The question of whether or not to use a travel agency is ultimately up to you, but there are some very compelling reasons to do so. Booking a trip with a travel agent can save you time and money. There are many travel agencies available to help you plan and book your next trip.
When selecting a travel agency, it helps to ask friends and family who they use. If they have had good results and a pleasant experience working with a particular travel agency, there is a good chance that you will too. You can also check the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), a professional affiliation of travel agencies, to find registered agencies in your area. It is important that you have a good relationship with your travel agent and that you feel comfortable working with them.
Many people resist using a travel agency because they feel they can find better deals on the Internet without having to pay a fee. Though this may be true in some instances, often a travel agent will be able to find exactly what you are looking for at a good price. Some travel agencies do not charge fees and simply make their income from commissions received from hotels, airlines, cruise lines, etc., while some will charge a nominal fee. Most travel agencies will charge a fee for booking airline tickets, though a travel agent might be able to get you better seats or another special deal that you may not be able to find on your own.
The benefits to using a travel agency are that you can tell your travel agent exactly what you want, including the type of hotels, activities, and any special needs you have, and the travel agent can take care of everything. If you are busy working and caring for a family, you may not have time to research vacations and select the best one, whereas a travel agent can do the planning for you.
Another benefit to using a travel agent is that you have a point of contact if you have a problem at any time during your vacation. For example, if you are unhappy at the hotel or with a rental car, you can contact your travel agent who can then contact the business for you. Most businesses are more likely to listen to travel agencies than an individual complaint, because they do not want to lose the relationship and repeated business that a travel agency provides.
If you still feel like you can get a better deal yourself, there is nothing stopping you from checking around online. There are some great last-minute deals that a travel agent may not be able to get for you. However, if you are short on time and want to make planning a vacation a stress-free experience, using a travel agent might be a good option.