Travel Agents, Really? Is My $10K Vacation Just Peanuts to You Now

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Here’s a surprising twist in a travel tale: a woman planning to spend about $10,000 on a dream trip to Italy has hit an unexpected roadblock. Sharing her story on a popular online travel forum, she’s been met with a baffling silence from the four travel agents she’s approached for help. Is a $10,000 trip no longer worth their time?

What’s It Take To Get Their Attention?

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She believes that travel agents would make a 5-10% commission and still earn about $500-1000 for a few phone calls or web bookings, which she imagines would be worth their time. However, she keeps getting blown off by most travel agents she contacts.

One agent even responded with quotes for flights and hotels that were much more expensive than what she found on the web, which leads her to the question: what is going on with travel agents these days?

1. Some Agents Specialize in Luxury Travel & Others Specialize in Budget Travel

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This answer from another budget travel agent was illuminating. “Some agents specialize in luxury, and others are more comfortable with leisure travel of more moderate budgets.” This could explain why many agents seemed disinterested in taking on this potential client.

Another travel agent in the industry as a side hustle explains that agents who do this work full-time tend to take on luxury travel clients to make a living exclusively and are highly selective.

Lower-cost travel bookings aren’t worth their time. PSA to anyone looking for a travel agent: ask them if they only take on luxury travel clients or are open to lower-cost trips. (Not that $10k is chump change to most people.)

2. Travel Agents No Longer Have Access to the Most Exclusive Deals

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One explorer characterizes modern-day travel agents as anachronistic, insisting they no longer have access to “exclusive” deals if they ever did, thanks to advanced internet search engines and other free online resources.

“Properties now give the best price to the online portals, their own and the big conglomerates like Bookings, Agoda, Hostelworld, etc., and flights are always best booked directly with the airline of choice.” That’s good to know!

3. Just Do the Research Yourself

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A fellow seasoned traveler responds with what we’re all thinking, “Who needs travel agents? You have access to the Internet. Plan your own trip and save a lot of money.” Another gallivanter echoes the same sentiment, affirming that if this person could find better deals within 5 minutes of amateur Googling on their own, they should do that.

“You’ve clearly already figured out why agents won’t take your trip,” they added. I find it odd that no travel agents would take on her trip if finding good deals to these Italian destinations is so simple.

Then again, there may be a high risk associated with this field because agents can spend all day researching and concocting itineraries only for the client to back out of booking the trip.

4. Most Don’t Understand How Much Work Travel Agents Do

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This wayfarer suggests the potential client could be underestimating how much work goes into the duties of a travel agent. People mistakenly believe all travel agents do a few simple Google searches. If that were the case, their job would be obsolete. In reality, they devote hours of their time to creating a tailor-made itinerary that perfectly suits your tastes and preferences.

They work out any little kink in your itinerary that doesn’t align with your preferences or meet your satisfaction. It can often mean continuous rearrangement of flights, lodging, and tours that require them to start from square one all over again. You pay a travel agent for their time and convenience.

5. Try Costco Travel

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According to a tourist who regularly books through Costco Travel, Costco offers great packages to Europe that may be worth looking into. They claim they will arrange transfers, hotels, and flights, all included in one price. All that’s required of you is to enter the dates of your trip and your destination. Their site will offer you price comparisons for different options.

7. Travel Agents Are Indispensable for Lodging & Activities

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This jet setter wonders where this person finds these travel agents, as they find them indispensable for booking lodging and other travel activities. They insist once you experience arriving at your accommodation with all your preferences met and selections already taken care of. You’ll never go back. They also suggest looking for a local Virtuoso agent.

8. ChatGPT Will Plan Your Entire Itinerary For You

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An alternative to self-Googling and hiring an agent would be to use ChatGPT, which is what one globetrotter has started doing to [plan their trips. It’ll give you a 10-day itinerary packed with suggestions of where to eat, stay, and what to do.

It’s not perfect, but it can help you get the ball rolling and save you so much time and effort figuring out where to go and what to do. The best part is ChatGPT continually improves your itinerary as it considers all of your feedback so you can improve the results.

9. Try Location Unknown Travel

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There’s a service called Location Unknown Travel, which gives 50% of its commission to non-profit organizations. They also offer payment plans and specialize in affordable travel, so they shouldn’t turn you away for not spending enough. This person recommends them because they provide no obligation quotes.

10. Only Businesses and Wealthy People Use Travel Agents Anymore

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This explorer claims travel agents are becoming an antiquated practice relegated only to businesses and the wealthy. Otherwise, they’re not worth your time or money. Travel agents are becoming less relevant nowadays, as people can easily book their trips online through various websites.

Plus, if you show up in Italy with a botched itinerary because of something your agent messed up, you can’t even quickly fix it. Instead, you’ll have to go through a middle-man (your agent), and because of the time difference, you could be stuck waiting for 6 hours before they contact you.

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Source: This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.

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Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.