Updated: Dec 18, 2019
I trust that your Thanksgiving Holiday whether it was a day or a week was a wonderful time and a cause for celebrating. As I shared with you last week, mine was a chance for my immediate family to gather together in our beloved mountain home in the Smokies. And though we weren’t in West Virginia, John Denver’s “almost heaven” reference is equally applicable!
So, now that the turkey, dressing, cranberries (real by the way) and “MeMe rolls” and untold sticks of butter are digested, and the rush of the Christmas Season is in full swing, I’d like to turn to an important topic in my profession… that of working with a travel advisor. This is also timely because gift-giving for some people during the holidays includes travel. I don’t mean traveling to be with family for Christmas, but rather giving a trip to someone as a present. As with many thoughtful gifts; the giver might need some outside help to find just the right trip. Take a look below and see if you agree with me that these 10 reasons (out of myriad others) are pretty convincing for working with a travel advisor. As you read on, please keep in mind that as a travel advisor my job and indeed my joy is to work with clients based on your budget, and your travel dreams, whether that’s a driving trip to a cabin in the Smokies or an all-out, ultra-luxe cruise around the world.
1. Travel is more complicated than ever. With new cruise ships coming online — never mind the new resorts and new airline fare categories — keeping with the options is a full-time job. And the growing trend toward groups of families and friends traveling together makes each trip a much more important purchase. Having a professional help with the planning and logistics can have a big impact on how much you spend on — and how much you enjoy — your vacation.
2. Travel advisors are on top of what’s new and exciting. The world is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. If you’d like to see The Passion Play at Oberammergau, the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, the cricket World Cup in Australia or the inaugural sailing of Virgin Cruise, travel professionals have access to the best tour packages and exclusive events, and they understand how to navigate the logistics.
3. They save you so much time and stress. Sure, reading about places to go is fun — but planning a trip is hard work, and you never know what to believe. Travel agents travel the world, looking at everything, from the size of the rooms in hotels and cruise ships to the dining options on-site and nearby. If they haven't personally been where you want to go, they know someone who has. They can answer your questions quickly and correctly.
4. Travel advisors have your back when you need an advocate. Blame global warming, acts of God or just the luck of the draw, but 2019 was a year of volcanoes erupting, earthquakes shaking and airlines failing, not to mention just plain bad weather, and 2020 promises to be the same. Whether the problem is getting there, getting in or getting out, your travel agent will get you where you want to go.
5. There is no do-over for a vacation gone wrong. Life is busier and more demanding than ever, and vacation time is more valuable. Travel agents can save you hours, not just in doing research to find you the perfect vacation, but also just sitting on hold with short-staffed airlines and resorts to make your vacation perfect.
6. Travel advisors add a human element — and an element of trust. Travel advisors are invested in their clients' happiness and satisfaction and want to make sure each and every trip is packed full of positive lifelong memories. They listen, suggest, adjust, understand and become a friend ... not just a search engine or an anonymous voice. They are with you before, during and after your trip.
7. The world is constantly changing, and travel agents are on the ground experiencing it. Has the Caribbean recovered from Hurricane Maria? Is it safe to travel to the Middle East? Travel advisors don't just sell a destination. They discover, research and experience the places they offer, over and over.
8. They often save you money — and if not, they deliver more value. Even if your travel agent charges a fee, the value you receive will be bigger than what you paid. Cruise lines and many resorts get the majority of their customers through travel agents — and they reward the best ones with perks to share with you.
9. Travel agents offer unique services for discerning clients. It all comes down to who you know. And odds are, they know that guy or gal.
10. Like any professional advisors, they really do know more than you do. You can cut your own hair and do your own taxes and brew your own coffee, but a professional can do it better.