11 Great Myths About Using A Travel Agent

Some of the myths I hear about travel agents. It is amazing how many people don't understand what a great thing a travel agent is, and how much Time, money and Headaches they can save you.


1.    Myth: All Travel Agents and Agencies are the Same

Fact: Every travel agent is different and has a different area that they specialize in. So, depending on what type of trip you are looking to take one travel agent will suit you better than another. That’s why it is important when planning a trip to find a travel agent that specializes in where you want to go.


2.    Myth: Travel Agents are Trying to Cheat Me, They Don’t Quote the Cheapest Price

Fact: Travel agents know the ins and outs of different itineraries. While you might find one that is a little bit cheaper, that cheaper itinerary might involve a whole slew of headaches.  For example, longer waits at the airport and odd travel times.  A travel agent will be looking to get you the best value for you money spent which should include the most direct and time friendly itinerary they can find. – Unless you have told them you would prefer to have the cheaper options presented as well expect value to be a factor included in the trip they plan.


3.    Myth: Travel Agents will try to cheat me If I tell them how much I want to spend

Fact: so not true… Please Be honest with your agent about your budget.  They won’t try to use it all, but low balling your budget to your agent will keep them from telling you what great options may be available simply because you were not honest with them.  A Few hundred dollars can go a long ways, from a 3 star to a 5 star property for instance.  So be realistic in what you can afford and be honest when they ask what you are willing to spend.  They want you not have the best time possible.  Your experience relates directly to more business because you’ll be telling everyone you know how great it was !


4.    Myth:  It is Expensive to Use a Travel Agent

Fact:  The fee a travel agent charges really depends upon the agent. While some are more than others,  the average fee is quite marginal and yes there are agencies that don’t charge any.. Some travel agents will even drop the fee or offer a discount once you have finalized your trip with them. Plus, you can always ask an agent upfront what their fees are and decide for yourself if it’s worth it. Also, it is important to remember that a lot of online booking sites, such as Orbitz and Expedia, charge a booking fee as well. I've seen some Local campanies that post there fees, most do not and the agency I chose to use has a No Fee policy. when they help you book a vacation or cruise package.


5.    Myth:  I Can Easily Book the Same Trip on My Own Without Using A Travel Agent.

Fact:  Although travel agents have access to all of the same outlets you would use when looking to book travel, they also have access to exclusive pricing and package deals that are most times not available to the public. Your travel agent also has more leverage in helping out in situations such as hotels claiming to be booked, when in fact they may still have rooms available that are on hold for travel agents reservations. So when everyone else is telling you “No” your travel agent can help turn that to a “Yes.”


6.    Myth: Travel Agents Don’t Have Information as Updated as the Internet

Fact: Travel agents obtain some of their information from the same sources as online booking sites such as Orbitz and Travelocity. They also receive daily emails and faxes with new specials from resorts and hotels that may not be published on the internet. Travel agents can also call a place directly to see if they can work out other kinds of special deals for you, something an online site can’t do.  


7.    Myth: Travel Agents Are a Waste of Time

Fact: Although you can find much of the same information that the travel agent provides for you on your own, you are going to spend a lot of valuable time doing so.  A travel agent can actually save you from hours of painful research and price comparison shopping.  They have up to date prices, hotel conditions, and interesting new activities and their prior knowledge and experience gives them the upper hand in trip planning.  There are also agencies like Latitudes Travel in SE Wisconsin that provide free Concierge service to the clients.  The agents actually come to you at your home, office or any other place that is convenient for you.  No more taking time off, or wondering what to do with the kids just to plan a trip.


8.    Myth: Travel Agents Have Lost Their Clout

Fact: Travel agents book hotels, cruises, and activities every day. The companies that provide these services know that and want their business and will work to keep that business coming back. So while a place might be telling you “Sorry we are booked,” for your one time trip, they are more likely to make an acceptation for the travel agent to insure that the agent sends them more business in the future. 


9.    Myth:  Good Travel Agents are Hard to Find

Fact:  While there are some below par travel agents out there, there are some great ones check places like Yelp.com, Angie's List or the Better Business Bureau and of course friends to find reputable agents.

10.    Myth:  Travel Agents Can Only Book My Flight and Hotel

Fact:  Travel agents can arrange car service, personalized tours and activities, in addition to all the basic travel services they provide. They are also excellent sources of information concerning good restaurants, good sites to see, and tips on what to pack.


11.    Myth: There aren’t any travel agencies around anymore

Fact:  Based on agencies that sell airline tickets some 9,386 travel agency firms operating 15,671 retail locations (March 2010). While this represents a significant portion of the travel agencies operating in the United States, there are additional travel agencies focused on leisure retail sales that do not sell air services and are not included in this count.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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