Thursday, December 08, 2016

Travel Agent or Do It Yourself?

In recent years many people, including me, have started booking most of their own travel online. For a while, there was a theory that travel agents would become extinct, like the dodo of Madagascar.

Now, though, a lot of people are getting tired of the hassle of deciding on flights or hotels themselves, using multiple prices on various Websites, and reverting to the old-fashioned travel agent. For major vacations, this can be an especially good idea since tours and cruises include the agent's fee in their prices.

Airlines no longer pay agent commissions, so if you book an air ticket only you may have to pay a small fee. But, as I discovered recently, a well-informed agent can save you money because they have access to fares you are not likely to know about. For instance, I found that I could save about 10 per cent on an already low air fare if I didn't mind where I sat on the plane. It's a short flight, so I didn't mind where I sat.

I also booked an airport hotel, and again was able to get a lower price by making the booking non-refundable. I doubt I would have discovered either of these possibilities on my own.

Best of all, if anything goes wrong on a trip booked through a travel agent, you have someone to call and someone who can explain your options, if any, for redress.


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