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The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - WELCOME -

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

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