My family and I are planning international travel to Italy in just a few months. As you can probably imagine, planning an international trip for a family of 5 is no easy feat.
I’ve planned a few international trips for me and my boyfriend before, but I’ve never planned a trip for more than just the two of us – and I really wanted to make sure that this trip to Italy is done right.
As I started thinking more and more about my whole family being in Italy, and how important this trip is (i.e. this will be my Dad’s very first time in Europe and his first time seeing where his late mother was born and grew up), I realized that I could really use some help.
I started having thoughts like – What if we miss something? What if we can’t figure out how to get from point A to point B? What if we end up spending way more money than we need to?
As I was thinking about all these moving parts, I started getting a little anxious about the trip and realized it might be beneficial to call in some professional help.
I have never used a travel agency before, and quite frankly, I wasn’t even sure anyone still used travel agencies! But I put a poll on my Instagram stories and one of my followers had some good news.
She mentioned a local-to-me travel agency that they had personally used and recommended, and I decided to call that travel agency to at least see what they were all about.
I found the travel agency’s website, filled out their contact form, and within a few days received a call from them. A nice, pleasant woman was on the other end of the call, and after just a few minutes, I could tell that I was on the phone with someone who had a lot of prior experience and would really help me take care of the little things (and the big things!) that I was worried about.
I was hesitant to use a travel agency at first (relinquishing control of planning this trip had me a little worried!) but over time I have become more than comfortable with our travel agent, and not to mention, very grateful.
Why hire a travel agent? This article will tell you exactly why you should hire a travel agent to save you money, time, and stress when planning your next trip, big or small.
Here are 8 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Travel Agent
We hired a travel agent for a 17 day trip to Italy. After reading this post, you’ll see why I am a big fan of travel agents!
Stress Saver: Navigating Covid or other major world events
Is something happening in the world that makes you hesitant to travel? Unforeseen events, natural disasters, or something else? Your travel agency might be able to help you navigate it.
Each country has their own requirements when it comes to Covid and in particular, Covid testing.
For example, just a few weeks ago, if you wanted to travel to London, you had to take a Covid test before flying to London and then take another test within a certain number of hours of arriving in London.
Since then, those requirements have been totally or partially lifted, but this is a good example of how requirements are constantly changing, and how you really have to stay on top of things.
Trying to plan an international trip for 5 people while also navigating the Covid testing requirements felt a little overwhelming and ended up being the main reason why I decided to hire a travel agency for help.
Once I communicated my concerns to my travel agent, she said they’d absolutely guide us through the Covid testing process and whatever other help we needed to navigate Covid during our travel – and I was immediately relieved!
Travel agents can help you navigate any Covid testing requirements (or other worldly events) that you may face so that you don’t have to navigate it all on your own.
Money Saver: Travel Agencies Have Partnerships
Travel agencies have partnerships with other travel companies, with the potential to save you TONS of money, get you better deals, and better experiences in general.
Another cool thing about travel agencies is that they have partnerships with hotels and other companies around the world which can help get you the best deals that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get on your own.
For example, if you book hotel accommodations or excursions with a preferred partner of your travel planner, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars on that accommodation/excursion because your travel agency can get better deals!
Another example of this is in cases where your travel agency may be partnered with another travel agency in another country all together. This is a great benefit because who better to help plan your trip to another country than a travel agency that is located in that country?
In our case, our travel agent is partnering with a bunch of people in Italy to help us plan very specific trips and excursions and it’s been wonderful because they have such a vast knowledge of the area and how we should get around since they are located there.
The travel industry is very connected, and they are happy to use their worldwide connections to help you have the trip of a lifetime.
Time Saver: Travel Agencies Will Handle the Planning/Research
Travel Agents will handle all of the planning and research for you, if you’d like.
This one might seem obvious, but when you hire a travel agency, they really will figure out all of the logistics for you giving you much greater flexibility to handle your own personal life in the process.
If you need to take planes or trains, or you want to schedule private transfers to pick you up from the airport, you need hotel rooms, or you want to schedule a half day excursion or an afternoon trip to a museum, your travel agency can organize all of this for you.
All you have to do is give the travel agency the big details, like where you want to go and what you’d like to do when you get there.
Then, you’ll approve the plans presented to you by your travel agency if you think what they proposed is a good idea and fits your preferences, and your travel agency will book your travels for you with the credit card or payment option that you provided them with.
If you don’t like certain plans or aspects of your trip that are proposed to you by your travel agent, you can tell your travel agency this and they can make changes based on your preferences.
Travel agencies allow you to sit back and relax while your trip is planned for you, making hiring a travel agency one of the best ways to save you time and stress.
Stress Saver: Travel Agents are the experts – they’ve been where you want to go and can give helpful recommendations
Who better to ask about travel plans than the experts themselves who have been where you want to go?!
Like I said before, travel agents typically have a lot of travel experience themselves, and more than likely they’ve even been to the places you are trying to go!
I couldn’t believe the extensive knowledge that my travel agent had. And even still, for the places we are going that she hasn’t been to before, she’s been able to ask her colleagues because they had been there before.
When I told my travel agent that we were travelling to London, she was able to tell us exactly how we should get from the airport to our hotel, the exact route we should take to get to some of the sights we want to see, and even where we should get coffee near our hotel – all because she has traveled to London many times herself. I couldn’t imagine better customer service! Her experienced truly simplified our travel plans.
Travel agents can be trusted to plan your trip because they have real-life experience with where you’re trying to go – or they know someone who does.
Money Saver: Travel Agencies and Travel Advisors may not be as expensive as you imagine
I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable our travel agency was as the pricing was one of my biggest concerns.
Another good reason to hire a travel agency: it’s a money saver.
At first, I was really worried about having to pay for a travel agent – it was one of my biggest concerns. I knew this trip for my family was not going to be cheap, and so I didn’t want to add on a ton more in travel agent fees.
Never having hired a travel agent before, I also didn’t know how it worked in general. Was there a flat fee? Was there an additional fee every time we committed to an arrangement that they set up?
Turns out in our case of group travel, it’s a flat planning fee of $75 per person and that’s it, no matter how long the travel is.
I believe the reason the travel agency can keep costs manageable for their clients is because since they have so many partnerships all over the world, they are able to get a cut of the sale when you decide to stay in a hotel, for example, of one of the companies your travel agency has a partnership with.
Travel agencies can be affordable and don’t have to cost you a ton of money. They are truly the best value.
Money Saver: You can give your travel agency a budget to work within
Your travel agency won’t spend carelessly – you give them a budget to work within and they will adhere to that! They may even give you various options.
Another key piece of all of this is that the travel agency you hire will work within your budget. If you do not want to spend more than a particular amount of money on the trip, the travel agent will do their best to work within those constraints and adhere to the needs of the client (you!).
If they think your budget will work, they’ll say so. Likewise, if they think your budget is tight for what you are trying to do, they will also tell you that. At the end of the day, they will work hard to fit within the constraints of your budget.
You don’t have to be worried about paying an excessive amount for your trip. A travel agency will work within your budget.
Stress Saver: Flexible Payment Options
Need a little more time to pay? Your travel agency likely has flexible payment options.
Depending on your travel agency, you may not have to immediately pay for everything that is booked – which can be convenient if you don’t have the cash to pay for everything right away.
This will depend on the policies of your travel agency, but it may also depend on the hotels/excursions/add-ons that you book.
For example, many hotels do not require payment until you arrive at the hotel for your stay. Often you have the option of paying ahead of time, but if you need a little time to save up money for the stay, hotels that allow you to pay when you arrive can be very helpful!
Likewise, for many excursions, you may be able to put a deposit down ahead of time instead of paying for the entire trip. For example, if an activity you want to do costs $2,000 total, you may only be required to put down 20% of that (or $400) at the time you book the activity with your travel agent.
Then, you’d pay the rest of the amount when you get closer to your trip, or on the day that you take the excursion, for example.
These options are a great way to buy time to save up money in case you don’t have the cash ready months before your actual trip.
Money Saver: Added Value you wouldn’t be able to find on your own
Our travel agency offered so much value, exclusive benefits, and travel hacks, and travel packages. I would never have been able to plan such an amazing trip on my own.
One of the things my family thought about doing was taking a day trip to Pisa when we were in Florence. I wasn’t sure if it’d be possible for my travel agent to arrange, but I mentioned it just in case they’d be able to swing it.
Without hesitation, my travel agent reached out to the third party that they work with in Italy, and a half-day excursion was planned that included a driver and tour operators that picked us up from our hotel.
In a matter of a few days (and with no work on my end) my travel agent was able to plan this excursion. I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to find a company that could plan this for us and coordinate times, etc.
This was such a relief and so impressive that they were able to plan this so quickly. It goes to show that their long-standing connections with agencies in other countries is invaluable!
The Travel Agency We Used: Avondale Travel
This is the travel agency we used and LOVED with a very reputable travel agent. I cannot tell you how much peace of mind they brought me and my family!
In conclusion, hiring a travel agency was one of the best things that I have done so far.
Hiring a reliable travel agency has saved us so much money, time, and stress. I was nervous to trust someone else to plan a trip that is so special for me and my family, but I can confidently say that because we’ve hired them, that this trip will be 1000x better than anything I could have planned on my own.
Update in 2023: I am so thankful for our travel agency at Avondale Travel (located in Jacksonville, Florida) and our travel consultant, and I highly recommend their services. It was a great deal overall, my family had a great time, and our trip would not have been half as lovely without the help of Avondale Travel and the help of a travel agent.
I want to travel to Asia for an upcoming trip with my partner soon, and I am definitely thinking about using Avondale Travel’s services again.
P.S. If you’re looking for a new, carry-on suitcase, I highly recommend this one:
Why hire a travel agent? This article was all about why you should hire a travel agent to save you money, time, and stress when planning your next trip, big or small.
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