Should you use a travel agent? Many people have asked us this question and I’d say the answer is amost always: yes! Read on to hear some top reasons why the answer is yes.
For Disney Vacations
The first Disney Vacation I planned as an adult was OVERWHELMING for me! So much had changed since the last time I had gone when I was around 18 years old with my parents. When I was a child, we went just about every year and I knew a lot about Disney Parks. Back then, you walked up and got paper fast passes when they started offering them and it was pretty easy to eat wherever you wanted to. Fast forward 10 years and there was SO much about Fast Passes, Dining Reservations, strollers and planning that I just didn’t know. I didn’t remember much about the resorts or even the layouts of the parks. Additionally, when we were on vacation, we had a problem arise with our reservation and we ended up losing a half day of park time trying to resolve it by being on the phone and having to return to our resort. I learned a lot on that trip and one of the most valuable lessons was that you should almost always use a travel agent who will help you walk through all of those things.
Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent:
1. It’s free for you. You do not pay any extra money at all (True 100% of the time for Disney, other vacations it’s also true most of the time). Not sure I need to go on after that, but I will!
2. You may actually even get some financial benefit. You may get a free credit or gift card for using the Travel Agent.
3. You get access to many additional tips, resources and personalized planning. For example, they will make suggestions such as which resorts might be best for your family and they can schedule dining reservations for you. A good Travel Agent will send you tips based on your family needs (ex. links to Disability Access, Stroller Rentals and more).
4. They will check to make sure you have the best price and deal available. If after you book with Disney, for example, free dining specials become available they will notify you and help you switch to a package that may be better for you or give you added benefits.
5. And probably the most valuable reason: you will be able to talk to someone (your Travel Agent) quickly if you come across an issue. There’s nothing worse than having an issue and then having to stay on hold for an hour while you should be riding the Tea Cups with your 3-year-old (even if it is the 5th time in a row!). Your time, especially family time, is invaluable. And a travel agent will help your trip go smoothly and keep your family time exactly that – fun family time together.
Are there any reasons not to use a Travel Agent when booking for Disney? Well, there may be one. If you call into Disney to try to change something with your resort stay, they may direct you to your Travel Agent instead. If this would bother you for any reason, then perhaps that would be a reason. But you can still alter your own Fast Pass and Dining Reservations, using the My Disney Experience App and more. So in my opinion, even an experienced traveler would still benefit from the use of a Travel Agent because you still have control to plan what you want and then get all the other added benefits as well.
For Other Vacations
I would still say yes, most of the time. But there may be some additional considerations.
For cruises? For example, booking a cruise you may get onboard credit and no extra fees to book with an agent. If you’ve never cruised or are not an experienced cruiser, a Travel Agent’s tips and information may be invaluable. If you’ve been on many cruises, it may make sense to book it yourself.
For all inclusive resorts? Many all-inclusive resorts work with Travel Agents the same way. You may be able to get specials or get some extra advice and tips on the locations from your agent all for free. I personally would much prefer to speak directly with someone who knows a great deal about a location when trying to make decisions about my vacations.
For International trips? If you’ve never traveled Internationally before and are going with a young child, I would say having a Travel Agent or Guided Tour would make the most sense. Traveling Internationally can bring so much joy and also can be fret with moments of frustration. Unlike Disney vacations where Cast Members provide likely the best customer service you’ll ever receive in your life, traveling Internationally can be amazing and yet also confusing and things can change very quickly. I have traveled in Europe regularly. Several times I have been in the countryside of Italy and southern Germany and trains just didn’t show up any time near the schedule and the explanation was that they just didn’t that day and you may be told this in a language you do not understand. When traveling with a baby or young child, flexibility is key but so is being comfortable in your environment. If sudden changes in plans would cause you to be uncomfortable, you may wish to look into a guided trip or something more likely to go very smoothly like a Disney World vacation.
My final thought: If you aren’t sure whether you will use a Travel Agent or not, request a free, no obligation quote! There’s no harm in getting more information from a Travel Agent and you may be pleasantly surprised how much you enjoy your interactions with them immediately.
Hope this helps make your vacation magical!