Is It Worth Using a Travel Agent (Pros & Cons)

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, travel agents typically work to plan trips. They will work with a client to figure out the type of trip to plan.

Travel agents will spend time researching trip options and booking transportations, lodging, activities, and more. But with the modern convenience of abundant information available online, is using a travel agent worth it?

Travel Agents are worth it for planning your trip and book flights. You will get consistent value back from hiring a travel agent because they offer expert advice on destinations, plan detailed itineraries, and can arrange travel for leisure or corporate trips.

Generally, travel agents will have inside knowledge on where to stay and what to do at any given location. Further, they generally offer discounts and deals on vacation packages.

Is It Cheaper to Book Through a Travel Agent

With all the information readily available online, travelers may be wondering if using a travel agent is worth it. It is worth it to book through travel agents because they have access to exclusive travel deals, they can save you money when planning a trip.

Additionally, most travel agents are now paid by the hotels and vacation packages they promote, so you will likely be able to use their services at little or no cost.

Average Cost of a Travel Agent

Typically, travel agents will only apply fees if a traveler requires a custom-made itinerary.

For most clients who are looking for standard vacations, travel agents do not charge a fee. However, fees may apply if the client only wants to book direct airfare.

In that case, the fee could be anywhere between $25 and $75 depending on the travel agent.

As for a specialized itinerary, the price will depend on the complexity of the trip. While some custom itineraries cost $25, others may cost over $100. 

For example, a custom itinerary that outlines a 20-day tour of Europe may cost more than a 7-day tour of the French countryside.

How Much Money Can You Save

When discussing whether a travel agent can save a traveler money or not, it’s important to take into account any fees that the travel agent requires as well as the cost of the trip. Generally, travel agents do have better rates for vacation packages, but the difference between other trips may not be so significant.

Whether that money is your time or the price of the actual trip, they will, in fact, save you money. Did you know that the average American spends 22.95 hours booking a trip? The time you spend planning will add up quickly, and that time could be spent doing other things.

For an easy way to understand this, we’ve created a table of how much time you will spend planning a trip when compared to the average hourly wage.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person made about $28.09 per hour. So, we have used this amount as well as a lower $20 per hour to calculate the time spent planning without using a travel agent.

Time Spent Planning a Trip$20 per hour$28.95 per hour
4 hours$80$115.80
10 hours$200$289.50
22.95 hours$459$644.66

If the time spent planning doesn’t catch your attention, then other savings you might experience will. While it really depends on the trip, a travel agent will likely have the best deals around. Additionally, travel agents will likely do price matches online that will guarantee that you get the lowest prices on a trip.

Who Should Use a Travel Agent

Most of the benefits of using a travel agent relate to saving money overall on a trip. Even though it is possible to plan an elaborate trip with no assistance, there are numerous perks to using a travel agent.

If You Like Exclusive Deals

One of the main reasons that many people decide to use travel agents for their trip planning is because travel agents often have access to exclusive deals and vacation packages.

Typically, travel agents will work with certain airlines, hotel companies, and cruises in an attempt to sell these vacation packages. While these trips could be bought online, some travel agents may be able to offer the vacation package at a lower cost.

If You Are Traveling in a Big Group

When traveling in a large group, the cost of a vacation can add up quickly. This is especially true for a company or corporate trip. However, travel agents can often assist in planning these large group trips and help you save money on hotels. They will also research to find the best deals on trip packages for meals and activities as well.

If You Don’t Want Trip-Planning Stress

Planning a vacation to a new destination can take time and considerable amounts of effort. But by going through a travel agent, all you have to do is tell the agent where you would like to go and what you would like to do on the trip.

By having one simple conversation with a travel agent, you can hand over all the trip planning and prepare to go on a perfectly planned vacation and a planned out itinerary.

If You Like Simplicity

Travel agents are experts when it comes to vacations. That being said, they will have inside knowledge on the best activities and the best places to stay in any given location. They will likely have contacts that can help them make the most grandiose trip simple.

So instead of doing hours of research on the perfect deep-sea fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico or finding a tour to visit the location of where the Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, a travel agent can do all of the planning and hand you a booked itinerary.

If You Like Free Service

While some travel agents may still charge fees, most travel agents are paid by the hotels, cruises, and vacation packages that they promote.

Because of this, the likelihood that you will have to pay a fee to have your trip planned is low. However, you should always research a travel agency to make sure that fees do not apply.

If You Want Help Being Prepared

One aspect of travel that many people do not always consider is the travel requirements for the places they plan on visiting. These requirements can:

  • Vaccinations Requirements
  • Visas Requirements: Whether or not you will need travel visas
  • Outfit Suggestions: Any recommend clothing for specific countries
  • Cultural Advice: They can discuss cultural considerations on the countries that you plan on visiting
  • Travel Insurance Recommendations: A travel agent will have inside knowledge of travel insurance and can advise you on whether or not paying this extra fee would be worth it.

If You Want Information on Uncommon Locations

Not everyone wants to travel to Florida or Paris, and travel agents are the best resources for planning more obscure trips. So if you want to visit the Great Pyramids in Egypt or want to explore the remote islands in the Philippines, travel agents can help you.

If You Want Assistance Just In Case

Lastly, travel agents can provide immediate assistance should you encounter any canceled flights or hotel issues on your trip. The travel agent is a simple call away, and you can contact them should anything go wrong.

Moreover, the travel agent will work to have the problem solved immediately, and you will likely be first in line for changes as compared to those who do not have a travel agent.

This is because travel agents do not have to wait on hold or in long lines; they can contact airlines or hotels immediately and have all problems fixed in no time.

Who Should Not Use Travel Agents

Although using a travel agent has many perks, it may not be for every traveler.

If You Like Using Mileage Points

Those who like to use miles and points from credit cards may not be the best candidates for using a travel agent. Oftentimes, travel agents will not use points or miles in your trip, so you may need to use them elsewhere.

Yet, some travel agents may be able to make use of your points. Ask your travel agents if using miles and points is an option.

If You Don’t Want to Pay

Using a travel agent will typically cost a fee. Like all services, travel agents require a fee for creating a trip itinerary.

These fees are generally anywhere between $25 and $200 and may be determined by the travel agent used as well as the complexity of the trip.

So if you are not interested in paying a fee, it may be best to plan a trip without the use of a travel agent.

If You Are Unsure about the Trip

Sometimes, a travel agent will require a planning deposit before they start planning your trip. While the cost of this deposit varies, it will either be returned to you after you book your trip, or it could be applied directly to the trip’s cost.

The reason that travel agents have this deposit is to make sure you are serious about using their services. So if you are only thinking about booking a vacation but are unsure about going through with it, don’t use a travel agent.

If You Want Flexibility

Finally, if a traveler prefers to leave parts of a trip unplanned, then a travel agent may not be the best option.

This is especially true for those who prefer to book a flight but leave flexibility for further traveling instead of being to a given location at any time. Generally, this comes down to a travelers preferences.

Best Usage of a Travel Agent

Planning a trip is not the easiest task, especially for anyone who is busy with work or any other aspect of life. That being said, there are several scenarios when using a travel agent can prove to be the best option.

Firstly, as indicated above, you should rely on a savvy travel agent when you are short on time. Whether it is a last-minute vacation or there simply isn’t enough time in your schedule, using a travel agent can be a huge time saver because they will do all the research, planning, and booking.

Additionally, a travel agent can be useful if you are looking for a specific or complex trip, such as an African Safari or wine tasting in France.

Travel agents are often knowledgeable about the most popular locations and the most highly rated attractions, so they can help to plan the trips that require much more planning.

Using a travel agent is likely to save money. Travel agents generally have access to better rates that are not available to the public, so they can be a great resource for saving money on an expensive trip.

How to Find a Good Travel Agent

With so many options online, it can be difficult to find the right travel agent. While some travel agents have the goal of selling you on more expensive trips, others truly want to plan your dream vacation and will do everything in their power to make sure your trip is perfect.

When looking for a travel agent, it’s important to first look at reviews online. Reading reviews and understanding how a certain travel agent helped to make other travelers’ experiences better will ensure that you have chosen a quality travel agent.

Or even better, if you know someone who had a good experience with a travel agent, it may be worth checking out that travel agent.

Additionally, it’s in the traveler’s best interest to shop around for the best rates. As mentioned above, using a travel agent doesn’t always cost money because certain airlines, hotels, and cruise lines may cover the fees.

Yet, you should always look for the best rates to make sure you are getting the most for your money.

Verdict (Yes, They are Worth it)

While it might be overkill to use a travel agent for a simple trip, it may be beneficial to use a travel agent for more complex trips or vacations to new locations.

Travel agents do have priceless advice when it comes to what to do in any given location, and they often have plenty of experience choosing quality locations to make sure your vacations go as smoothly as possible.

Many travel gents do not charge a fee. Even if they do, it can be worth it to use a travel agent. With your entire trip planned from start to finish, all you have to do is pack your luggage and make it to the airport to start your trip.