Travel agents deal with so many companies on a daily basis that they have all the latest information on the many great deals that periodically come up. When it comes to visiting a place that is foreign and exotic (think China, Korea, Thailand, Morocco, Turkey, Russia or Poland), a travel agent that specializes in these areas can provide insight about the customs and culture, offer suggestions on places to visit and recommend some of the more interesting tours.
In the ’80s, I worked as an outside agent for World Trade Travel (sadly, it was located at the World Trade Center in NYC) that specialized in Asian destinations. Many a time, I was able to get better prices on airline tickets to Hong Kong or Malaysia for my clients. These days, most people book their airline tickets online. But if you don’t want the hassle of doing it yourself, a travel agent can help find the best travel deals within your budget. A few years back, China was offering tours to some of their popular cities for a mere $99. The tours included 7 or more nights at a 4-5 star hotel, 3 meals and transportation for the tour. We had learned about the tours from a friend, but a travel agent that specializes in Asian travel could have given us the information about the promotion.
Looking back, our trip to Amsterdam might have been cheaper if we had used the services of a travel agent. We had depended on our Parisian cousin for information on train tickets from Paris to Amsterdam; she told us the earlier we booked on Thaly , the cheaper it would be. We heeded her advice, but had trouble navigating the website, thus taking us longer to book, so we ended up paying the full price for our train tickets. The hotel we booked online based on the reviews turned out to be mediocre. While in Amsterdam, we were delayed in getting to Keukenhof Tulip Garden when our credit cards did not work in the train station kiosk. Any seasoned travel agent could have given us some insights about Amsterdam and help us avoid little mishaps such as these.
Granted, it was more fun wondering around trying to figure out how things work in a foreign country, but if we were on a tight schedule, we could have missed out on a lot of attractions. Travel agents can help provide valuable insights on international travel, saving you both time and money.
More from this Contributor:
Travel Destinations: Thailand
A Culinary Tour of Tokyo, Japan
A Memorable Thanksgiving in Turkey
Keukenhof Tulip Garden in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Best Three Asian Destinations for the U.S. Dollar