GO STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE
No matter how deft your kitchen skills, it’s a treat to eat dinner in a restaurant. You might be more than capable of changing a flat tyre, but being rescued by a roadside assistant is so much easier. Painting the house? One room is doable but tackling the whole lot is best left to a professional.
The same goes for organising a holiday. Some trips require a simple online search and with a few clicks you’ve locked in dates, booked flights and hotel, and are ready to pack.
But not every itinerary is straightforward and there are times when the best option is a travel agent. Skipping the DIY approach is highly recommended when the journey on which you’re embarking is long or complex. Multiple connecting flights, a wishlist of obscure or remote destinations, or a finely tuned combination of land-sea-and-air experiences are more easily done with the purpose-built technology and rich contact lists of experts.
Travel agents provide wise counsel on seemingly small matters but which could turn to major inconveniences in the hands of an amateur planner.
A few years ago I did a long trip in Europe and, thanks to the wisdom of the agent, knew baggage allowance for my international flight was larger than the budget airline I was using to crisscross the continent. I upgraded to two bags prior to leaving and avoided the fees at check-in. On another trip the agent advised me about the erratic opening hours and inconvenient locations of Italian car rental firms. Dates were rearranged accordingly and the trip went ahead smoothly.
There are many more secrets a travel expert can help you with – just turn the page and you’ll discover a few.
JANA FRAWLEY, NATIONAL TRAVEL EDITOR