9 Perks of Using a Local Travel Agent
I travel a lot. Well, I’m not on the road almost every day of the year, but I do treat myself with several summer vacations as well as city breaks and shopping tours. My friends are aware of this, and they always ask me how do I book my trips. I guess that’s an important question for anyone wanting to plan vacations or the adventure of their dreams. The truth is 90% of the time I use a travel agent.
It seems to surprise most that I use a local travel agent, but there are many reasons why I do it. Even though it’s the Internet era and everyone’s used to doing pretty much everything online, I believe using a local travel agent offers many perks online operators (Expedia, Travelocity, etc.) simply cannot offer.
Personally, I only travel through the Waikiki Travel Skopje agency when I’m in Europe.
Therefore, I decided to share why using a travel agency is important regardless whether it’s a short trip or a special destination on your bucket list.
Great Prices and Travel Package Offers
Yes, we all know that there are numerous websites that offer hotel and flight deals – I personally use Booking.com for finding hotels and vacation packages. However, travel agents usually have special partnerships with tour operators and often get excellent prices that cannot be found elsewhere.
Many travel operators have exclusive hotel and apartment deals that can be booked only through them.
For example, last summer we were in a hotel in Greece that had 10 older rooms and three completely refurbished rooms. Those three rooms were booked by our travel agent, so we ended up staying in more modern and comfortable rooms for the same price as someone would have paid for one of the older rooms.
A Travel Agent Has Insider Information
Okay, so you want to book a hotel or decide which destination to visit this summer; naturally, you can find hundreds of reviews online that try to offer as objective information as possible. However, no matter how many photos you see or how many reviews you read, you’ll never find true insider information.
Hotels sometimes tend to have hidden fees and travel agents know these. Sometimes, there may be construction works inside or near the accommodation; you can’t find this information online, but a travel agent is likely to know it and will share it.
Furthermore, we all see beautiful and exotic images of perfectly clear water and impeccable beaches, but let’s be real, a lot of it’s photoshopped or edited in some way. My travel agent has prevented me from making this mistake several times because travel agents see the properties first hand as part of their job. They share little things that can easily spoil your entire vacation if you’re not prepared for them.
We’ve all had at least one unpleasant experience while traveling; regardless whether it’s a delayed flight, dirty room or even a medical emergency. Well, in such cases your travel agent often has your back. They can help you with both providing information or even do the fighting for you.
For example, my friends once had an awful experience in a Greek hotel where they didn’t have hot-water. I bet you can imagine the irritation, especially if you have children. Well, after they talked to the receptionist and nothing was improved, they called their travel agents. Soon, they were taken to another room, and they had hot-water for the rest of their trip. Sometimes, when finding a solution isn’t possible, they can negotiate a discount for you, so you get at least something out of it.
Moreover, I must mention assistance in terms of documentation, namely, you’ll need a visa or a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months from the arrival date for visiting many countries. Also, traveling in some countries requires a personal travel insurance. All this information is always provided by your travel agent and you save hours of doing research that may not end up being valid or useful.
They Save You Time and Money
Destination tours by bus or plane that are organized by travel agencies are often quite affordable and impressive adventures. They always end up being cheaper than individually organizing the trip.
It’s simply not possible to organize the identical trip by yourself and pay that little money. Plus, their tours come with tour guides that take care of pretty much everything; so, you get to just relax and enjoy the trip rather than worry about tickets, parking, gas etc.
They’re Great for Travel Packages and Personalized Adventures
Many people have the wrong impression that travel agencies are good for their own trips only; however, that’s everything but true. Yes, they have their own tours and accommodation that they offer for excellent prices, but they can also help you with a personalized adventure, too.
For instance, they can find the best connections, tell you the best dates for traveling to a certain spot and even offer some suggestions what to see in the area. I often book personalized trips because I want to see several destinations and accommodations at a time. I prefer traveling by car too. My travel agent knows all of this and therefore often provides me with useful and relevant options.
It’s More Personal
In the end, just like you often become friends with the barman in your favorite club or the employees at your local shop, you’ll probably become friends with your travel agent too. This makes traveling and planning a trip more personal and engaging experience.
You can come up with an idea and simply go to your travel agent and ask them for ideas and advice. After all, they’re not only experts for traveling, but also humans. They’ll often try to get you the best room or give you a discount, which will certainly make the trip better.
You Can Complain In Person
Truth is, nobody likes to think about having possible bad travel experiences. But these can happen to anyone at any time. However, instead of sending e-mails in vain or calling and waiting forever to reach a support agent, you can complain in person to your local tourist agencies. When you go there and explain in person what the issues were to people who know you, you have better chances of coming to an understanding. In a worst-case scenario, when nothing can be done, they may offer you a discount on your next trip just to smooth things over with you. That’s why I always go for a local travel agent near me when I can.
Local Traveling Agencies Value Your Business More
Online booking services have thousands, and some even millions, of customers. For them, you are just another click or just another person using their services. No matter how many employees they have or how hard they try, it’s just impossible for them to appreciate everyone who brings their business to them.
Traveling agencies targeting locals, on the other hand, are dedicated to maintaining their brand. Therefore, they appreciate every single person who books through them. Plus, everyone knows that these days it’s just better to support local businesses than huge corporations, right?
They Often Launch Special Promos
On top of all the other benefits of traveling via a local agent, you can expect some cool promotions too. That’s right, free trips and huge discounts are some of the things you can win there. Also, trying to promote their brand, local agents near you may also give branded goodies such as t-shirts, caps or beach umbrellas. All you have to do is follow them on social media in order to stay up to date with such promotional activities.
That’s it guys, I hope at least one of these tips will make you consider visiting your local travel agent and book your next trip.
For the record, I recommend using only licensed and reliable travel agents and recommend you do some research before giving them your trust and money. In my case, I’ve been very satisfied with Waikiki Travel Skopje and I stick with them; so, it’s best for you to find your trusted travel agency and stick with it.
Also, keep in mind that many local travel agents can serve foreigners as well. Therefore, when you go to a certain place you can use them for booking local travel tours or even vacations in nearby countries. For example, if you travel to Skopje, you can visit one of the local travel agencies and find awesome deals for Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bulgaria and even Turkey.