I used to think that I could plan trips just fine – thanks – no assistance needed. While my skills on planning and research have always been thorough, I was wrong about never using an expert. And I am here to say “swallow your ego and get an aid”.
My first trips into the world were an experiment, to say the least, I made a lot of mistakes. In my defense, many things were not as good in 2010 (Google Maps) and 2013 (International Cell Phone Coverage) as they are in 2020, but there was a lot about the DIY approach that made things harder than they needed to be.
Say your hot water heater dies. Sure, you could attempt to repair it or narrow down the issues via a YouTube tutorial and the results are likely to be mixed, or complete failures. And I have torn apart my fair share of appliances and attempted repairs with mixed results. However, you may have to pay for a new hot water heater AND a new floor. Or you could just get the new hot water heater with a plumber and call it a day. The point is, there are just times when using an expert will pay off financially, save you time, and make everything a lot easier than trying it yourself.
Here are my top reasons to use a travel advisor to make the most of your adventures.
- Many travelers assume that travel agents are going to be “too expensive” when they can cut corners to travel by doing everything themselves. While some agents may only cater to luxury or high-end vacations, many offer planning and support for everything from an economical 3-day all-inclusive to a cruise around the world. While you may not get the cheapest rates with an agent, or even pay a planning fee, the value for money is what is important to focus on.
- I think of it this way, if I get paid roughly $50 an hour at my job, my hourly wage is worth that amount, therefore if I spend 18 hours planning a trip, that $900 worth of my time just in planning (for $20/hour it’s $360.00). Therefore a $200+ planning fee is pretty economical.
- Additionally, agents often know ways to tweak your trip for savings, or to make it all that much better overall. For example – it may only be an extra $20 on a whole week to upgrade to a much nicer room, which you may not notice when you book. OR they may have a partnership with a hotel that gives free upgrades to preferred guests.
- Most agents will also be able to put together your trip in significantly less time. This means you can just enjoy getting ready for the trip, or see to other things you need. This is because they are experts in what they do, and they spend HOURS researching properties, activities, and the best vendors to work with. So, if you call in wanting a trip to Italy, most agents have either been there and can directly recommend their favorite restaurant, or they know about Vatican tours because they book a lot.
- They know somebody who knows somebody. Seriously. I have heard so many colleagues be able to refer to a guide or company on a first name basis. This means that guests are taken care of in a more personalized and white glove experience. It also builds community and relationships that most travelers miss out on.
- It also means if there is an emergency or issue, your agent knows who to call and how to get you the help you need.
- Trying times calls for expertise. 2020 has permanently changed travel, and I think largely for the better. Travel Advisors are more on top of changes domestically and internationally than they have ever been, and within minutes they can usually share information on how to aid a traveler. While things are improving with vaccination and global travel, no doubt it will be several years before things “return to normal” and frankly some much needed changes were needed. Regardless, advisors will help watch your back, update you as they can, and be a supportive ear when you get lost in a big city.
- They genuinely care. While many companies have had to show flexibility with tickets and other bookings in 2020, it’s often exhausting calling an airline and waiting for three hours to speak to an agent, only to be told there is nothing they can do. Travel advisors will go to bat for their clients in any way they have to, because they genuinely care about their client’s well being. This means they will wait on hold three hours, or they will call 10 restaurants for a gluten free cake with dinner. They want you to have your best time, because they know you will come back when you do.
- They Travel A Lot. I got into the industry being the best traveled person in my friends group – I quickly learned I had been practically nowhere, and my bucket list grew exponentially. What I also realized is that advisers travel every damn chance they get, because they want to KNOW what they can offer to their clients. It’s maybe 10% looking at a website and passing on the information and 90% lived, on the boots experience from themselves or a colleague. If they haven’t been there, the find someone who has, and they get the information together to make sure everyone has an awesome time. As someone that loves travel too an advisor can understand why a 9 hour layover is a headache and see if they can find a tour to make it better. They understand the woes of “carry-on” or “checked” and why hot food is always so good after a red-eye.
- They Use Experts Too. Travel Advisors draw on their resources a lot. It may be their office mate, or it could be someone in the destination in question, but they reach out frequently to put together a trip, or get an answer to an obscure question. This means your service is personalized and carefully planned with as much care as possible.
- Sources are Vetted. Sure you can read 20 blogs by your cousin on backpacking in Mexico (I say this as a blogger), but that doesn’t mean they know what you need to know to travel. Knowing the best tequila is one thing, but understanding tipping etiquette, what water is safe, and road conditions to Chichen Itza might be more helpful. When advisors put together trips they use reputable information from tourism organizations, training, guides, or companies that specialize in the area.
What do you love about Travel Advisors? Have you ever used one? What questions do you have for me?
While I am not able to take on clients I would love to share some of my favorite Travel Advisors that I am sure would love to work with you.