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Should You Use a Travel Agent or Book Online?

man walking with suitcase

man walking with suitcase Travel agents can save you a lot of hassles — and get you some great deals. But they don’t always offer the best prices. | iStock.com/m-imagephotography

The internet has turned would-be vacationers into their own travel agents. Sites, such as Kayak and Expedia, and an entire app store’s worth of travel apps, enable travelers to book flights, cruises, and hotel rooms with ease. Travel agents — once a necessity to get to some far-off destination — often get cut out of the picture.

But, for those of you who don’t want to spend time planning your vacation, travel agents could be a great option. Your trip will just cost a little bit more. (According to the American Society of Travel Agents, the average service fee for booking airline tickets in 2009 was around $20, while the fee for booking a cruise was $50. And Angie’s List reports the fee for a travel agent to build an entire itinerary ranges from $100 to $200.So, should you book through a travel agent or online? Read on to learn the pros and cons of each approach.

Want great deals? Consider booking with a travel agent

man sits at a computer while he works

man sits at a computer while he works When you work with a travel agent, you can get the best deals without having to scour the web for them yourself. | iStock.com

Travel agents not only help you plan your vacation, but they can act as your vacation advocate. They’ll find you the best prices. And if something bad happens — such as a canceled flight or a missed connection — they’ll help clean up the mess. USA Today’s Tracy Morris explains, “Online booking will show you the prices of tickets at the moment, but prices may change daily.”

When you book with a travel agent, you won’t have to check your booking site of choice every day, searching for deals. The travel agent will do the dirty work for you and help you get the best deal without wasting all of that time.

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