Why Use A Travel Agent? Here’s 5 Reasons

13 min read

Executive Summary

I highly recommend creating a relationship with a travel agent. Below are 5 reasons I like working with a travel agency. Click each reason to skip to that section.  

Investment Cost: $500 flat planning rate (can vary depending on agency and length of trip)

Time Reclaimed: At least 10 hours**

Worth it? If you make more than $50/hr, yes!

** for a 1-week trip to Europe

We’ve been using the same travel agent for six years now. She’s helped my partner and me plan a trip to Japan, as well as a ton of 3-night getaways for just the two of us. We love exploring new cities and are always open to events that give us an excuse to jetset. 

Whether you’re doing a weekend getaway with your partner or planning a two-week vacation to Europe with the whole family, a travel agent will make planning so much easier. Not only will it save you a ton of time, but you’ll also benefit from their knowledge and connections in the industry. 

Elise Bronzo with Indagare says she views working with a travel agent as a lifelong relationship — like one you’d have with a personal trainer — rather than one-time help with a specific trip.

“Many people will have a financial planner or a personal trainer. We consider ourselves that same function for your travel,” she says. 

Still not sure if a travel agent is right for you? Below I dive into five reasons to use a travel agency… 

Why Use A Travel Agent? Save Time

why use a travel agent

Planning a trip can take a ton of time, between figuring out the flights, researching the destination, reading reviews, booking hotels and tours, and making restaurant reservations. 

It takes a lot of time to curate a really lovely trip that is founded from reputable sources and experiences,” says TravelStruck’s Maybritt Haeling, who is our travel agent. “To do all that research on your own is a lot of work.” 

Shannon John from Travel to Retreat says she can plan trips quicker than the average person because of her expertise. “It can take 10,20, 30 hours depending on what they want, how long the trip is (and) how many destinations,” she says. 

The time you save by using a travel agent increases the longer you work with them. The first time you use a travel agent, they’ll ask a series of questions to understand what kind of trips you like to take (ie: educational, relaxing, or adventurous) and any favorite hotels and rewards systems you want to stay a part of. 

John says usually planning that first trip has the most back and forth.

“I have a handful of clients that I’ve known for a really long time and they don’t even have to communicate so much now,” says John. “It’s more likely that I get the first quote perfect without having to do any revisions, the longer I’ve had that relationship.”

Why Use A Travel Agent? Save Money + Additional Perks

With TravelStruck, I pay a fixed fee for the planning and flight booking (the rate varies depending on the length of the trip). But even with the fee you pay, you can often save money when using a travel agent. 

A lot of major travel agencies will get cheaper rates by blocking off a group of rooms or even seats on a plane, according to Shannon John with Travel to Retreat.

“We’re able to share those benefits and cost savings that aren’t extended to the general public,” she says. 

On top of that, travel agencies can often offer additional perks and “VIP” amenities, according to Maybritt Haeling from TravelStruck. TravelStruck is part of the Virtuoso travel group, a luxury travel network that offers certain perks that I’ve found are similar to what I’d get when booking through American Express. But it saves me the hassle of having to log onto my computer or be on hold on the phone to get the benefits. 

These perks include things like complimentary room upgrades, daily breakfast, beverage credits, spa access, and early or late check-in. 

“Complimentary breakfast with a hungry family of four or five — that adds up quickly,” says Elise Bronzo with Indagare. “That’s a few $100 savings every single day, if not more.”

When we book with TravelStruck we also always get a small gift in our room. It’s typically chocolates, a cheeseboard, or wine. It’s a nice touch that makes us feel looked after. 

Why Use A Travel Agent? Their Expertise & Connections

Beyond the time saved, travel agents also have expertise in areas that I simply don’t have.

“When you work with a travel agent, you’re working with someone who has been marinating and immersing themselves in this knowledge for decades,” says Elise Bronzo with Indagare. “We are constantly on the road researching these places. We’re bringing a level of expertise that you wouldn’t be able to research and identify on the internet.”

I’ve definitely found that to be the case. Whether it’s a trip to Europe or weekend visit to Chicago, I can count on my travel agent to know the best spas, restaurants, and hotels, along with providing ideas for entertainment, such as seeing a play, concert, or comedy show. 

She’ll often provide different options for things like restaurants so we can make a game-time decision based on our mood and whether we want a hip spot, a centralized location, or a more quiet place. I know all of her options will have stellar service because of her standards and who she partners with.

“​​Everybody at the travel agency is sharing information constantly,” says Maybritt Haeling with TravelStruck. “One person obviously can’t be everywhere at all times and experience all the things even if we’d like to. But we have a constant influx of personal experience and feedback from all of our own travels, as well as our clients’ travels.”

From their work and research in the industry, travel agents also have strong connections with hotels and will let them know when they have guests coming. 

“There are these secret meetings that happen in hotels where they will look at the clients who are coming in and checking in that day,” says Elise Bronzo with Indagare. “If they have two hotel upgrades to give, they’re going to look at who referred these clients.”

Those connections can also come in handy if you’re planning last-minute trips. Rooms might show up as sold out online, but a travel agent will know who to call to see if something is available. 

“Are we able to build an additional hotel room if the hotel is truly sold out? No. But are we the first they call when a room is canceled? Yes,” says Bronzo. “I think it’s that relationship that makes all the difference.” 

Why Use A Travel Agent? Stress Relief & Support When Things Go Wrong

I’ve found using a travel agent also helps me feel way less stressed, and I don’t spend time worrying if I booked something properly because I know that Maybritt handled it. It helps take the edge off of travel days, which are already stressful. And when unforeseen things happen, I know the travel agency will help us figure it out. 

“For instance, if I know that their flight is delayed, there’s a very easy chain of command that happens,” says Maybritt. 

This includes notifying the driver of the new flight time and letting the hotel know check-in will be later. 

“Those are all things that we take care of, so they don’t have to worry about that while they’re frantically running around the airport,” she says. “We can help smooth out all the things behind the scenes, so they can just worry about getting to their final destination safely and as quickly as possible.”

With international travel, they’ll also help with all the extra information regarding visas, vaccinations, currency, and tipping protocols. 

Another area where they can help alleviate stress/worry is if you have any specific issues, like allergies. If kids have nut allergies they’ll add that as a note for all the travel partners they use. As parents you can relax more while booking travel, knowing that this information is being communicated to your hotel’s concierge services and the restaurants they book for you.

Why Use A Travel Agent? Kid-friendly Suggestions

Experienced travel agents will also have advice on how to tailor a trip depending on the age of your kids. 

“A family trip to Italy for kids under the age of four is very different from a couple traveling to Italy on a romantic getaway who are in their mid-40s,” says Elise Bronzo with Indagare. 

She says they’ll take into consideration the ages and personalities of the kids — ie) are they high energy and like to explore? or do they prefer to sleep in? — and work with the parents to design a trip that caters to the whole family. In some cases, she says the kids will get involved in the trip planning so they can incorporate the kinds of things they’re interested in as well. 

“We consider ourselves pros on understanding the ages and stages of children,” Bronzo says. “We’ve had so many families who have come to us and said, ‘You know, I can’t get my kid off their phone. What I really want is to reconnect with them — what are destinations that you could suggest that would hold their interest?’”

Maybritt Haeling with TravelStruck says she also factors in the ages of kids when planning trips, and pays special attention to the length and pace of activities. 

“So that the kids aren’t exhausted and then everyone’s cranky,” she says. “That’s where I can really help clients by saying, ‘hey, that’s a little bit too much to try to do in one day’ and help guide them.”

For example, she knows of tour operators that are especially great for kids — including a scavenger hunt at the Louvre. 

I’ve found that while my kids are under 5, we usually leave them at home with our trusted and beloved nanny, but this is something we will take advantage of as the kids get older and we go on more family vacations. 

Example Experience Of Using A Travel Agent

One of our most memorable travel experiences planned by our travel agent was a trip to the Nathaniel Rateliff concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. 

She booked our flights, got us front-row seats at the concert, and arranged for a well-choreographed car service. The driver picked us up from the airport and took us to an immersive art exhibit in town before dropping us at our hotel. Later that evening, the driver returned to take us to the concert, picked us up afterward, and then brought us back to the airport the next day. 

The trip was so seamless and special because she had thought through all of these details. This allowed us to relax and be fully present for the incredible experience. It’s a trip my partner and I still talk about with HUGE smiles and want to redo again and again. 

For us, the value of a travel agent is a no-brainer, but if you need to put a little more thought into whether or not the investment is worth it for you, subscribe to our newsletter and catch our next travel post that breaks down the costs of the travel agent in more detail. 

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