Was sitting in the office of our local travel agency for a few hours a couple of days ago working out train schedules for our coming European adventure. As the agent struggled with schedules online, IFO noticed a flyer with some info (slightly edited by IFO):
“The Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent”
Thx to Newberg Travel and Cruise Inc, Newberg OR
1. Convenient One-Stop Shopping – TAs can handle every aspect of your trip from lodging, ground transportation, activities, tours and mch more!
2. Consumer Advocate – TAs can help resolve problems for you.
3. Expert Guidance – TAs are experts, and as such, they can create possibilities most people would never have dreamed were possible.
4. Save Time – Let the TAs call and websurf around and do all the work of planning a complex itinerary. Their resources are much broader than the average, um, IFO’s.
5. Choice – TAs offer an array of options and price quotes – good for the budget conscious.
6. Less Stress – Planning a trip can be stressful. (That’s for sure!) TAs do the work, reducing pressure on you.
7. Updated Information – TAs are constantly communicating with the travel community, so they can give you the most up-to-date info on airline regs, hotels, car rentals, cruise ships, travel visas and other services.
8. Customer Service – TAs offer that “personal touch” to your travel planning experience – offering help and advice that a website cannot provide. (So true!)
9. Travel Documentation – TAs can tell you how and whether to get necessary documents you may need to travel, like passport, visa, or any other papers.
10. Travel Expertise – Many TAs are considered experts in the area you are traveling to and have probably been to your chosen destination.
11. IFO’s own addition based on experience – TAs can get you a plane ticket across the world at the last minute, as one did for her in Switzerland a couple of years ago. Literally saved her life!
These skills can pay off big time.
For example, IFO’s tour leader to Turkey offered to join her on public transportation to visit tourist spots in Istanbul, rather than go on a tourist bus tour. Is that cool, or what? Of course, they aren’t all like that, but tour guides in IFO’s experience have been uniformly excellent.
Another time, a guide noticed on a bottle of olive oil at the place where we were having lunch in a town on the Italy-Slovenia border, it could have been Gorizia. The oil came from a farmer and olive oil producer just outside of town. She asked us if we’d like to go see how olive oil was made. Admittedly, IFO was the most enthusiastic, but the others said okay, so we went and it was worth the trip!