Things To Know Before You Contact A Travel Agent
I’ve heard the saying: “The internet is for looking, while a travel agent is for booking.” Although I agree 100%, I think an explanation of that statement is warranted.
Nowadays, we all know of travel websites through which virtually anyone can book a trip, including our favorite type of trip, a cruise. So, why even bother to contact a travel agent?
Well, for starters, have you ever called a phone number, gotten a recording, and felt like you had to jump through button-pressing hoops just to speak with someone who could answer questions and maybe even with whom you could float ideas? Sucks, right? Well, sometimes, it gets like that when wanting to plan a vacation. It is just better to speak with a person, sometimes. That being said, I have booked quite a bit of trips through travel deal websites, and I have been pleased. I have also booked vacations through travel agents, and I have been pleased. My experience doing both actually inspired me to become a certified travel agent because I realized the value that travel agents provide especially to cruisers.
Travel agents provide added value in that they can generally include extra perks – for example, for cruisers, travel agents may include onboard credit, gratuities, and special gifts in addition to what cruise lines offer. Travel agents also provide added value in that they have a world of knowledge – no pun intended, or well, maybe the pun is intended 😊 – at their fingertips. Travel agents are either developing a network or have already developed a network within the travel industry, and they can tap into that network to enhance a vacation.
Baseline Information Needed To Breathe Life Into Your Vacation
That all being said, even with their vast knowledge and network, there are a number of things that I suggest you know before you contact your travel agent.
1) Your overall budget for your vacation.
2) Some idea of where you want to go. Don’t just say “somewhere warm” – if you don’t know exactly what island(s) you want to visit, then, at least, know that you want to visit the Caribbean, for example.
3) The date range for your trip.
4) Who is traveling with you.
“The internet is for looking” in order to get a realistic idea of these things. From the internet, you can gather what destination(s) and sort of vacation may fit within your budget, or what sort of budget you need to afford the destination and type of vacation that you would like. From the internet, you can learn what destinations are most popular during the time you want to travel, and depending on the experience that you are seeking, you may choose a destination that is popular or one that is not popular (maybe to avoid crowds).
After you have conducted basic research to figure out these baseline details, I suggest contacting your travel agent to book the best option for you. With these baseline details, and knowing how many people are traveling, and whether it’s a solo trip, a romantic couple’s getaway, or a family vacation, your travel agent can assist in bringing your vacation vision to fruition.
So, tell me: Have you already established a budget for your next vacation? Do you know where and when you want to vacation next? Do you know who will be traveling with you on your next vacation?