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Travel agents can help map out trip

By Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, FamilyTravel.com
Published: March 23, 2024, 5:47am

Using a travel professional to decode your family vacation options can pay valuable dividends. Here are five ideas to consider:

1. Invest in proper planning

Planning a family vacation takes time, knowledge, patience and perseverance.

Making sense of busy schedules, eye-popping prices, the effects of global conflicts, and changing health requirements can be mind-boggling. This is where a travel agent can become a valuable member of your family’s travel planning team. The pros are up to date on the latest documentation requirements and other safety-related recommendations. They understand different kinds of travel insurance and can make knowledge and experience-based advice. A good agent will get to know your family’s needs, discuss budgets and bucket lists and propose trips that fit your current comfort levels.

2. How it works

Agents are compensated for their planning and execution in various ways. Some receive commissions paid by travel suppliers. Others charge consulting fees, sometimes determined by the number of people traveling and the complexity of the trip. Still, others rely on a combination of both. Families also benefit from top agents’ access to upgrades, value-added options and other perks they can pass on to their clients. For many busy parents and grandparents, handing off the complicated job of trip planning to a professional is key to avoiding procrastination and getting a long-awaited vacation on the calendar.

3. Choose a specialist

Are you eager to visit a Disney resort or to understand the evolving nature of the cruise world? Are you determined to find the right African safari for a multigenerational trip of a lifetime? Are you perplexed about which ski resort is just right for your youngsters or how best to explore a specific city, country or region? If this rings a bell for you, then using an agent with specialty experience can pay big dividends. Those pros can sort through the long list of cruise lines for the brand that best matches your travel expectations. They’ll know how to book the best cabins, sort through meal and activity options and provide insight into how each member of the family might make the most of the sailing. Adventure pros may not be able to predict snow pack, but they can provide insight into which ski towns best fit your family preferences. Theme park pros know the optimal weeks to visit (or not), have tips for avoiding long lines and which lodging options will work well for your crew. Eager to explore a world-class city? Find an agent who can steer you toward family-friendly accommodations, kid-friendly guides and an itinerary that will appeal to every age group.

4. Learn in the location of your choice

A good agent can help incorporate travel into your family’s educational plan. With more families learning and working remotely, a travel pro can help zero in on destinations and lodging options that can maximize your current lifestyle options. Are you interested in boosting the year’s planned curriculum by adding language skills, or literary and historical sites to your travel itineraries? Do you want more art, music and theater in the mix? A good agent can help create a weeklong, monthlong, summer or multiyear plan that marries your family’s educational goals with your love of travel.

5. Time well-spent

. Whether you’re traveling with the kids or the extended family for a milestone birthday or anniversary celebration, you no doubt hope to return with treasured memories rather than tales of a trip gone wrong. A travel agent’s professional guidance, grounded in research, experience and insider knowledge, can provide the edge you need to avoid potential snags and to experience a long-awaited and rewarding holiday.