Let's say you would like to go to Costa Rica and you wonder about which airport to fly into and the best places to stay. You might have looked around on the Internet and soon discovered that the choices are endless. So you decide to call me. How do I know what to recommend to you?
I ask questions about your trip
I'll find out by talking with you whether you want a beach, downtown life in the capital, a stay in the rain forest, or touring all over Costa Rica. I'll also be sure to find out how many people are going with you because hotel pricing is impacted. I'll find out about your budget, and whether you plan to fly and drive, hire a driver and car, or meet up with a tour company. I'll probably ask questions you've never thought about, too.
Travel Agents Often Quickly See Where a Problem Exists
Recently I talked with a traveler who wanted to book a tour to Yosemite. She showed me what she was looking at. I knew the tour company and quickly realized she would get only 2 1/2 hours in Yosemite using that particular choice. It was not the trip for her.One reason to use a travel agent is that we know things you don't yet know. Click To Tweet
I know that “ocean view” is different than “full ocean view” and could mean a tiny glimmer out of your bathroom window if you are standing on top of the toilet. I know that “garden view” might be a stand of bushes shielding a full-on parking lot view. I know that the price you see on a website is called the “lead in” price for a reason – and it's not for the spring break dates you want. A good travel agent can save you hours of time and cut to the chase. We know that usually the cheapest price isn't going to give you the best experience and can tell you why that's true.
Travel Agents Have Ways To Find Out the Dirt
I belong to about 17 different private forums for travel professionals and believe me we spill the tea. We ask questions of each other and share information among ourselves. If the service is bad at a place we know it. If the resort needs an update and is looking shabby we probably know that, too. We share information on the daily about where we have been and where our clients have been. We help each other create “sell with caution” lists. We share our client experiences good and bad. We share pictures of the places we personally travel to that are not the shiny professional shots you see on the website.
We know what not to book. Every experienced travel agent has a “do not sell” list and we share our experiences with each other. We know the cruise companies who didn't reimburse travelers rapidly after they had to cancel their cruises during covid. We know the hotels in Mexico that are really time shares and that will bug you to death to attend a presentation if you book there. If we tell you that we don't recommend a particular place or ship it's best to listen to us.
Travel Agents Pay Money for Background Information
Personally, I pay out of pocket every year for access to four websites for travel professionals only. These sites give me updated, unbiased reviews of tour companies, cruise lines, cruise ships, hotels, and tour operators. I spend time almost every day reading these reports. The memberships are not cheap but they give me access to information I can't otherwise get. I almost never book something without looking it up on these sites first.
We Have Contacts At Cruise Lines, Tour Operators, Insurance Companies
When you use a travel agent rest assured that agent will be using her contacts to find out information you won't have access to. If you're looking at a cruise I can usually find out if a sale is coming up or if the ship is almost sold out. I know about price increases you want to avoid. Sometimes because we often buy in bulk we can get benefits for you that you won't get by yourself. We can provide direct contacts to speak with when you are deciding on trip insurance coverage and point you to companies that we know do right when there is a problem.
You Can Benefit From Our Personal Travel
Chances are that if you want to go someplace I've been there. I know better than to book a close connection at certain airports. I know that a particular destination is way too hot and crowded right when you are thinking of going. I've usually got a hotel name or two tucked up my sleeve because we've stayed there.
Nothing beats boots on the ground. You want to use a travel agent who has traveled – not someone who sits in a cubicle and has never been out of the country she lives in.
We Keep It Real and Manage Your Expectations
We also know that no trip is ever perfect. Rain will come. Mosquitoes will bite. Beds won't be like they are at home. Service might be slow. You might miss a connecting flight. We know to coach you on what to expect and that travel means rolling with the punches. If you want things to be like home then stay home. If you want things to be perfect 100% of the time you're a bad traveler and it's best to stay home. If you have unwisely paid for a cheap plane ticket that doesn't let you pick seats we'll tell you to quit creating drama when you can't sit with your kids. (If you want to pick seats together you need to pay for that when you book!)
Travel is amazing and wondrous. Travel is educational. Travel connects you to the world. Travel tests you and stretches you. Travel sometimes makes you sad. It sometimes fills you with incredible joy. It leaves you dreaming of the things you've done and the people you have met. It provides thousands of memories that delight you. It makes you braver. It changes you. Yes, travel changes life. That's the name of my business for a reason. When you have been touched by travel's wand you will never be the same.
I share honest, informative travel news and tips which you can receive by clicking here. If there's a great price on something I'll let you know. If I don't recommend something you'll know that, too.
Why use a travel agent? We love helping people who want great travel experiences and forever memories. We love matching your needs (singles, couples, families and groups) to well-run trips. We want you to come home and feel like you had a wonderful time, even though there were imperfect days (that's the reality of travel).
Travel Tip – When Not to Use a Travel Agent
I do not book freestanding (air only) tickets for domestic or international trips. It's not in your best interests to book freestanding air tickets through me (or anywhere else). If there is a problem you can make changes far faster in the moment at the airport than a travel agent can.
Sometimes travelers want to pick their flights but don't really know the best airports or routing to a destination. You can hire me to research that for you. For a flat $50 fee I'll provide my best advice regarding which airline based on your home airport, best routing, best connections if that is unavoidable, and realistic connection times. Most travel agents will help you sort this out for a small fee and then you can do your booking yourself. I never recommend that you book a nonrefundable flight.
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