There’s no do-over for a vacation gone wrong. Sure they can be booked everything online, but the choices are so vast and confusing that it will take hours. And if things go wrong there's no one to turn to.
Instead, people should consider talking to a travel professional. Here are some of the many ways that a home based travel agent can help make sure people's vacation dreams come true.
1. Choosing the right destination: The average online booker goes to more than 30 websites to plan a trip, spending hours sifting through information and reviews posted by strangers. A travel professional has first-hand knowledge; they have been there themselves or has a friend who has. A good travel agent is part psychiatrist, part social worker, part keeper of family secrets. They know what people like and what people don’t, and how to pose the questions that will point to the right destination for the traveller and those with whom they are travelling.
2. Standing in your corner: A professional agent sits on a person's shoulder from the minute they step out the door until they return home safe with their luggage intact. They are that person's advocate, guardian angel and defense attorney. They are a point of contact in case anything goes wrong.
3. Keeping travellers safe: Being a travel professional means knowing the news. They will warn travellers if there is illness or danger in a location they are considering. And if terrorists attack or stormy winds blow, they know where the traveller is and whom to call to keep them headed toward their destination and out of harm’s way.
4. Getting the paperwork right: Many a traveller has been turned back from an airport for lack of the right visa, passport, or other credential. They may think they know the regulations, but then something unexpected will pop up; some countries will not let them enter within six months of the date of your passport expiration, for example. A travel professional will ensure travellers have what you need.
5. Knowing the right insurance: True, travellers probably do not need cancellation insurance for tomorrow’s shuttle flight from New York to Boston. But there is a time and a place for travel insurance—and those times and places fluctuate and are buried in fine print and differ from carrier to carrier. Even more important, while most people believe their health insurance will cover them if they are taken ill abroad, that is often not the case. A travel professional will remind them to consider whether insurance is right for a particular trip, and taking into account the person's age, health and existing medical coverage.
6. Saving travellers money: Most travel agents no longer sell their services on promises of saving money—but that’s not to say they can’t hold down a person's costs in many ways, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. They know all the promotions, the best times to book an airline ticket, the best days to travel. If people are travelling in a small group, they often can get a deal or a free hotel room night.
7. Scoring some perks: Travel agents live by their connections; they have friends in cities, hotels and airports around the world. Often they can get deals on excursions, spa visits, or room upgrades; entrance to private locations; or after-hour access to popular sites.
8. Offering extended payment plans: Unlike online booking sites where you must prepay, travel professionals usually require only a deposit at the time of booking, followed by payments in installments as your trip departure date nears.
9. Gaining time to make up your mind: If travellers need a day or two to get everyone on your family trip on the same page, agents can hold airline seats for their customers for up to 24 hours while everyone makes up their mind.
10. Insights into the unknown: People are not likely to find a once-in-a-lifetime experience online. But that’s the magic a travel professional can bring to a trip of a lifetime. Travel professionals know what’s hot and what’s overbooked—and even better, what’s about to become the next big thing.
At Centre Holidays, our home based travel agents are trained and even partake in continuous education to become professionals in the products they specialize in. There is always something new in the world of travel and people are always going to need a travel agent.
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