When it comes to planning a vacation, choosing the right travel agency and advisor can make a big difference in the success of your trip. You want to ensure that you are entrusting your hard-earned time and money to a professional with your best interests at the forefront. Using a travel advisor can be beneficial in several ways. Advisors can provide expertise and personalized recommendations based on their knowledge and experience in the industry. They can also save travelers time and money by finding the best deals and handling all the details of booking and planning a trip. Additionally, travel advisors can offer support and assistance if something goes wrong during the trip.

Travel agencies can vary widely, from small independent agencies to large international firms. It’s important to ask the travel advisor about their agency and their role within it to get a sense of their resources and capabilities.

Here are some additional tips to help you find the best fit for your family:

1.     Ask for recommendations: Reach out to friends, family, and colleagues who have used travel advisors in the past and ask for their recommendations. You can also check online review sites for feedback from other travelers. Be sure to visit the website and any social media sites the advisor lists – see how often they are posting, what their specialties are, additional certifications, if they have an official agency email address, and how long they have been an agent. When researching social media and websites, see if they are posting helpful travel information or just advertising free travel and recruiting additional agents.

2.     Consider their specialties: Some travel agents specialize in certain types of trips, such as cruises, theme parks, adventure travel, or luxury vacations. Make sure the agency you choose has expertise in the type of trip you are planning. Asking about the travel advisor’s own travel experience can also be informative. How often do they travel? Have they been to the destinations they are recommending? For example, if the travel advisor is promoting themselves as a cruise expert, it’s worth asking how many cruises they have been on.

3.     Check their credentials: Look for travel agencies that are accredited by organizations like the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), or the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These credentials indicate that the agency has met certain standards for professionalism and ethics. Inquire as to what additional training courses the advisor may hold – destination training, cruise line training, Disney College of Knowledge, and certifications in Autism-Related Travel are a few examples.

4.     Evaluate their communication skills: Make sure the travel advisor is responsive to your questions and concerns. A good advisor will listen to your needs and provide clear, timely information.  Be sure to take note of any office hours the advisor has listed.

5.     Look for value, not just price: While price is important, it’s not the only factor to consider. It’s also important to ask the travel advisor exactly what is included in their service packages and whether they charge fees for their services.  A good travel agency can help you save money by finding the best deals, but they should also be focused on providing value through their expertise, customer service, and attention to detail. The additional planning services, tips and hints related to your trip, and in-destination assistance are all additional benefits of booking with a travel advisor that you will not get with Expedia or Costco.

6.     Trust your gut: Ultimately, you want to work with a travel agency that you feel comfortable with and that you trust to handle your travel plans. If you get a good feeling from the agency and feel confident in their abilities, that’s a good sign that they are the right fit for your family.

Using a travel advisor saves you time and the hassle of crowdsourcing on social media. Remember, when you ask your friends what they recommend for a trip, they will give you what they did and what worked for them. That does not mean it is the best fit for your family’s goals, budget, and desires for the vacation. While it can be tempting to go with the cheapest option or the best deal, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Working with a professional travel advisor may cost more upfront, but it can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run, and provide you with peace of mind knowing that your trip is in good hands.

Andrea Trelles - Severna Park, MD

Andrea Trelles - Severna Park, MD

Lead Travel Advisor

The world of travel can be overwhelming-from where to go, when to go, and what to do. I’ll be with you every step of the way.  Traveling brings us closer together in ways that other activities cannot. I enjoy crafting magical vacations for you and your family that give memories to last a lifetime.

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