Tuesday is National Plan for Vacation Day.
Launched by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off initiative in 2017, the last Tuesday in January is a day to encourage Americans to begin planning for their next vacation at the start of the year before their time off is expired or all used up on days spent running errands, helping a friend move or sitting in a waiting room.
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The idea of planning a vacation, whether traveling solo, as a couple or with family, can be incredibly exciting. However, it can also be daunting when it comes to settling on the right destinations, flights and hotels or resorts without blowing up your budget.
Fortunately, talented travel agents are standing by to assist you in crafting the perfect trip.
Your first thought is probably that the convenience of working with an experienced agent is going to cost you extra but that’s a common misconception as agents have access to the best travel deals and also boast the booking expertise to stretch your budget further.
“I often win many clients and their deposits once they realize I work for them and they pay no additional fees to use my services. Most consumers already think we charge fees or they pay more to use our services and I want to assure them that not all travel agencies are created the same,” Mark Hennigan, co-owner and founder of Hampstead, Maryland-based Dreamers Travel, told TravelPulse.
If saving money isn’t your top priority, perhaps you could benefit from preserving time and stress. A good travel agent can do that too as you won’t be left to scroll travel websites for hours in hopes of landing on the right booking.
What’s more, your travel agent doesn’t disappear after your trip has been booked. They’ll continue to be an invaluable resource for you before, during and after your vacation and will be ready to assist you in the event that something goes wrong.
“The East Coast is in for some wintry weather today and tomorrow and I have spent the first two hours of my morning making flight adjustments for our clients heading to Punta Cana. It is my job as a Travel Professional to be proactive,” added Hennigan “I reach out to these folks with an alternate plan and shift their dates and you would have thought I bought them a new house. They were so surprised that I even thought of them not to mention offer them alternative options so they could still take their trip and not have to cancel.”
With a travel agent, there’s also no need to be nervous about reading the fine print on that too-good-to-be-true deal or worry if you’re being scammed.
Travel agents are also travelers themselves so they often have firsthand experience in your destination, on your cruise or at your resort. They also have clients who’ve experienced it and provided them with feedback. That’s information you can trust compared to a review you might read online.
Working with an agent can also potentially open the door to exclusive access or VIP experiences. Agents are well-connected and often have access to special perks and benefits that they can pass on to you. If not, they’re still able to ensure a personalized travel experience by taking into account your passions and goals to build a custom itinerary of excursions, activities and experiences just for you.
“I email every hotel or resort prior to clients arrival,” added Hennigan. “I let that resort know these guests are on a honeymoon, anniversary, birthday, etc. and there are often times the management will greet them on my behalf.”
“The client emails me from the resort (or when they get home) and says ‘Mr. Anderson’ spoke very highly of you and thank you for the warm welcome or the fruit plate, etc. I am not sure Trivago or Expedia offer that type of service.”
So, what are you waiting for? Talk to a travel agent today. Reach out to your local travel agency or visit TravelSense.org to find a verified advisor ready to assist you in planning your next vacation.