Do I need a travel agent

Booking a flight and hotel takes seconds thanks to the Internet. Research shows 143 million travel reservations are made online each year, which accounts for about 57% of all travel reservations.1

Yet, while the idea might seem outdated, 22% of consumers booked a vacation with a travel agent last year, which is the highest reservation rate agents have reached in three years.2 These travelers appreciate travel agents’ expertise and ability to find excellent deals. They also like being able to delegate travel-planning details to a professional.

Engaging a travel agent is a personal decision, although it may also depend on your situation. That is, a travel agent may be particularly helpful for more complicated, lengthier trips or those with multiple family members, but you might not find the expense worthwhile for shorter, simpler journeys.

Consider the travel agent pros and cons below.

Pros of hiring a travel agent

  • Access to special deals: Travel agents work with a lot of different people in the industry and often have access to deals or promotions that you won't find online.
  • Advice: Travel agents have insider knowledge and can give you information you might not otherwise know, such as areas of town to avoid, cultural differences and currency needs.
  • Hassle-free booking: A travel agent books everything for you, so you don't have to worry about the details. Plus, if you need to make changes, you just call your agent and he or she will handle it.

Cons of hiring a travel agent

  • Booking fees: Travel agents charge a booking fee, so you're looking at an additional budget expense when you book through an agent.
  • Time finding an agent: Finding an experienced agent you like requires some research, so you'll want to read reviews online or get a referral from a friend.
  • Time to book: You'll have to set aside time to speak with an agent, whereas booking online gives you the flexibility of buying a ticket at 2 a.m. in your pajamas, if you want.

While more travelers are booking vacations online, using a travel agent can make it easier for you. Weigh each trip and decide if the convenience outweighs the extra time and cost of finding and using an agent.

Whether you book online or with an agent, you should strongly consider travel insurance to protect against covered losses like accidents, illness, canceled flights and lost luggage. See how Nationwide Travel Insurance can keep your trip on track.

[1] "Internet Travel and Hotel Bookings," Statistic Brain (2016).

[2] "ASTA Releases Study on Time and Money Travel Agents Save Consumers," American Society of Travel Agents (June 2, 2016).