LEISURE TRAVEL INFORMATION
Welcome to Online Travel Agents, the place to find experienced travel professionals. Whether you are planning on a cruise, tour or vacation package, custom luxury trip or just a weekend getaway, the travel agents listed here can find exactly what you want at the lowest possible price. You no longer have to search through countless travel web sites to find a professional and experienced travel consultant.
WHY USE A TRAVEL AGENT?
With all the travel information on the Internet and ability to book all kinds of travel products, why would anybody want to a use travel agent?
Save Time: Contrary to what you may have been led to believe by the online travel agency commercials, booking directly on their web sites does not save you time. In fact, it will probably take much longer. The more complicated your itinerary, the longer it will take you to research, coordinate and book the various components. Save yourself some valuable time, contact one of the professional travel agents listed here.
Save Money: Many independent studies have shown that professional travel agents can save you money compared to booking online. Travel agents have access to many sources for flights, cruises and vacation packages and can find better deals than what is available through the online travel agencies. So save yourself some money by contacting one of the professional travel agents listed here.
Customer Service: When you book a trip or a vacation, it is only natural to anticipate everything going as planned. Very few people think about the possibility of something going wrong and requiring customer service support from your travel agency.
When you book a trip or a vacation with a travel agent, you establish a personal as well as a business relationship with that travel agent. If something goes wrong, your travel agent is your personal representative who has a vested interest in resolving the problem to your satisfaction.
On the other hand, when trying to resolve an issue with customer service at an online travel agency, you are just a number, one of possibly hundreds of disgruntled customer that day. They do not know you nor do you know them. You don’t even know if they are located in the US. Service representatives at the online travel agencies simply do not have the same incentive to resolve an issue in your favor like travel agents.
Also, the less experienced you are in travel, the greater the chance in making errors. Every day travel agents get calls from individuals asking for help in resolving problems with their online bookings. Unfortunately, once booked, there is nothing a travel agent can do. The best solution is to call one of the experienced professional travel agents on our list before you make an online booking.
More Travel Options: Travel agents have access to significantly more travel and vacation options than what is available through the online travel agencies. There are hundreds of tour and vacation companies offering vacation packages to just about anywhere in the world and catering to just about any lifestyle or interest. They can use the traditional computerized reservation systems, supplier web sites and can call the suppliers directly to find and book flights, cruises and vacation packages that may not available through the online travel agencies.
Knowledge: The travel agents listed here are experienced travel professionals. They know the travel products they sell and the destinations they specialize in. That knowledge and experience is only available to you when you book through a travel agent. You will never get that benefit if you book through an online travel agency.
So, why use a travel agent? A more appropriate question is: With all the advantages in using a travel agent, why would anyone want to book a trip or vacation without a travel agent?
NOT FULLY CONVINCED?
Here is what independent travel writers are saying about using travel agents:
“We priced four trips, each of which included airfare for two, a rental car (except on Lanai), and five nights at our preferred hotels. …”
“The result: Travel agents consistently got us our first-choice hotel, as well as extra amenities (lei greeting, ocean-view room, etc) at comparable or even lower rates than what we got when booking online or calling for ourselves to reserve each component separately.” (read the complete article) Hawaii How-To Get the perfect vacation at the right price by Eric Crites, Conde Nast Traveler July 2000
“Although virtually all travel agents charge fees for their trip planning services, that can be money very well spent. Good travel agents do more than offer insights, find low fares and convenient itineraries, provide coherent documentation and help ensure that all the controllable details of a trip go smoothly.
They can negotiate with airlines, hotels and cruise lines for better rates or space that is otherwise sold out. They can get discounted consolidator tickets on international flights and, sometimes, on domestic flights. They can proactively monitor your trip plans and tell you if better itineraries or fares come along. They can get the best seat and cabin pre-assignments. They will be available for emergencies and flight changes and act as your advocate in any dispute or problem resolution. Most important, they can provide personal service and knowledge to plan trips to your preferences.
It's no exaggeration to say that finding and establishing a working relationship with a good travel agency can be the single most efficient way to make the most of your travel opportunities.” (read the complete article) Travel agents give virtuoso performance by David Bear, Post-Gazette Sunday July 09, 2006.
“So getting the lowest price that’s out there has now become a matter of primary importance. Trouble is even the experts are divided on how to do this.
Some say the answer lies with the Internet, with Web sites such as www.expedia.com that are chock full of discounted travel in airline tickets, rental cars, hotels and travel packages. Some rely on calling directly to the airlines. But the Savvy Traveler says a good travel agent is still your best bet- more than ever before.
With every trip I take nowadays, I search the Web for the best price, call the airline involved and call my travel agent. She has always managed to come up with a fare that is at least as good as I can find and usually one that is better.” (purchase this article)Good agents are still the best bet for bargain fares by Gerry Hall, Toronto Star April 5, 2003
“You should consider using a travel agent in these seven situations:
If you are pressed for a time. Let a travel agent can do the research for you. Finding deals on the Internet can be time consuming, and a travel agent can do the legwork quickly and efficiently.
Want to take a cruise? "Travel agents who are cruise specialists can easily find excellent discounts and/or cabin upgrades," says Dunnan. The overwhelming number of cruises and destinations make it difficult for the first-time cruiser to select the right trip, and a travel agent can help with that too.
Road warriors. Frequent travelers can benefit from a travel agent, because the agent will work hard to keep your business. You can bet that agents will want to find you the lowest prices and upgrades so that you'll keep coming back.
Anticipating trouble. If you're traveling to areas prone to hurricanes during hurricane season, use an agent, who "will make certain that you are booked into resorts and hotels that will refund some or part of your costs should a hurricane hit the area. An agent can also help you move from one destination to another, get you back home and help you get a refund," says Dunnan. In fact, travel agents are always useful if you're traveling in an area that has been struck by disaster. "We had a number of subscribers tell us how their agent helped them deal with travel problems during the days and weeks after 9/11. More recently, praise for agents came in from readers traveling in Colorado and other states during the huge snowstorms.
Planning a complicated itinerary? Travel agents are invaluable. For example, a first-time trip to China, Tibet and Russia can be difficult to plan, and packaged tours aren't for everybody. An experienced agent can help you put it together, saving you both time and money.
Special needs travel. Elderly or ill travelers can benefit from the extra care travel agents can secure. A travel agent can negotiate access for medical equipment such as wheelchairs and oxygen and can also find you safe and easily accessible accommodations.
Business interruptions. And if your airline goes on strike or declares bankruptcy, a travel agent can help you quickly get an alternative flight. So carry your travel agent's contact information with you on the trip.” (read the complete article) When does it pay to hire a travel agent? Nancy Dunnan, editor of TravelSmartNewsletter.com as quoted by Ismat Sarah Mangla, Dow Jones Market Watch Feb 14, 2007
Smart Money magazine summarized everything quite well on the cover of the June 2007 edition.
“FORGET ONLINE! TRAVEL AGENTS GET BETTER DEALS”
Smart Money tested travel agents from three different travel agencies, asking them to arrange a trip to Paris including round-trip flight from New York and deluxe hotel. Then Smart Money tried to get the best deals using Travelocity and Expedia.com. Two of the three travel agent packages beat the best prices from both Travelocity and Expedia.com. (read the complete article) Travel Agents Are Staging a Comeback by Kristen Bellstrom, Smart Money June 2007