Vacations are a time to relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. However, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, and your dream vacation has become a nightmare. Here are 5 situations where you’ll find yourself wishing you’d let a professional handle all the details of your trip planning:
If you’re traveling outside the country for the first time, you’ll likely be needing a passport before your big trip. Your schedule gets swamped and before you know it you only have a month until you leave and you still haven’t sent in the passport application. According to USPS, it takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks for your passport to be processed. Without a passport, your trip is now a no-go, and you’ll find yourself wishing you’d known to plan ahead of time. Travel agents are aware of the time frame needed to get a new passport and can tell you where to go to get the picture taken and the times of year that approval may take longer.
With the vast amounts of information available online, it’s nearly impossible to know where even start to find accurate information about your upcoming trip. What flights do you need? How will you get to and from the airport? Where is your hotel located? What local customs do you need to be aware of? In addition to all of the research necessary for a trip abroad, you may find booking your hotel and flights is more of a hassle than you imagined. Between language barriers, fine print and hidden charges, you’ll probably need a vacation just from booking your vacation. A travel agent would have handled the entire booking process for you and provided you with the information you needed to know about your destination.
It’s all too common to hear nightmare stories about miserable international flights. Sure, you might be saving $100 booking the economy seat on that travel site, but is it worth it? A 9-hour flight can seem like it lasts forever if you’re stuck wedged between two complete strangers and rows behind your travel companion(s). If you’d booked with a travel agent, they would have made sure you were seated with your family or friends and even secured you one of those coveted window or aisle seats.
Remember all that information you found on the internet when you were researching your trip? It may have failed to inform you that your hotel is located in the heart of the most dangerous part of the city. The quality and location of the hotel you stay in makes a huge impact on the overall mood of your trip. Even if your hotel is in a good location, there can still be problems with overbooking or canceled reservations. A travel agent knows what parts of town have the safest, nicest hotels, will call ahead of time and confirm your hotel room or alert the hotel if you’re running late to check in.
Just because you're on vacation doesn’t mean you're immune to catching a flu or cold bug, or, in the worst cases, a medical emergency. Finding ibuprofen, antihistamines or cough medicine can be far from easy in a foreign country where there isn’t a drugstore on every corner. And how do you know if that urgent care or hospital will be covered by your insurance? You didn’t even know you needed to get a medical insurance policy to leave the country. While a travel agent can’t prevent sudden sickness while traveling, they can make sure you’re properly prepared in the event illness strikes. Travel agents can work with you and your insurance to get you a policy that covers you during your trip and quickly find you a reputable doctor near your hotel or resort.