I know, I know. Do travel agents still exist? Don't they charge for everything and cost you more? Are you stuck in the 70s? They invented this thing called the internet you know? That's all I hear from my friends every time I say I booked my trip with a Travel Agent. The answer to those questions are yes,no,no,I'm well aware. Thanks for asking :)
Here's the deal. If I was buying a house, I'd use a realtor. If I needed insurance, I'd go to an insurance broker. If I need to get my taxes done, I go to my accountant. And if I wanted to travel, I'd use a travel agent. Why? Because they make the process easier, they have my best interest at heart, and they will always fight for me if something goes wrong or I need help. This does not mean I don't do any research. I love traveling, and I love researching travel so I'm always well prepared when I go to my local travel agent. It's just nice that she can do all the busy work that I truthfully, don't have the time for. It's also nice to talk with someone who is equally passionate about traveling, and my trip, and they may have some suggestions that I would have never thought about.
I understand why people would think travel agents aren't in existence anymore, there are definitely fewer of them now than there were 30 years ago. However, many of the former storefront agencies are now working home based. Same great service, same great knowledge, just a different office. Before you go thinking it's weird to use the services of someone that works from their house, let me reassure you. My accountant I use for my taxes works from home. The dentist my friend uses, works from an office he created in his basement with a separate entrance. Oh and those amazing baked goods I bought from the local street fair last week and can't wait to go buy again? Yup, you guessed it! Those were made by an entrepreneur working from her house as well. I do all my travel planning with my agent over the phone and in email. Very rarely do I need to see them in person so the location they operate means very little to me. My final documents get emailed to me and if I choose to have them printed instead, she'll print them and put them in a nice document wallet for me and mail them to me. Easy Peazy!
Here's where I became sold on the idea of using an agent. Years ago I had a flight home from Nashville to Newark, NJ. As I went to check in for my flight that morning from my phone, I was informed my flight had been cancelled and the airline took the liberty of protecting me on a flight the NEXT DAY! I called the airline and was informed I would be on hold for approximately 90 minutes. I hung up and called my travel agent. Within 30 minutes I had new flights and was able to get home as planned. While I was in the air, she went to work with getting me a credit for my original flight. By the time I landed, not only was I home but I had a message letting me know all was taken care of.
I'm in no way saying a travel agent is the only way you should book your travel. Everyone should travel the way they feel comfortable and book how and where they feel comfortable. But like every travel lover, it's always good to have options and this travel lover loves his Travel Agent.