Hello there, fellow young, adventurous travelers. I know you. You probably stumbled onto this post in the midst of reading hundreds of reviews and blog posts in anticipation of your next trip to Peru, or Thailand, or Mexico. You’re planning on booking and organizing the whole thing on your own because, well, it didn’t occur you that there may be another way. Yep, I’ve been there, and I’m here to lead you to the light.
As a 20-something, I am of a generation that has had the internet at their fingertips for every trip I have ever planned, and there have been many. From quick trips up to Maine to three-week long expeditions to Spain and Morocco, I’ve relied on reviews from Trip Advisor, hotels.com, and (who are we kidding, I am still a 20 something) hostelworld.com. If I hadn’t had the good fortune of pursuing a career in travel right to Elevate Destinations’ cyber door, I would probably still be blindly encouraging everyone else to do the same. I understand, I do. The vast majority of you probably don’t know what a travel agent is, or if you do, you either assume that they went extinct right around the time we graduated from car phones, or that they still exist but only in small pockets of octogenarians. Worst of all, you might think travel agents are for naïve sissies who don’t know how to flex their internet muscles – certainly not you.
Here’s the deal, travel agents receive better rates than the general public, sometimes astronomically so. They also have access to unique tiny lodges and hotels that you will never find on the major booking sites. They make money by charging you a fee somewhere in between their discounted rate and the general public rate, often this is wrapped up into one simple quote. This is a huge win for you! You end up with the same, if not better product, with the added value of having someone who knows a lot more about travel taking care of all of the logistics, giving you advice, and making all of the bookings. Perhaps most importantly, if something goes wrong while you’re traveling, you have someone you can call for help instead of being SOL in Timbuktu.
If you’re thinking you have to have a huge budget to use a travel agent, that’s also not true. Different companies have different specialties; there are agencies that only go to Ireland, some that only do cruises, some that only work with celebrities, or a select few like my company that specialize in luxury eco travel.
You’re young, you’re busy, you have more exciting things you could be doing. So stop reading this, Facebook, Reddit, and Trip Advisor, and go call or email an agent (some will even let you text them!). Tell him or her what you want, then go outside, enjoy the spring weather, and let someone else worry about how you’re going to get from Salta to Patagonia in 48 hours.
And remember my friends, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.