why use a travel agent travel agent on phone in front of computer and map

As a family that travels regularly, I am often asked by friends and fellow family travelers why use a travel agent. With so many travel options and online sites at our fingertips, they wonder if travel agents are still helpful and if we use a travel agent instead of making our own research. Sometimes we have used a travel agent for certain trips, and sometimes we book family travel ourselves.

It often depends on the trip and your travel style.

If it is our first time visiting a location or if we feel overwhelmed by all the travel planning from what to do, where to stay, to where to go, we will use a travel agent. If we would like a self-guided itinerary, we have used a travel agent to help book tours and accommodations. And, if it is a country with which we are unfamiliar, we will definitely use a travel agent.

Travel agents can also help you coordinate things like transportation, think about things you wouldn’t know, and find you great deals for your next vacation while you also avoid wasting time on online research. They can also help you find travel insurance to protect your trip!

The other reason to use a travel advisor is the sheer convenience of helpfulness most travel agents provide.

Here’s the thing. The booking process can be overwhelming. And, there are so many reasons for and benefits of using a travel agent to help with your travel plans outside of just these.

And, while I could give you those top reasons, I decided to turn to an expert who could really give expert advice on this topic. I recently asked Travel Advisor Lisa Burnham of Maupin Travel to help with this post. Below you will find her helpful answers as to why use a travel agent with all the information you may need to know.

This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a commission at no cost to you should you make a purchase using this link. See my disclaimer.

Why Use A Travel Agent: All You Need To Know

Why use a travel agent woman on phone in front of globe
Photo credit: @ Wavebreakmedia | depositphotos.com

To help you discover why you may want to use a travel agent, I went to the experts. Travel Advisor Lisa Burnham of Maupin Travel was kind enough to be a guest interviewee on this blog post and help answer the most frequently asked questions about travel agents.

Benefits Of Using A Travel Agent At A Glance

  • Trusted Relationship
  • Convenience and Time Savings
  • Personal and Curated Travel Experience
  • Access To Special Experiences and Activities
  • Benefits Of Agent/Agency’s Partnerships
  • Money Savings
  • Added Benefits/Upgrades
  • Up To Date Travel Guidelines/Requirements
  • Resource To Call/Help When Problems Arise
  • Support From Before Until After Trip

BVWK: What Is A Travel Agent?

Lisa of Maupin Travel:

By the dictionary definition, a travel agent is a person who sells or arranges travel. It can be transportation, accommodations, tours, day trips, finding cruise lines, etc.

However, as of late, a travel agent is so much more. Agents are students constantly training and learning about travel destinations, suppliers, as well as continuing education in Travel and Tourism. 

Travel agents are networking specialists, making connections with different companies, tourism boards and hotels to develop relationships to benefit their clients. They all have a love of travel and have in depth knowledge about the travel industry. Who better would you want to trust with your vacation planning?

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BVWK: Why Use A Travel Agent VS Booking Online?

Lisa of Maupin Travel:

When you use a travel agent, you develop a relationship so they get to know your needs and wants.  Thus, you get a vacation that is curated specifically to you and your family vs. trusting the pictures or the prices online and hoping for the best. 

Another reason for why use a travel agent is that a travel advisor gives you a single point of contact whenever you have questions about your vacation. There is no waiting on hold for a call center or calling an unknown 800 number. 

Nothing can match the interpersonal relationships and person-to-person contact of a travel agent. 

Why use a travel agent woman in front of map talking to clients
Photo credit: @ VitalikRadko | depositphotos.com

Additionally, shopping online for travel does not give you the opportunity for dialogue. Shopping for travel online is much like buying a diamond online – you can’t see it, touch it, ask questions about it. And much like a diamond, travel is not cookie-cutter – all 4 stars and 5 stars are not the same. 

Our agency, Maupin Travel, only works with vetted suppliers so you know exactly what you are getting. 

When the pandemic hit last year our travel Advisors worked tirelessly to get full refunds and travel credits for our clients.  If you booked with an online company, you may have been waiting on hold for hours and getting no response about a canceled trip or refund. 

BVWK: What Does A Family Travel Agent Do? How Does A Travel Agent Work?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

With family travel, we develop a personal relationship with the client to understand the type of trip they want to take. From there, we create a curated vacation specifically for you and your family.

We can work with families to fit within their budget, book all transportation, accommodations, tours, and so forth. Families will get a vacation itinerary specific to their wants and needs, and we can make suggestions as well.

Travel advisors work by developing relationships with their clients. And this is how we can work with them to help book everything they need for their travel even including the useful little things they would have missed on their own.

BVWK: Are Travel Agents Free? Do You Have To Pay A Travel Agent?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

We are seeing more and more agencies develop a fee system. These fees often serve to hire an agent to not only plan and manage your vacation and all the details that come along with it but to also offer expert guidance.

In some cases, it is an upfront retainer to cover the costs of the agent’s upfront work. But it also hires the agent to become your advocate in all things regarding your trip.

The fees assure the client that the advisor is working on their behalf.  The extra cost should not be looked upon as a negative as they also assist in creating a commitment not only of the advisor to the client but the client to the advisor.  

On average, we spend 25 hours working on a trip from initial discussion through the day of departure — even more, if we are needed for any reason during travel! The fees offer peace of mind both for the client and the agency.

BVWK: What Are The Added Benefits Of Using A Travel Agent?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

Our strong relationships with our travel partners ensure that you have a VIP experience and receive the best deals and special amenities (i.e. complimentary room upgrades, wine in your room, and other hotel benefits.) whenever possible. 

Working with a travel agent allows one access to the personal experiences of that agent. This could be the destination, the training on the destination, the specific hotel, etc.

Why use a travel agent family talking to agent with a suitcase
Photo credit: @ Rawpixel | depositphotos.com

It also gives a client access to the connections of that agency to open up the opportunities for creating the best and most seamless vacation experience.  In other words, when a particular destination or tour company knows you are one of our clients, it can help ensure the best vacation time for you.

Another benefit of using a traveling agent is it gives the traveler a second set of eyes to look at the itinerary and plans to ensure that what one wants to do is possible given the time frame and budget.  Agents, like ones who work for affiliated agencies, often have connections with companies who do not work with the general public – thus giving access to locations, destinations and experiences that you just cannot find on your own. In brief, travel agents can make a complex trip easier and more fun.

BVWK: What Are The Additional Benefits Of Using A Travel Agent During Covid?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

Travel is what we do and love! It is our full time job to keep on top of the ever changing travel world.  

Each state and country has its own set of guidelines for entry, return, quarantine, testing, etc.  We have access to all the latest information (the rules and restrictions change often) and tools and insight to get answers quickly and accurately. 

We have also become instrumental during this time to become not just an advisor, but an advocate for our clients when trips have been changed or canceled due to the pandemic. This has included securing refunds and family travel insurance.

travel insurance banner

BVWK: What Specific Services Does Your Agency Provide?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

Our agency, Maupin Travel, plans everything from multigenerational family travel, to exotic honeymoons, Disney trips, and luxury vacations all over the world.  We plan multi-city European travels and all types of cruises.   

We are true experts in all types of cruising, whether it be large Ocean Cruise ships, River Cruises, or specialty Adventure Cruises.  

Our consultants have many years of experience and regularly travel the globe themselves. We have a diverse team, each of who has experience and specialties in different areas of the world. This allows us to plan the world by matching our clients with the best advisor for their travel needs.

BVWK: Can Travel Agents Find Better Deals?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

Sometimes! Our agents are educators who advocate on your behalf to save you time and money, and headaches, while delivering travel experiences that you cannot get on your own.  We work to find you a good deal and the best option, whether your focus is on saving time or spending less money.  Our advisors provide a seamless experience from the time you leave home to your return.

BVWK: Is It Worth It To Use A Travel Agent?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

YES!!!  We spend the time researching and planning, so you don’t have to!  You have a professional who is your advocate, watching your vacation and often correcting pitfalls and changes, sometimes without you even knowing it.  This ensures you get exactly what a vacation should be – fun, memorable, and relaxing! We can also help you book things like travel insurance, transportation, and take care of those sorts of details.

why use a travel agent passports, toy plane, directions on map image
Photo credit: @ maxxyustas | depositphotos.com

BVWK: How Can Families Reach You?

Lisa of Maupin Travel

They can reach me at Maupin Travel on email via our Meet Our Team page.

Thank you, Lisa!

Away suitcases

Final Thoughts On Why Use A Travel Agent

There are so many benefits and reasons why you should use a travel agent. In our experience, it has added a great deal of peace and comfort to have that added support and is always there if something goes wrong.

It has been through travel agents we have discovered some of our favorite spots, like Beaches Turks and Caicos, an exquisite family bed-and-breakfast in Provence, and many fun things to do with kids in France (look at this Paris 3-day Itinerary). Travel agents save you time, help you save money, are able to find crazy deals, offer inside scoop, and provide much-needed support and guidance on your next trip, so they can focus on logistics and you can just enjoy the journey.

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