AAA Travel vs. Booking Online | AAA Central Penn (2022)

AAA Travel vs. Booking Online | AAA Central Penn (1)

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One of the incredible benefits of the internet is the access it gives us to numerous websites where we can plan and book the vacation we want. But just because we can do something doesn't mean we know how to do it better than the professionals. Planning for travel requires expertise, which is why it's often more beneficial to book with a travel agent, rather than on your own online. So, what are the benefits of booking with a travel agent? We're glad you asked.

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Pros and Cons of Using a Travel Agent

There are undoubtedly benefits to booking your vacation online yourself, includingconvenience and cost savings.But what if we told you that you couldsave evenmore in the long run byrelying ona travel agent? When it comes to using a travel agent vs. booking online, you may be surprised to learn travel agents have broader access to deals and discounts than you can find if you did DIY vacation planning.

Check out the video below and learn more about the experience, expertise and team working to make your trip memorable when you choose AAA.

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Here are some other advantages of booking with a travel agent instead of online.

  • Save time:Research shows that people who book trips themselves using online booking sites tend to spendupwards of 30 hoursresearching before making a reservation. They also tend to spread this time over several weeks, often making the time spent looking into their vacation much longer than thegetawayitself. That cuts into the free time you should spend relaxing instead of staring at a computer. Travel agents don't need to invest that much time on research, since finding deals and planning vacations is their job and they're pros at it. Whereas the average person takes weeks to arrange everything, a travel agent can do it in days or even hours, leaving you with only the job of enjoying the vacation.
  • Get deals:It's not difficult to compare prices on flights or hotels, and you may even score an excellent discount on a vacation package via an online booking site. But no matter how great the deal you find yourself is, a travel agent will likely be able to find you something better — mostly because travel agents get access to uniquebargainsthat aren't available to the public. They can evenfindyou discounts on tourist sites and other vacation activities.
  • Save money:Contrary to popular belief, using a travel agent doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to pay more for your vacation. Instead, you may find yourself spending less overall, since travel agents won't surprise you with hidden costs and will also provide insurance and advocacy to help you get your money backifyou need to cancel your trip. On top of that, thanks to their insider knowledge and connections, travel agents can find you better deals on airfare,saving you hundreds of dollars, which means the most cost-effective options and short or no layovers.Plus, if there's an emergency that forces you to cancel or postpone your trip, your travel agent can help you reschedule without charging you extra.
  • Low stress:Ensuring all your documents are up to date is one stressful part of travel that you can leave to a professional travel agent to handle. They'll alert you if you need to update your documentation — including if you need a visa for your destination — and will let you know of any religious or cultural regulations for your destination, which you may not find listed on online booking sites.
  • Expert knowledge:Aside from being professionals, travel agents are also often avid travelers themselves, so they can offer firsthand advice about your destination — such aspersonal recommendations for dining and shopping —and they might be able to set you up with connections in various cities, such as local tour guides. If you're planning a trip to a new city, you can forgo all the extensive research regarding the safest areas to visit, the best sites to see and even how long to stay to get the full experience because your travel agent will be able to answer all that and more for you in one go.

Still wondering, "Should I use a travel agent, or book it myself?"The primary reason to book online is if you're planning a short trip, especially to a place you've visited many times before, or if you're keen on experiencing a student backpacker's way of traveling. Alternately, if you have the time and energy and even enjoy the nitty-gritty of planning a big vacation, by all means, do it yourself. However, remember travel agents will have insider access to discounts and information that you, as an average person, will not, so it may still be smart to communicate with an agent and take advantage of their years of experience.

AAA Travel vs. Booking Online | AAA Central Penn (3)

Benefits of AAA Travel Agents

While there are inherent benefits of travel agents, not all travel agencies are the same. For instance, many people don't know that AAA offers travel benefits for everyone and additional perks for AAA members.AAA travel agentshave their finger on the pulse of the industry and provide professional experience, as well as unique benefits that are only available to AAA members.

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  • Passport photos:Did you know both members and nonmembers can get passport photos at local AAA offices? You can also pick up application forms there, making the passport renewal or application process a little less hectic for you.
  • Discount hotels:When searching for deals on hotel stays, you can enter your AAA member number to score discounts that won't be visible to nonmembers.
  • Airfare costs:Similarly, booking your flight with AAA travel agents allows you to save on paying to use third-party sites, while also taking advantage of discounts and upgrades not available to the public.
  • Vacation planning:The most significant perk of becoming a AAA member is getting access to professional travel agents who can take the stress out of planning a vacation, especially for large groups and families. Avoid sifting through hundreds of sites trying to find the best deal and let a pro do it for you in a fraction of the time — andprovidebetter discounts than you'd find on your own. Plus, members get access toexclusive maps and guidebooksfor a range of destinations to help you get the most out of your vacation.
  • Travel emergencies:One of the most significant benefits of travel agents, in general, is the fact that they'll advocate for you in the event of an emergency. Whether it's a flight cancellation, a natural disaster at your destination or a family emergency that forces you to cut your trip short, your travel agent will be able to support you throughout. They'll help guide you through the details to ensure you don't lose thousands of dollars over circumstances beyond your control.
  • No cost:The expertise and services of AAA travel agents are free for AAA members. So, there's no additional cost to take advantage of travel agents and the host of benefits and perks they can provide you, making it the wiser choice to book with a travel agent than by yourself.

On top of all that, AAA members continue to have access to AAA's signature roadside assistance, plus discounts on rental cars and admission to various theme parks.

Book Your Next Vacation With AAA Travel

Spend less time planning your vacation and more time looking forward to it by taking advantage of AAA travel agents and the benefits of being a AAA member. Whether you're planning a family vacation to Disneyland or a weekend getaway, AAA Travel is available to help take the stress out of vacation planning, so you can truly enjoy yourtrip. Plus, with your existing AAA membership benefits, you'll have peace of mind no matter where you are.

Browse ourvacation packagesor talk to a travel agent tostart planning your holidaytoday.

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FAQs

Is it better to book online or book through travel agent? ›

Why use a travel agent instead of booking online? Simply put, you'll have a better trip, without the stress of planning your trip alone. A travel agent can accommodate your interests, budget and time frame with their wealth of knowledge and expertise to make sure that you get the most out of your trip.

Is an example of online travel agency? ›

Examples of online travel agencies include Expedia, Booking.com, and Agoda.

Does it cost more to book through a travel agent? ›

It's more expensive to book flights with a travel agent than to book online from home. That's because travel agents typically charge for their services, even booking a flight on your behalf. Still, an agent's services could be worthwhile for some travelers hoping to avoid stressful vacation planning.

What are the disadvantages of using a travel agent? ›

Best Covid-19 Travel Insurance Plans
  • You're Not The One Planning Your Travel. While not planning your travel is a pro to some, for other travelers, it's a major con. ...
  • You Add Another Person To The Equation. ...
  • You Actually Have To Find The Agent. ...
  • They're Not Great For Spur-Of-The-Moment Changes.
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What is the most popular travel company? ›

Expedia Group

How do I know if a travel agent is legit? ›

Look to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for complaints filed in the company's primary area of business. Consider asking for client references, and contact those references to get the opinions of past travelers. You might also ask for comments about the provider on a travel message board.

What is the advantage of using a travel agent? ›

A travel agent can tell you everything you need to know before you go and give you good advice so that you have a great time. Plus most travel agents love travel and are off somewhere new all the time so they can tell you about places they think you would enjoy if you need inspiration.

Can you negotiate with a travel agent? ›

You can negotiate

According to the website loveEXPLORING, you can haggle with travel agents, but they won't let you in on that secret. Travel agents hate when customers go with someone else because they got a lower price, and often, they'll negotiate.

Is it better to book with airline or travel agent? ›

Bad trips make the customers go away, which is the last thing a travel agent wants. Though the travel agents might give you the best deals but booking a flight directly with the airline is much better.

How expensive is it to use a travel agent? ›

Fees can range from $50-$500 based on their years of experience and destination knowledge. Some luxury agents will charge a percentage in advance of booking private jets and islands. Travel advisors will always inform clients of any service fees in advance.

When should you not use a travel agent? ›

8 Great Reasons NOT to Use a Travel Agent
  • You Know How to Book Your Own Trips.
  • You Have Time to Research and Book Your Own Travel.
  • You Know Exactly What You Want.
  • You Like Non-Traditional Travel Components.
  • You Can Find Better Travel Deals.
  • Quirky or Complicated Trip Planning Scenarios.

How much should you tip your travel agent? ›

A general rule of thumb followed by many is to leave 15 percent for average service, 20 percent for great service, and more than 20 percent for service that truly made the meal memorable.

Should I book flights through a travel agent? ›

Booking with travel agents is often cheaper than booking online as they have access to awesome money-saving deals. Privy to secret airline prices, travel agents book scores of air tickets each day and will be able to easily tell you if the flight price you found online is a reasonable one.

Who are the 3 travel agents? ›

There are four main types of travel agents in the travel and tourism industry: high street, business, callcentre and Internet.

What system do travel agents use to book flights? ›

In short, the Global Distribution System (GDS) is a travel agent's motherboard for booking airline tickets and other sorts of travel goodies (like hotel and car).

Who is the largest travel agency? ›

In 2021, Booking Holdings was the travel company with the highest gross sales worldwide, generating roughly 76.6 billion U.S. dollars. Expedia Group followed behind, with around 72.4 billion U.S. dollars in gross sales.

Do travel agents help with visas? ›

Your corporate travel agency can do this on your behalf, liaising with the Visa and passport processing service on your behalf. These services tend to be taken care of by managing the completion, checks and delivery of applications to visa specialists who make personal applications to the embassies. In some cases.

What is a Tids number? ›

What is TIDS? TIDS (Travel Industry Designator Service) is an IATA program that provides travel agents and sales intermediaries with a unique Industry Code: The IATA/TIDS Numeric Code. This unique Industry Code facilitates the identification of travel sellers and their bookings in reservation systems worldwide.

How does a travel agent get paid? ›

The commission is paid to the travel agent. For most trips, the vendor pays commission to the travel agent after the client has traveled. For most cruises, the travel agent is paid their commission after final payment (typically about 60-90 days before the sailing).

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a travel agent? ›

Being a Travel Agent: The Pros and Cons
  • Pro: You Can Work Anywhere & Set Your Own Hours. ...
  • Con: You Can Work Anywhere & Set Your Own Hours. ...
  • Pro: You Can Travel the World. ...
  • Con: You Might Get Calls at All Hours. ...
  • Pro: No College Degree Required. ...
  • Con: You Are in Control. ...
  • Pro: High Earning Potential. ...
  • Con: Learning Curve.

What services does a travel agent provide? ›

Travel agents or travel consultants assess individual's and business people's needs to help them make the best possible travel arrangements, which includes booking flights, hotel rooms and car rentals. They may specialise by type of travel, such as leisure or business, or destination, such as Europe or Africa.

Is it better to book with airline or travel agent? ›

Bad trips make the customers go away, which is the last thing a travel agent wants. Though the travel agents might give you the best deals but booking a flight directly with the airline is much better.

What are the benefits of using a travel agent compared to the Internet? ›

Travel agents will use their expertise to get discounts you may not find online. If you don't like the nuts and bolts of planning, using a travel agent will save you the headache of making sure you have worked out all the details of your trip. The agent will make sure your accommodations match up with your itinerary.

What is the benefit of a travel agent? ›

What are the benefits of using a travel agent? Using a travel agent can save clients time, stress, and even money. Sometimes travel agents actually have better access to deals that aren't available to the general public. Or, they may know about an upcoming sale that can help clients save money.

What percentage of travel bookings are made online? ›

Approximately 80% of all digital travel sales occur online, and 60% of people say their digital travel booking is their most expensive online purchase.

What is the benefit of booking flights through a travel agent? ›

A travel agent can tell you everything you need to know before you go and give you good advice so that you have a great time. Plus most travel agents love travel and are off somewhere new all the time so they can tell you about places they think you would enjoy if you need inspiration.

Should I book flights with a travel agent? ›

Booking with travel agents is often cheaper than booking online as they have access to awesome money-saving deals. Privy to secret airline prices, travel agents book scores of air tickets each day and will be able to easily tell you if the flight price you found online is a reasonable one.

Do travel agents have access to cheap flights? ›

So, it is of course possible to find a cheaper ticket through a travel agent, but it's not because the agency has some special relationship with the airline. Rather, they purchased the tickets from a wholesaler and are now making their own decisions on what price to sell the ticket for.

How much extra does a travel agent cost? ›

Fees can range from $50-$500 based on their years of experience and destination knowledge. Some luxury agents will charge a percentage in advance of booking private jets and islands. Travel advisors will always inform clients of any service fees in advance.

What is the difference between a travel advisor and a travel agent? ›

So, what's the difference between a travel agent and a travel advisor? There isn't one. It's a matter of updated terminology within the industry: Thanks to a 2018 rebrand by the ASTA, travel agents are now known as travel advisors.

Why do people choose independent travel agents? ›

An independent travel agent works on your behalf. Unlike some holiday shops, they are not owned by big holiday companies so can sell the product that's right for you. Local experienced travel agents get to know their customers. They value repeat business so care more about your holiday.

When should you not use a travel agent? ›

8 Great Reasons NOT to Use a Travel Agent
  • You Know How to Book Your Own Trips.
  • You Have Time to Research and Book Your Own Travel.
  • You Know Exactly What You Want.
  • You Like Non-Traditional Travel Components.
  • You Can Find Better Travel Deals.
  • Quirky or Complicated Trip Planning Scenarios.

Do people still use travel agents? ›

Travel agents are still used for expert guidance, personalized travels, and to save time.

How does a travel agent get paid? ›

The commission is paid to the travel agent. For most trips, the vendor pays commission to the travel agent after the client has traveled. For most cruises, the travel agent is paid their commission after final payment (typically about 60-90 days before the sailing).

Do people prefer booking online? ›

Nearly 70% of respondents say that they'd choose to book online if a variety of booking options were available, compared to only 22% who would choose to book by phone. Yet, 33% of respondents are still booking appointments by phone.

How many people book flights last minute? ›

Study: 44 Percent of Leisure Travelers Plan and Book Last Minute.

Which are the two largest online travel agencies worldwide? ›

With a market cap of approximately 104.25 billion U.S. dollars, Airbnb ranked first among the leading online travel companies worldwide as of December 2021. Competitors Booking.com, Expedia, and Trip.com followed on the list. Second-ranked Booking.com's market cap amounted to roughly 98.52 billion U.S. dollars.

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