I want to dispel the three biggest myths about working with a travel advisor. Why? Because I just don’t understand why everyone planning a vacation does not work with an expert that offers great value. I have traveled around the globe hundreds of times by every method possible. I know Russia and Egypt like the back of my hand. I know what I want to see and do. But I always, repeat always, use a travel advisor. Here’s why.
The Elephants in the Room
Let’s start right off with some common misperceptions.
You fear 1. That they will direct you to the product where they earn the most commission.
You think 2. It will cost you more.
You think 3. It will make you look less creative/adventurous/intelligent if you don’t plan your own vacation.
Let’s go one by one.
1. Travel Advisors Push Products with the Highest Commission
While an online site might push such an agenda, a travel advisor who wishes to have a client for life is not going to sacrifice you for a percentage point more. They are going to receive a commission from almost any product in the marketplace, so thinking they will direct you away from the best trip for you is just fiction and bad business.
Travel Advisor Nikki Miller of “Travel with Nikki” on a Signature Educational Journey in Hawaii with fellow advisors. They know because they go…..
2. It Will Cost You More
If you are looking for the absolute lowest cost for a cruise in the Caribbean, you might not need a travel advisor. Search online and take the cabin near the engine with a small porthole and nothing else included. But, if you are looking for the best value for your dollars, you need an advocate. The best advisors will charge you a planning fee for their time and I see that fee as a small payment for saving my time. Honestly, I charge more per hour than they do so I save money. You probably do too.
If there is an upgrade to be given on a ship, it will likely go to someone who booked with a travel advisor. They know the travel suppliers personally. Think about it. If your travel advisor sends a cruise line one hundred travelers in a year, they will have the clout to make sure you receive top attention. They email the general manager of your hotel, they contact the hotel manager of your ship and they make sure that the tour operator for your safari knows you will be on a certain departure date. You will be a VIP because they have clout.
Moreover, most of the top travel advisors are members of a consortium. (Full disclosure I work for Signature Travel Network which is one of the leading consortiums.) These consortia pool their resources and clout to get the best deals for their advisors and their clients. Perks will include upgrades, free breakfasts, onboard credits, and general VIP treatment. If your travel advisor has clout think about that multiplied by a thousand when they are backed by a consortium’s buying power. You get the idea. So will it cost you more? Likely no, as most suppliers offer the same prices regardless of how you book. Will you get more value for your dollars with additional perks? Absolutely.
Signature Travel Network Advisors on a Silversea cruise learning to be Silversea experts. Wouldn’t you rather book your cruise with someone who has been in the cabins and knows the Captain? Thanks to Daniela Harrison of Avenues of the World for this photo.
3. You Are Too Smart to Need a Travel Advisor
You think you will look lame if you let someone else plan your trip. Ah, the vagaries of social media. You want to be that adventurous intelligent traveler who can do it all on their own. Good for you. But I think you are confusing researching what you want to do with planning the intricacies of the trip. I want to see the newest discoveries in Egypt and I want to be sure I get into Nefertari’s tomb. Do I have to book those tickets, cars, and guides online to prove I am a savvy traveler? You are still planning your own trip. But you are letting an expert advise and handle the details. And they are truly experts. They have ‘feet on the ground’ knowledge of a destination. That call center you call when booking direct has no idea of the best café around the corner from your hotel.
Photo of Travel Advisor Laurel Brunvoll, Owner “Unforgettable Trips” leading a group through the Wadi Rum in Jordan. Not only did she vet the location and best timing for the ride, but she also vetted the camels! Not really, but there were no reports of camels spitting–rare on a camel ride.
The Value of Less Anxiety
Finally, to me, there is no substitute for peace of mind. I hate flying. I hate the anxiety about missing connections more. And if you are flying through Europe for a vacation and the flight is not direct, it is highly likely you will miss connections. Sorry, but it is true. I want someone watching my flights and rebooking me before I even get off my delayed flight. Or booking the hotel I need in Frankfurt at the last minute. And yes, my travel advisor has done both for me and my husband many times. They have saved many a trip before it even starts.
Disclosure: Yes, I work with Signature Travel Network and we have over 7000 expert travel advisors worldwide and the finest preferred partners in the travel industry. I did not write this article for my work. I am writing it on my personal channels because I hope to help others enjoy travel as much as I do. End of story.