A Whole-Trip Concierge, at Your Service
Yes, advisers can book your accommodations and arrange airport transfers, but they can also manage every aspect of your trip including handpicking guides who match your interests, making restaurant reservations, securing theater tickets and booking skip-the-line entrance tickets to museums. “Basically, you adviser can be a substitute for a hotel concierge,” Mr. Karp said. Some advisers charge a fee for this service that ranges from $50 to a few hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of your requests, but, unlike a hotel concierge, they don’t expect a gratuity for their services.
Let Them Get to Know You, and They’ll Personalize Your Trip
The better your travel agent knows you, the more he or she will be able to customize your trips to your tastes. If you’re a vegan traveling in Italy, for example, an agent may be able to arrange a vegan pizza making class, or at least offer dining options where you’ll feel welcome and have tons to choose from.
Having a sense of who you are can also mean surprises on your getaways. Mr. Karp’s agency, for one, often arranges personalized welcome amenities for its clients: “One of our travelers is a big college basketball fan, so we had custom sneakers with his alma mater’s logo designed and left them waiting for him in his room,” he said.
They Can Even Handle Long-Term Travel Planning
If you have any destinations you really want to visit, an agent can help prioritize where you should travel and when, and help you get off the couch and visit those bucket list locales. Some trips may make more sense at certain times in your life: if you’re keen on gorilla trekking in Rwanda, for example, and want your children to go with you, it’s best to wait to until they are 16, the minimum age allowed. Similarly, if you have a set travel budget for the year, your agent can help determine how best to use that budget to get the most for your money.
They Can Help Even When You’re Not on Vacation
Your agent can come in handy even when you’re not traveling, Mr. Karp said. For a loyal client, he or she can make last-minute restaurant reservations, get tickets to sold-out concerts or even book a boardroom for business meetings.