#travel agents online
Booking Vacations Through an Agent vs. Online Booking
When planning a trip, you must choose wheither to hire an agent or book your tickets on your own. (Photo: travel image by Anton Gvozdikov from Fotolia.com )
In the past, planning a vacation meant calling a travel agent to book your tickets, hotel and activities. In the Internet age, it has become a common practice for travelers to book vacations themselves, as secondary websites tout their affordability. In response, travel agencies stress the service travel agents offer. According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the average service fee for booking airline tickets in 2009 was around $20, while the fee for booking a cruise was $50. Yet, the ASTA says many consumers willingly pay for the convenience of not planning a trip on their own. Which method is better for you may be a situation-based judgment call.
In addition to booking your tickets for all aspects of your trip–travel, hotel, meals and excursions–a travel agent is supposed to find the best deals and serve as your advocate if anything goes wrong. Online booking will show you the prices of tickets at the moment, but prices may change daily. Some, but not all, travel websites allow you to create a package by booking hotel, airfare, excursions and car rental together.