Like everyone, I was taking time to see what was happening on Facebook. I belong to a group that was talking about traveling by themselves. Having traveled mostly by myself I have been fascinated by the conversation. My take away from the time that I was on the site was the amount of advice on not using a travel agent. In one thread of over 50 responses, only 2 advised contacting a travel agent and I was one of the two.
I am thinking that people truly do not know what we do and how we can assist YOU when you are traveling.
1st We are your advocate. What does the mean to you? Should you have any issues while traveling we are here to assist. Can we always help you? Unfortunately No. But we can put on our thinking caps and possibly come up with solutions that you may not have thought of.
Would you like an example? I had a family that traveled to Kauai in June. The return flight back to Los Angeles was delayed getting into Kauai which impacted their return flight. I monitored the flight once it canceled, I rebooked my passengers on a different airline. They were delayed but made it back.
Another traveler that we recently met with had the same scenario however he booked through a membership store. As he stated "I booked it through ...... Travel". Unfortunately, the membership store is not a travel agency and did not look out for him. Because his flight was canceled he ended up out approximately $1000.00 with the hotel, car rental, food and lost wages. The airline gave him $800 in vouchers for future travel. Which he states he will never fly them again and the membership store nothing.
2nd Insurance. Yes, I know when you book it directly or online it does offer insurance. Have you read it? Do you take it? Do you have to take the insurance on each item purchased? What does the insurance cover?
Travel agents are not insurance salespeople but we can give you options that will answer these questions. In the case of the membership traveler. He opted not to take insurance. Why, because he was going on his trip. However, if he had taken it some of the lost funds would have been recovered.
Another example that I have come across in the last few years. A traveler stubbed his toe going to the pool in Jamaica. He had to be rushed to the hospital across the island by ambulance. Before they would assist they wanted $5000.00 up front. Luckily they had insurance.
Here is one more for you. Someone that we know went home to another country for his fathers funeral. While there he passed away. His wife and children were here stateside. Travel insurance will assist with this also.
3rd Do we know everything? I for one do not! But I will find the answer for you so that you can make decisions that are right for your travel. Like, everyone, we network and share our information so that you the travelers have the best experience. Does this mean all agents are the same? Again, no. Just like not all airlines, hotels, cars or even restaurants are not the same. Neither are travel agents. Find one that works well with you.
Remember, that when you travel just because you paid someone does not mean that they will be there in the end.
Lauren and Kim Medelberg's life in travel. We will talk about our trips, thoughts, and experiences in the travel world.