Over the years I have traveled a lot. As a poor 18 year old college student my travels were bare bones, often involved sleeping outside, and consisted of many skipped meals. I can distinctly remember booking my first solo trip online to San Francisco and the thrill of how easily my dream of traveling was becoming a reality. As I slept on a Burger King bench in San Jose one night, it dawned on me that I had perhaps not done enough research into the business of traveling.
I spent the next 10+ years traveling as much as I could. Friends would be making wise investments with their money, and I would be buying my next plane ticket. Through a series of trial and error I became a seasoned traveler and often found myself giving advice to friends and family before they set out on their own adventures. When it came time for me to book my honeymoon I decided to splurge and hire a friend who was a travel advisor to book my trip for me to Paris because she offered to waive her fee (Thank you friend. You know who you are). I would have never considered using a travel advisor before this trip, but by the time I arrived back in the states I would make the decision to never go without one again.
Perhaps you remember the volcano erupting in Iceland a few years back. As the ash flew into the sky blocking major air traffic, I sat in worry that my honeymoon would be cancelled. I had only a very select set of dates I would be able to get away from work. I HAD to travel on these dates or not at all. Luckily for me, my advisor was a seasoned professional. Very few flights made it out, and I was on one of them. I was such a fan of her services I found myself a few years later working for my friend under one of the most prestigious network of Travel Advisors in the world, Virtuoso. So yes, I am biased on this subject but it comes from my own personal experience. Of course you’re more than welcome to give me a call and I’ll book you an amazing personalized trip, but this blog is about why you should make the shift and trust in an advisor in the future.
In Forbes article, Why You Need a Travel Agent: Part 1, writer Larry Olmsted, @TravelFoodGuy offers a slew of reasons he has come to believes finding a trusted Travel Advisor is a wise investment. Olmsted first points out the obvious, but often ignored truth: Travel Advisors know more than you do. Sure, you can spend hours of your time doing research price comparing and google mapping a hotel or AirBnB in the area you want to stay, but you will never be able access the vast network of contacts a Travel Advisor has. That is one of the major areas an advisor adds major value to your travel. Through their countless hours of personal travel experience and the contacts they’ve made along the way. These are the same contacts that give Travel Advisor’s clients extra perks and exclusive offers only made available to the advisors. Olmsted continues on why Travel Advisors are a great investment with their ability to troubleshoot. When you have something go wrong and you’re on the opposite side of the world the search engines you booked with will not be working overtime to fix the problems for you. In the end you will end up spending unforeseen dough on a last minute overpriced hotel and shuttle.
In U.S. News’ article, Why it Pays to Book with a Travel Agent, writer Daniel Bortz @danielbortz supports Olmsted’s stance that using a trusted Travel Advisor will save you money. Bortz reminds readers that Travel Advisors know this business. They know what tickets to buy, from whom, and at what time to get you the best deal. There are offers available only to Travel Advisors because of their extensive connections that can end up saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars on a trip you book by yourself. Bortz writes of the perks you can receive from Travel Advisors for free that would cost you an additional amount if you book on your own, such as spa and food credits. Bortz discusses the Travel Advisor’s knowledge through a different lens than Olmsted. While he agrees Travel Advisors are experts in their field of travel, Bortz reminds readers that Travel Advisors are also experts on you. An advisor gets to know you as a person, what your interests and passions are something an online database can never do. Suggestions on things to do in a the city you are visiting will be generic and presented to you in the order of who has paid the most for their ad to pop up when you book online. When you book with a Travel Advisor, suggestions will be specific to what your desires and needs are.
Most of us only have a limited amount of time and resources. Make every minute and every dollar work for you and get to know a Travel Advisor.
1. Expertise Travel Advisors are experts in their field with connections to experts around the world.
2. Value There is a difference between price and value. A Travel Advisor can ensure you don’t sacrifice one for the other. Travel Advisors can get you access to perks that are not available to the mass market online.
3. Troubleshooting Travel Advisors are your safety net. Don’t let weather, an emergency at home, or a political revolution put an end to your amazing and much anticipated vacation.
Elevate your adventures and make sure to get the most out of your time off.
Must run. Talk soon!
HOLLY MANN: As an Independent Contractor of Vista Travel Consultants, Inc. a member of the Virtuoso Network, my access to the highest quality of vetted global travel partners allows me to create rich, culturally immersive, and liberating travel experiences.