Bon Voyage

Save Money and Time with a Travel Agent

bon voyage Save Money and Time with a Travel Agent

By Mimi Greenwood Knight

As my sister and I picked up our rental car, the clerk couldn’t get over our low rate. “Wow, this is a great price! Do you work for Enterprise?” Nope, we just know an amazing travel agent. Shannon not only found great rates on our flight, car rental, tours, and accommodations, but she also made wonderful recommendations for things to do and see during our trip.

For years, I was under the misconception that using a travel agent (also known as a travel advisor) costs more. But I’ve found the opposite to be true. Travel agents can access deals you and I won’t find online, including upgrades for hotel rooms, free spa visits, complimentary breakfast, and other amenities, which they happily pass on to their clients. My travel agent saves me time, money, the headache of trying to educate myself about all things travel, and so much more.

My experienced travel agent knows the right questions to ask to help me consider what type of flight, accommodations, and experiences I might enjoy. She can suggest restaurants and then book my reservation for me. She knows about money-saving tour bundles I’d likely never find. I still get to be involved in dreaming up vacation ideas, but she makes those ideas a reality.

She helps with timing logistics, advising me on how many days I’d like to spend in each location, which tours go well together, the best time of day/year to do which activities, and how many I can realistically enjoy in a day. My agent works within my budget, and her itineraries are always spot-on. She understands travel insurance policies (which I don’t) and the best insurance options for my needs. And if the price drops on something I already have booked, she can rebook for me at a lower price.

With her insider knowledge, my travel agent can cut through the clutter that would bog me down and often knows about unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences I wouldn’t hear about and even exclusive experiences not available to the general public. She stays up-to-date on the latest health and safety restrictions and what I should and shouldn’t expect to carry onto a plane.

My travel guru is among the first to know about flight cancellations and delays and can set to work immediately adjusting my itinerary when they occur. Through her industry connections and relationships, she knows which parts of a town are safe for me to visit and which I might want to avoid. She helps me avoid surprise fees, and if I encounter unexpected travel issues, once I’m on vacation, she’s just a phone call away to help me troubleshoot a solution.

Studies have shown — and my own experience has borne out — that working with a travel agent saves planning time and money and relieves travel anxiety. With an experienced travel agent in your corner, you can sit back, relax, and spend your time doing what you came to do. Happy travels, y’all!

Travel Tips from My Travel Agent

  • Print extra copies of your passports and travel documents and keep digital copies in your email.
  • Tell someone at home your itinerary and where you’ll be. Consider turning on location services and sharing.
  • Book early-morning flights, which are statistically the least likely to be delayed or canceled.
  • Sign up for loyalty programs with every airline offering them. That way, whoever you use, you’ll be racking up miles for later use.
  • Pack light and do laundry during your trip. It’s far cheaper than paying for an extra suitcase.
  • For international texting and calls, use a third-party encrypted program such as WhatsApp, Viber, or Signal to avoid extra data and call charges.
  • Once you’re seated on a plane, check out the seat map on the airline’s app to see what’s open and inquire about changing seats. If you notice an open seat in first or business class, politely ask whether you may upgrade. You might be surprised with a “yes.”
  • Allow at least 90 minutes between connecting flights to allow for delays, security issues, etc.
  • Traveling to a beach location? Purchase sunscreen at home, not at a premium once you get there.
  • Stay hydrated. If traveling outside of the U.S. learn to say basic phrases in the local language. Bring snacks.

Get more travel tips HERE on LivingMagazine.net

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