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With a few keystrokes, you can find cheap travel deals on the web. But travel agents can do that and more.
Often, travel agents receive deals directly from hotels and tour operators that you may not have access to. They also have contacts with resorts and hotels, so they can bargain for better deals. But just how much do travel agents cost? Some people assume that travel agents are expensive, which may keep them from using their services. However, that's not necessarily true.
How much does a travel agent cost?
The cost of using a travel agent is generally marginal, and often, they won't charge you at all. Much of their money comes from commissions the hotels and wholesalers pay them. Before you decide to book with a travel agent, inquire whether or not they charge fees.
Also, if you’ve booked a trip with a travel agent and for whatever reason need to cancel, they might be able to help get the refund more directly.
» Learn more: How to become a travel agent
Do travel agents get discounts on flights?
Generally not, and especially not for short distances. For the most part, any discount you'd get from using a travel agent would be for a combined package. Still, it never hurts to ask if your travel agent can get you a deal on your flight.
How can a travel agent help me?
If you're traveling internationally — especially to a country you've never visited — a travel agent can be a useful resource in helping you plan your trip. They can manage all of your booking needs, which can be easier than juggling a long itinerary that includes flights, hotels and excursions on your own.
Group travel is another common situation that can benefit from an agent's assistance. Coordinating bookings across multiple parties can get confusing. A travel agent can keep things organized, negotiate with services and personally work out any complications that may arise. Rather than trying to reserve rooms in the same hotels and seats on the same flights with multiple credit cards and names, let a travel agent do that work.
Travel agents can also be helpful by providing destination advice. Many specialize in particular destinations and can offer insight as to how you should structure your visit. Agents can direct you to the services, facilities and entertainment that best align with your interests and needs.
How do I find a good travel agent?
Several websites can help you track down and contact suitable travel agents. TravelSense.org, part of the American Society of Travel Advisors, allows you to search by some useful parameters including specialty and geographic location.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card