Remember travel agents? They are no longer just those storefronts advertising cruises and packaged trips you used to see in shopping malls. Today’s travel agents are advisors that can help you design a custom vacation. And in these uncertain times, using one is more important than ever. This week Kim and Tamara talk with Christina from Showcase the World about why to use a travel agent and if there are any drawbacks.
ON THE PODCAST
00:30 – Sponsor – Comrad Socks
01:40 – Talking with Kim and Tamara about staying at home
06:03 – Thoughts of travel in the future
10:45 – Talking with Christina
13:50 – Agent fees
17:24 – On your own vs. with an agent
29:50 – Services agent provide for Disney
33:12 – Itinerary planning
36:30 – Finding the right agent
46:46 – Christina’s Favorite Travel Gear
48:25 – Coming up
ABOUT OUR SPONSOR
This episode is sponsored by Comrad Socks. Comrad compression socks are an essential no serious traveler should board a flight without — at least on LA-NY or transoceanic segments — and makes a major difference in how your legs and feet feel during the flight, upon arrival, and the next day. Their aim is to make the best, most stylish, comfortable version of what’s traditionally been a boring but useful product—and that’s why travel customers that already know and wear compression are getting excited about. Receive 20% off your first using discount code VACATIONMAVENS.
ABOUT CHRISTINA VIEIRA
Christina Vieira is the owner of Showcase the World, a travel agency specializing in family travel destinations such as Walt Disney World, Europe and the Caribbean. She has been in the travel industry for 5 years and loves helping other busy moms plan the perfect vacation so they can spend less time worrying about all the little details and more time enjoying time together with their family. She loves spending time with her family which includes her 15 month old daughter, Annabelle at her home just North of Boston.
PROS AND CONS OF USING A TRAVEL AGENT
- If a travel agent works off of commission that means that there is usually no extra cost for you to pay. This is built into the price either for the tour operator or the hotel to keep as a profit or for them to pay the travel agent with it. Airlines however do not pay agents, so you may get charged a planning/booking fee for flights.
- Due to the time involved in planning detailed trips, some agencies do charge an additional planning fee.
- Keep in that agent fees are not put in place to gouge you with cost. They are there to compensate the agent for the time spent on their end.
- Using a travel agent does not mean that you are giving up control of your trip. You can find an agent that will work with you and have as little or as much say as you want.
- Some trips you might want to use an agent for:
- Disney World may be an option for using an agent. Even if you have been multiple times you see that most families do the same thing over and over just because they do not know what else is out there to do. Having an agent for this can help spread out your days giving you more options of things you never thought you could do.
- If you are new to Disney, having an agent will help you maximize your time and get things organized with dining reservations and such so you can just focus on enjoying your vacation.
- Multi generational trips can also be easier with an agent. They will be able to help you balance different ages and activity choices for all or just some of the group.
- If you are planning a large/long trip, having an agent to help you get everything set and decided on can help make the trip more relaxing and less stressful.
- Should anything go wrong, you know that you have someone on your side to help you get things fixed.
- If you like to earn loyalty points and miles, planning through an agent will not affect this. You will still be able to earn points/rewards. However, if you are planning to use points, most agents won’t be able to help you as they wouldn’t get a commission on those bookings.
- If you have a really busy life, using an agent can really save you time on your research and booking, even just having to call around and find out more information about amenities or dates.
- Using a travel agent is especially important if you unfortunately have to cancel your trip. Your agent is the one that will be making phone calls and getting updates for you.
- Make sure that you talk to your agent to find out exactly what services they offer.
- In terms of Disney, some agents will just give you recommendations for restaurants and FastPass plans but not book them for you, while others will give you the options and then book them all for you.
- Discuss the type of itinerary you enjoy. Do you like to be always on the go or have more flexibility and downtime? Do you want structured/booked activities or just recommendations on things to do?
- If you think you would like to use an agent for your next trip, make sure that you find the right one for you. This is important in helping your planning experience go smoothly. Picking an agent that has a different planning style than you like may cause you some frustration.
- If you think that you would like to travel with them you will most likely like to plan a trip with that person.
- You want an agent that asks about you and what your interests are, rather than just the dates you want to go and your budget.
- Be very upfront about your budget to minimize frustration during the planning process. Also think about what you prioritize more (activities versus hotel, location versus amenities, etc.)
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Christina loves her Skechers GOwalks but also likes her Yosi Samra flats for when she wants something a little bit dressier. She loves to fly in her Athleta trousers that are really comfortable and are a little more stylish than a pair of leggings, plus they have pockets!
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
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