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I have had two recent dealings with Travel Agents (TA) which causes me question whether it is better to use a TA or if I should just handle bookings myself.

First, my DD’s European flight was booked on two separate airlines and when I called the airlines directly, neither had record of her flights. The airline said to go back to the travel agent. Let me check the TA’s hours of business. Nope…closed. Agh!

Second, I was planning a large trip and felt a travel agent could best put it together because there were a lot of variables and scenarios to be dealt with.  So, I trekked my anxiety-ridden self to the travel agent to get this thing done. During our two hour meeting, we finalized many details that would have taken me days.  We met again a few days later for the final two flights. One week later, I was still waiting for an itinerary, receipts, and flight numbers and airports we were flying into and out of. I know, you are probably saying that I should have asked for all that information right then and there. But…remember that anxiety-ridden self? I was just happy to get the reservations made and get out of there.

I suppose there are times to use a TA and times not to.  I haven’t quite figured out when it is best to use a TA.  Here is what I have come up with so far.

Reasons to TA:

Ability to find good airline rates

Make suggestions that I may not have thought of

Can efficiently coordinate a difficult itinerary

Ability to help curb anxiety (huge for me, in this case)

Reasons Not to TA:

TA office hours are limited.

Must go back to TA rather than handling extras on-line

On-line or phone bank available 24 hours a day (usually)

In what circumstance do you use a TA?