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 Many consumers might not realize what they are missing out on when they travel and don’t use a travel agent. Here are just a few things that your travel agent can do for you.Experience – Travel agents know the market and, if they listen to what you want, will be able to match you with a better product than you can find on the Internet.

Advocate – If something goes wrong on your trip, a good travel agent will go to bat for you — no matter who is at fault — and try to get your vacation back on track.

Resources – Travel agents have access to a variety of tools that the average consumer is not able to use or doesn’t know about. They can sometimes get you a better seat on an airplane, added amenities at hotels, room upgrades, event tickets, and plan activities for you.

Convenience – Your time is valuable and you shouldn’t have to spend it searching for the right vacation. A travel agent can do that for you. They can match you with the vacation that you actually want, not the one that you saw on television. There is a difference between travel inspiration and actual travel desires. Destinations may look good on TV but not actually be ideal for you personally. Travel agents can help you define what it is you want to get out of a vacation.

Relationships – As you develop a relationship with your travel agent, they are able to target the right trips for you without even having a conversation. Ideally, a simple phone call or email could result in your next vacation — already planned. 

Often, travel agents can save you money based on their supplier relationships — or at least match the price you find — while saving you time and effort. There are also hidden savings built into trips. A travel agent will likely book transfers for you, included in the price. Sometimes a package that you book yourself won’t include those, making the experience appear cheaper. 

Added Value – There are a lot of value-adds that consumers don’t even know about that can be added by a travel agent. Ever wonder why the couple in the cabin next to yours got champagne and you didn’t? They probably used a travel agent.

Better Destinations – Travel agents have inside information on the best times to go to crowded destinations and they sometimes even know what the new “it” destinations are going to be before the masses. Want to get there first? Use a travel agent.

Exclusive Access – Some tours and experiences are only available through a travel agent. Many companies offer a lot of components and simply want to make sure a customer is right for their experience — exotic tours, treks, private jet products are often only available through an agent.

Because They Are Awesome – Travel agents are some of the most well-rounded, funny, personable and knowledgeable people you’ll meet. They come from more backgrounds than you can even count — they have been professors, hotel owners, tour guides, bus drivers. They all have one thing in common, they are passionate about sharing the world with you. Take advantage of their services.

BY JANEEN CHRISTOFF Updated 09/01/18