By Louie Di Tachio
At Been Here Done That, we try to steer our readers in the direction of good advice when it comes to travel plans, which is why we have created several specialized articles such as Don’t Forget To Pack (a Top Ten list of overlooked yet essential items), Tips for Planning Your Vacation, Ten Reasons to Choose an All-Inclusive Resort, and How to Plan for a Theme Park Vacation.
And now we’d like to honour our friends at Progress Travel Plus as we bring you the Top Ten Reasons to Use a Professional Travel Agent, ideally from Progress Travel Plus—and this year more than ever.
1. Buying travel is a unique purchase because you are buying both a product and a service. The travel agent knows how to sell both parts—the airline, resort and/or cruise line that best matches your needs, and the service that will guarantee your vacation is seamless and stress-free.
2. Travel agents are trained to take a critical look at each piece of your trip puzzle. They make sure each piece meets your specific needs, so you’re happy with every penny you spend.
3. They can make sense of a multitude of offers from cruise lines and airlines and hotels. This year, travel companies are offering more brands than ever before in history—on land, in the air, and on the seas. Is Fathom the right cruise for you? Is Air Canada good enough? Travel professionals can decipher the subtle differences and choose the one that fits your requirements.
4. Travel professionals save you time and money. Whether they charge a fee, as many do, or base their businesses on commissions, the time and money you spend with them will be returned to you many times over in the form of perks, upgrades, convenience and great service.
5. Travel agents are your advocate. Whether you need an upgrade to an ocean view room or a ticket out of harm’s way after an earthquake, the travel agent will be there for you, intervening with suppliers on your behalf.
6. They are the experts. Like a doctor or an accountant, the travel counselor will ask the right questions, listen to your answers, understand your requirements and desires, and offer expert advice to guide you in making one of your most important decisions—how to spend your invaluable time off. Because there are no do-overs for a vacation gone wrong.
7. Knowledge is power. From Visa and passport requirements to the name of the maître d’ at the best restaurant in town, a good travel agent has the inside information that makes your trip perfect.
8. They have your back. When things go wrong, the travel professional knows who to call to get it fixed on the spot. If your flight is canceled, just have a seat and pick up the phone while the remaining passengers are lined up trying to rebook. Didn’t get the room category you booked? No need to argue with the front desk. One call to your travel agent will get it corrected.
9. They are your personal shopper. Over time, your travel professional gets to know you and your family, your likes and dislikes. You are so much more than a sale to them—and they provide the human connection that makes every transaction more pleasant and meaningful. Plus, by supporting local businesses, you support your community.
10. They can offer customized experiences that no one else can. After 30 years of being in the business, the travel professionals at Progress TravelPlus have the connections to arrange for side trips, special passes, upgrades and little touches that are not available to the general public. Because in this wide and amazing and wonderful world, you just don’t know what you don’t know. So ask someone who does—ask a travel expert!