So, what exactly are the advantages of booking a cruise through a reputable travel agency?
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�Okay but seriously! There a number of key advantages to booking a trip through a good travel agency.
A good travel agent takes care of all the major planning of a vacation or business trip for you. If you’re looking into an all inclusive package, which would include travel, lodging, and even dinner reservations, all you’re left doing is packing. It goes without saying that this can be incredibly helpful. For example, if you’re a busy professional and you do a lot of travelling, you can spend more time trying to manage your own travel plans than actually focusing on the work you are supposed to be doing. And many reputable travel agencies have online systems where you can now make airline, car and hotel reservations on your computer in real time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and access your itineraries from cell phone or Blackberry.
Any skilled travel agent either knows a little something about where you want to go, or they’re willing to do some research and offer you advice and a number of options for hotels and reservations. Travel agents aren’t just ticket-buyers, they’re also travel experts, and can advise you on local customs and other important things you need to know. Travel agents will inform you of the necessary visa, passport and health requirements for international travel and provide application forms or assistance as needed. They can also keep you up to date on any travel advisories and significant changes in currency exchange rates. Likewise, they can warn you away from some of those destinations that look great in the TV ads, but happen to be kind of terrible for vacations.
Because travel agents are working directly with airlines, and not through third party ticket sites, they can get you some great deals on airfare no matter what class you’re flying. Likewise, travel agents can get you lower prices on rental cars and, sometimes, top class hotels. By looking at all of the best deals and giving you a choice of the best of the best, a travel agency can save you the time you would spend scouring for deals on your own. Plus, by having some knowledge of the area, they can recommend certain hotels over others based on knowledge that isn’t quite common. Despite the opening of information available to anyone via the internet, travel agents still have access to privately negotiated information such as lowest fares, seat maps, meal options, arrival time, and certain hotel amenities.
Whenever you’re travelling, but especially around vacation months, it’s not always easy to book a hotel when and where you want it. Some people actually book Hawaiian hotel rooms up to a year in advance! A travel agent’s job is to stay on top of things like this. As long as you book reasonably well in advance, a good travel agent can land you a solid reservation at a world famous restaurant, hotel, or live show. Travel agents should be able to advise you about other nuances of the destination, such as potential weather conditions, local ordinances and customs, seasonal attractions, and special exhibitions.
5. In Case of Emergency
Most travel agents provide travelers with a free, worldwide emergency reservation system that assists with protection against airline cancellations, hotel overbooking, and obtaining emergency assistance in the event of illness, security threats, thefts, etc. Travel agents don’t stop working for you once you’ve booked your trip. If problems arise during your trip, your agent can be a vital lifeline to rescue you and your vacation. In the event of changes in itinerary in the middle of a trip, a good agent can intervene on your behalf to make alternate arrangements.
6. New Discoveries
Have you ever been to Hawaii in the middle of the summer? Well� every single island is completely packed with tourists from the other forty nine states. A travel agent can help to provide suggestions for little-known tropical getaways and other fabulous but less popular destinations. Online and traditional travel agencies offer an entire catalogue of remote islands and beaches that most tourists have never even heard of. You can describe to the agent all the requirements you are looking for (within one block from the beach, ocean view, on-site babysitting, etc.) and they can often suggest a better alternative than perhaps the first destination or resort you had in mind.
7. Why Not?
If you’re going on vacation, a travel agency can help you get better deals, and they can help you find remote, lesser known, but absolutely perfect locations. A travel agent can make sure you’re fully equipped with a rental car, a room, dinner, and a show the minute you arrive. They can get you lower prices on just about everything, and, they work for free (free for you, anyways). They take their commission from airlines, hotel owners and other service providers, not from you. And, of course, they usually offer lower prices than you can get by going directly to each provider separately.
If you’re planning a full vacation or an extended business trip, there’s really just no reason not to go through a travel agent.
A reputable travel agency that does both in-person and online booking maximizes the advantages while allowing you to reap the benefits of using a single service provider for all your travel needs.