These days, many families have their put their vacation plans toward the bottom of their list of priorities. During tougher times, a vacation can seem to simply cost too much money. However, if you are thinking about going on a vacation, you might want to look into working with a travel agent to save money on vacation expenses. Working with a travel agent to plan your vacation means you might be able to afford the trip you thought you would have to put off until next year. For this reason alone it is definitely worth exploring the possibility. So how can working with a travel agent save you money?
Your travel agent will help you get the most out of your budget
Whether your travel budget is $500 or $5,000, working with a travel agent is probably the best way to make the most of your money. Especially if you’re traveling on a tight budget, the skills, knowledge, and experience of a travel agent can be invaluable.
Just make sure when you’re discussing travel plans with your agent, you are absolutely clear about how much money you have to spend. If you want to travel as cheaply as possible, make sure your travel agent understands this so that they have a good idea of the types of travel and accommodation they should be finding for you.
Your travel agent can quickly access a number of providers
Travel agents typically have access to a large network of travel, accommodation, and activity providers. With computer systems that provide access to travel agents all over the world, they can quickly locate details of discount travel providers in many countries. This is one of the main reasons why working with a travel agent is a good idea when you’re on a strict budget. They have access to a large number of different resources, software, and industry contacts, all of which they can use when hunting down the best bargains.
Your travel agent knows the cheapest times to travel
Some days are less expensive to travel on than other days. Red-eye flights and stand-by flights can be less expensive, but direct flights can cost more than taking a circuitous route that involves several different connections. Your travel agent should be very knowledgeable on the process of all this and knows that flights booked on Friday, Sunday, and Monday are generally more expensive. You stand a better chance of saving money on flights if you’re flexible about your travel dates.
In addition, your travel agent can quickly tell you if your vacation plans fall within a peak season during which flights to your destination are significantly more expensive. This means that you can modify your travel plans if you wish. Changing plans may include a cheaper destination or traveling during the offseason to save money on your flight.
Advanced booking is another factor that your travel agent can use to help you get cheaper flights. You should be booking at least six months ahead to get the most affordable tickets. Your agent should tell you that the holiday season is always a relatively expensive time to travel, no matter how far in advance you book.
Your travel agent has access to bulk discounts and consolidated tickets
If you’re willing to travel as part of an organized tour, your travel agent can help you access travel and accommodation. There are also specials for activities that are significantly cheaper than what you would spend if you did the same activities alone. This is because as part of a tour you can take advantage of bulk discounts. You can even organize your own tour through your travel agent, and the organizer might get to travel for free!
Consolidated tickets provide you with the chance to save on your air travel costs. A consolidated ticket is simply a ticket which was purchased by the agent as part of a large group of tickets sold by the same airline. The agent gets a bulk discount on the tickets and can pass that discount on to their clients.
Your travel agent has industry contacts and experience
This translates into money being put back into your pocket. Your travel agent may be in regular contact with many industry professionals, and might be able to get you a great deal on a tour being planned by another agent. If you’re flexible with travel times, your agent may advise you to adjust your trip dates to travel during a cheaper part of the week, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in travel costs. An experienced agent should have expert knowledge of your travel destination and can provide advice on budget accommodation and activities. The agent may often be able to provide discount coupons, free passes, and other incentives.
Best of all, none of these advantages come at a price! You can take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience that your travel agent provides, and can potentially save a great deal of money in the process.
Ryan Anderson is a blogger and freelance writer who focuses on the travel industry and vacation tips, often discussing a particular aspect of the travel industry such as working with travel agents.