With just a few keystrokes, you can find lots of cheap travel deals online. But travel advisors, believe it or not, have access to information unavailable to you to get better deals. Additionally, we receive daily deals via e-mails and texts that cannot always be found on a travel website. Travel advisors also have connections and direct communication with resorts and hotels to bargain for better rates and amenities.
But does the cost of using an advisor invalidate the savings? Not at all- the cost of using a travel advisor is generally low, and often they won't charge you at all. Most of a travel advisor's income comes from the hotels and wholesalers they do business with. But before you book with an advisor, be sure you ask about their fees. Some advisors charge booking fees, some charge a fee that is applied to the cost of your vacation when you book, and others only charge fees for certain types of bookings. It varies widely across the industry. Because travel advisors have access to everything on the internet, along with supplemental insider information, you can be assured they will find you the very best vacation value. However, it is important to note that the best vacation value doesn't always mean the lowest price. At Vacations256, there are certain budget properties and suppliers that we won't book because we know they have a history of failing to meet the standards we expect. We have found suppliers that provide inaccurate information about their services, some who don't provide everything promised, and some who refuse to correct unacceptable situations. We don't put our clients into those types of situations.
Should you use a travel advisor to book all of your travel? There are several situations where it's doubtful a travel advisor can really help. One example is booking flights. If you're flying from Nashville to Seattle to visit family, just hop on Expedia or Cheapoair and find the best rate. If you're booking economy air, a travel advisor won't find prices any lower than what you see online.
There are, however, a number of situations where working with a travel advisor will be very helpful. If you're traveling internationally- especially to a country you've never visited- a travel advisor can be an invaluable resource in helping you navigate the unfamiliar terrain. Advisors also have access to international air consolidators and can often save you hundreds of dollars on international airfare. Advisors can answer all your questions about booking international services, such as transfers, hotels, and activities, as well. Traveling to other countries can be tricky, especially when dealing with Covid protocols, so arming yourself with information is essential. Online sources can help you to some extent, but many websites are actively trying to sell you a product or a service and their information may not be entirely objective.
Group travel is another common situation that can greatly benefit from an advisor's touch. Coordinating bookings across multiple parties can get messy, and a travel advisor can keep things organized, negotiate services, and personally work out any complications that may arise. Rather than trying to reserve rooms in the same hotels and seats on the same flights with multiple credit cards and names, let a travel advisor do the dirty work.
Travel advisors are also great for providing destination advice. Many specialize in particular destinations and will be able to provide insight as to how you should structure your visit. If you need help deciding on the particulars, seek expert advice. Advisors will direct you to the services, facilities, and entertainment that best align with your interests and needs.
Travel advisors are even more important to luxury travelers, who ironically often think they know a lot about travel and rely on their own misguided sense of expertise. But while a good advisor is so vital that it is simply foolish to plan a high-end trip on your own without one, they can also help travelers of all budgets.
Another problem for travelers is information overload. There are thousands of new hotels on the scene, all sorts of new cruise ships, passport and visa issues, weather, transit strikes, political unrest, natural disasters, travel insurance, travel providers going out of business, and on and on. It's very difficult to navigate all of this. Let a good travel advisor do all of that for you.
Finally, dealing with emergencies is another reason to work with a reputable travel advisor. Things happen- big weather events, volcano eruptions, wildfires, labor strikes, airline cancellations, etc. The travelers who get rebooked first and get the few available seats left are usually the ones who worked with travel advisors. Good travel agencies are constantly monitoring their clients’ flights and they usually know about your problem before you do - and often have a resolution before you even call them.
At the end of the day this is the bottom line- you win when you work with a good travel advisor. Advisors are better connected, they have access to benefits you can’t get yourself, and they can match and often beat any prices you find. They plan a better trip and then provide a safety net. Having a top advisor can make you an instant VIP, certainly will save you time and hassle, and usually money. Travel advisors take the overwhelming amount of information out there and distill it into the key points that apply to you - the best hotel/destination/tour for your interests, your budget, and your time frame.