If you’ve ever tried to schedule brunch over a group text, you’ve probably dealt with the nightmare of picking a date that works for everyone, finding a convenient location that is affordable but still has what everybody wants, and making sure that everyone actually, you know, shows up. It is a production, to say the least.
Now imagine doing that for something as important and logistically challenging as a group vacation. If you’re shaking your head in horror, don’t worry. That’s what a good travel agent is for.
Here are all the reasons why you should use a travel agent for your next group trip.
Travel agents know where to find the best deals.
Inteletravel advisors go through rigorous training to learn how to search for the best prices for transportation, lodging, and activities. They also spend time cultivating relationships in the travel industry which translate into cost savings for you.
Travel agents can find tours that aren’t listed publicly, leverage their relationships with various travel partners such as airlines and hotels to secure discounts, and even score you upgrades and unannounced perks. (Champagne upon check-in, anyone?)
Additionally, sometimes travel partners will give discounts for block purchases, such as hotel reservations, which your agent can advocate for, saving your group even more money than if you just went onto a discount travel website or booked directly.
Finally, when you use a travel agent, you can book with a deposit instead of having to immediately pay in full. That means your group can choose where to go, where to stay, and what to do without substantial up-front costs.
Travel agents will take care of the logistics.
Coordinating flights, transportation, lodging, and activities is a challenge even when you’re only taking care of yourself. Now imagine trying to get a group of people on the same flight or, at the very least, to your destination in the same time frame, booking multiple hotel rooms, and coordinating who will track down and schedule tours, restaurants, transportations, and rentals.
Travel agents can find flights for all members of your group and work with each individual’s unique needs. They’ll also be able to book room blocks, identify any documentation needs—if you’re going to an international destination, and one of your friends has a passport from a country that has visa specifications, for example—and schedule your trip from start to finish in a time- and money-saving manner.
Travel agents can make recommendations if you and your group can’t decide.
Say you and a friend really want to go whitewater rafting, while the two other members of your group would rather have a spa day. All four of you agree that you don’t want to spend a day apart. Travel agents are trained to advise you on alternate locations, solutions to logistical problems, and anything else that might occur. They may even be able to find whitewater rafting hosted by a hotel that has a spa.
Or say you’d like to go to Maui, but you’re worried it’s out of your budget. The right travel agent will help you find a beachfront location with similar activities (snorkeling, hiking, and more) within your budget—Kauai, another Hawaiian island, features plenty outdoor adventures and cheaper overall lodging and food costs. Or they could crunch the numbers to discover that while cheaper to stay on Kauai, it’s more expensive to get to, meaning you and your friends would actually save money by picking Maui.
Travel agents can help fix any hiccups or mistakes.
One of the benefits of establishing a relationship with a travel agent is they will continue to advocate for you even after you’ve left for your trip. Say one of your friends’ flights gets cancelled, or you schedule a group tour, and the tour company only reserves five seats when you actually need six. Instead of wasting precious vacation time on the phone, you can alert your travel agent, and they will talk to airlines, tour operators, and whoever else on your behalf. Just focus on having a fun time with your friends.
Travel agents don’t cost you a dime.
For the cost of simply finding the right travel agent and giving them your information, you’ll be able to plan a dream vacation for you and your crew. Agents make money from hotels, air carriers, and wholesalers, not from their clients.