlines, hotels, cruise lines and other travel clients. Of course, commission is factored into the price you ultimately pay, but unlike the one-shot reservation you’d make on line, the hometown agent is there for consultation and advice as long as you need help.
5. Troubleshooting: If you have problems with flights, hotel reservations and other parts of your vacation, your agent will be there by phone call as your personal representative. When you use an online travel agency, and troubles happen, you get someone who answers the phone and doesn’t know you personally. You may eventually get help, but the process can be a long one.
6. Insurance needs: Your hometown agent will explain the various insurance coverages you should consider. Among them are for personal injury, robbery, loss of luggage, last-minute cancellations, strikes, bankruptcies and other unforeseen glitches.
There are many reasons it’s best to use a travel agent for family vacations. For example, what happens when your hotel room isn’t available when you arrive at midnight with your sleepy kids. Would you rather talk to an experienced agent you know personally, or an anonymous online travel agency voice?