Travel agents are dead, right? Nope.
As Kara and I found out on our recent trip to Hawaii, booking through a travel agent can be a truly wonderful thing. With TripAdvisor and Foursquare at our fingertips, Kara and I had never considered using a travel agent until my mother suggested we use a family friend to book our trip to Hawaii.
Our friend, LuAnn Rockett of Rockett Getaways, had been to Hawaii multiple times and my mom assured me that she would be able to provide valuable guidance and save us money on our trip. She was right. Having a human being to bounce things off of while planning our trip was incredibly valuable. And when it came time to book everything, we did not have to worry about going through the tedious process of making reservations and keeping track of confirmations. But the real value of using a travel agent was found once we got to the islands.
Thanks to the government shutdown, all National Parks in Hawaii were closed for our entire two-week trip. This basically blew our plans up for four days. With LuAnn on speed dial, we were able to quickly explore options of altering our trip (which we ended up not doing). Within minutes after our call to LuAnn, she was able to give us suggested alternate itineraries, pricing, etc.: information that would have taken us hours to compile while we could have been lying out on the beach.
Lastly, I was shocked to find out how much money we saved by booking through our travel agent. Not only did we get great deals on flights, but LuAnn was also able to upgrade us to Fairmont Gold, which as my CPA wife calculated, saved us about $150 per day in free breakfast, valet parking, snacks, bottled water, etc.
I know the concept of using a travel agent is foreign to most people these days. It was to me until recently. But I will certainly use LuAnn again, and I would highly recommend a travel agent to my friends. If you are planning a big trip, be sure to give her a shout!Jordan Raynor, Client