When to Book Travel Tickets Offline

Looking for travel deals online can be handy, but some trips are better booked through an agent?

Credit: bowbrick

Sometimes it’s best to book through a travel agent

It will come as a shock to no one that Internet use has exploded in recent years.

But it may surprise you to learn that a recent Forrester Research study suggests that fewer people are booking vacations online these days. Even with all the deals to be found in cyberspace, it seems online booking isn’t ideal for every situation.

Of course, booking online definitely has its merits if you’re looking for cheap flights or simple, short-term vacations. But despite what many people think, the best deals aren’t always lurking on the Internet. And the fact of the matter is, there are some vacations that really should never be booked online. After going through some rough Internet booking experiences, it looks as if some travellers are starting to revert to dealing with travel agents.

When to Make Travel Plans in Person

A great example of this is when it comes to cruising holidays. It’s a good idea to book through an agent for two important reasons.

  1. Cruise lines give travel agencies access to special deals that you probably won’t find anywhere else.
  2. It can get complicated organizing your own trip. Remember, you’re not just booking the cruise itself, but there are many other components involved. For example, you’ll need to book airline tickets and hotel rooms, along with shore excursions and plenty of different options on the ship.

When you’re booking trips online, there are times when you will actually incur more expenses, such as for certain international destinations. If you’re going to a foreign country whose name you can barely pronounce, it’s probably best to stay off the computer and seek advice from an expert.

This also holds true when you’re planning an exotic holiday like an African safari or a jungle tour through Costa Rica. Your travel agent won’t 
just help with all the logistics, but if you’re considering a type of trip you’ve never taken before, an agent can help make sure the choice is right for you before you plow ahead and spend thousands on a holiday you won’t 
even enjoy.

And finally, probably the most important vacation on the list for 
many people is their honeymoon. 
For a once-in-a-lifetime trip like this, why would you subject yourself to any risk? For most brides and grooms, wedding “to-do” lists are often much too long to begin with anyway. So, leave this one up to your travel agent. Not only will it take away unnecessary stress, but an agent is the only one who can make sure your special vacation will be everything you hoped it would be.

Your laptop is always a good research tool, but it never hurts to defer to the experts in some vacation situations.

Why Use a 
Travel Agent?

  • Security of talking to a live person at a physical business
  • Travel knowledge and destination expertise
  • Advice from experience in the industry and past customers
  • Work on your behalf looking for lowest price and value
  • Offer a range of services (flight, rental car, attractions) in one location
  • Offer updates and help while you’re at your destination
  • Protection from airline bankruptcies through Travel Assurance Fund.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.