When you see the advertisements for travel companies like Orbitz or Expedia that let you do your own vacation booking, you may wonder if Travel Agents are still relevant in this technologically-advanced time. The answer to that question may surprise you. In spite of the trend to make online reservations and research destinations on your own, travel agencies still represent a considerable value. Here are five reasons to use a Travel Agent.

An Agent Saves You Money.

This reason is listed first because it is usually a primary consideration. You want to get the lowest price on travel, and get the best value for your money. That is the reason people flock to do-it-yourself online sites, but the truth is that using an agent will probably save you money. They have built up relationships with travel providers like cruise companies that can help you get better rates, according to the website travelsense.org. They can also leverage things for you that you couldn’t get on your own like “sold-out” and “unavailable” adjoining rooms, free room upgrades, reservations at elite restaurants and amenities like welcome baskets.

A Travel Agent is Your Advocate.

In case something goes wrong, you need someone with clout. Travel providers are more concerned about a continuing relationship with an agent who sends them business than an individual one-time customer. Agents also belong to an association, the American Association of Travel Agents that has a history of helping travelers in disputes with providers.

It is Convenient to Use An Agent.

Agencies provide “one-stop-shopping.” The agents know where to get information and research every aspect of your vacation from your departure to your return with your needs in mind. On your own, you might spend hours finding accommodations with special requisites like rooms with handicap accessibility, looking for attractions and making hard-to-get reservations. In addition, if you call a hotel, an airline or a cruise line to make a reservation, they won’t let you know about lower prices or special deals at a competitor. Agents, like insurance brokers, sell many products and can get you exactly what you want at the best price. You don’t have to research and compare for yourself.

A Travel Agent is More Savvy than Individual Travelers.

Fox News points out that agents are educated in destinations; they are widely traveled themselves. Agents are aware of global tensions and safety issues and can help you have an enjoyable and worry-free trip. They can offer insider tips and let you know about “non-touristy” places to see. Websites like Trip Advisor or other companies can’t give you the benefit of expertise in planning a trip. They can’t let you know about local customs or warn you about places to avoid. Because of their experience, agents can also let you know about places to go or things to do that aren’t mentioned in travel guides, so you might not find out about them otherwise.

You Pay the Same Price for Lodging With or Without an Agent.

That is because most hotel rooms, about 98 percent of them, are parity-priced. The rooms that you see offered on travel websites are the same inventory that your agent sees and can access in real time. The difference is that your agent can get you what you need and want for that price.

While technology enables us to do many things on our own computers, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we no longer need someone who “knows the ropes” to help us plan our trips. Professionals can assist us to plan worry-free vacations, enjoy amenities not available to everyone, and save money on a trip that is tailored to meet our needs. Travel Agents are still a very relevant part of American life.

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