WHY SAVVY TRAVELERS

USE A TRAVEL ADVISOR

Look around the airport when a flight is canceled and it’s easy to see which travelers booked their airline tickets with a travel advisor; they’re the ones sipping drinks at the bar, knowing that their travel advisor is taking care of everything. And that’s just one of the reasons using a travel advisor is the ultimate luxury.  

Smart travelers were turning to travel advisors in growing numbers even before the complications of the pandemic to ensure that they made the most of their vacation time and budgets. Travel advisors have the knowledge and connections to know which hotels, resorts and tour guides would work best for you and to enhance your trip with one-of-a-kind experiences, tailored to your interests, that you’d never find on your own. They’ll also be there to smooth out problems that might occur along the way. Plus, they often have access to special fares, discounts and perks, such as complimentary upgraded room or cabin categories, free breakfasts and VIP treatment.

The Special Joys of

USING A TRAVEL ADVISOR

Go places you cannot Google! Travel advisors have the knowledge and connections to enhance your trip with one-of-a-kind experiences and to smooth out any problems that might arise. Plus, they often have exclusive access to special fares and discounts. So take advantage of their expertise to create your dream vacation. But don’t just take our word for it; here are some articles by trusted journalists about benefits of hiring a travel advisor.

  • How Travel Advisors Amaze and Delight Their Clients

    Travel advisors can seem a bit like magicians. They can help you pursue your interests in very personal ways and arrange things most travelers would not even dream possible by tapping into their experience, global contacts, and network of vetted suppliers.

    Read More

Four Reasons To Use A Travel Advisor

Arranging the perfect private guide for your interests, finding a cruise that you, your parents and your kids will love….these are just some of the many ways a travel advisor can elevate your experience.

  • Money Savings and Perks

    Travel advisors have exclusive access to special travel fares and discounts, guaranteeing you’re getting the best value. They often can provide upgraded rooms or cabins, complimentary breakfasts, and other perks.

  • Time Savings and Convenience

    Instead of sifting through countless websites, guidebooks, or posts from your friends on social media, you deserve a hassle-free vacation planned by a professional, saving your valuable time.

  • Personal Attention at Every Step

    Travel advisors take pride in creating one-of-a-kind trips based on the specific tastes and interests of their clients. From planning until your return, you’ll have a personal consultant looking out for you who is just a phone call, text, or email away.

  • Expert Advice

    Travel advisors have the expertise and personal connections to create your dream journey and help you avoid common mistakes. Plus, they can arrange authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences that you’ll never find via Google.

Why use a travel advisor

frequently asked questions

If you have never consulted with a travel advisor, you probably have questions about how they work, what they can do for you, and what you should expect to pay for their services. Here are the answers to the questions we are most often asked. If you have additional questions please reach out to ASTA.

You may not. If you’re simply booking a flight to stay with relatives or staying at a resort you’ve frequented and loved in the past, you may be fine on your own. But even then, there are benefits to booking with a travel advisor. For example, he or she might advise you about which airport offers the most reliable connections so you don’t spend hours or even a night in an airport. Your travel advisor also might be able to get you a special deal at your resort or suggest a getaway that you’d like even better. And if your flight is canceled, your travel advisor can probably handle your rebooking far better than you could.

More importantly, a travel advisor helps you sift through the confusing array of hotels, tours, cruises, and even room types to make sure that your trip fits your dreams and your budget. They’ll also open your eyes to special experiences you might not think of and prevent and/or sort out any snafus that might come up during your trip. And they often have access to money-saving deals, upgrades and perks that can enhance your trip.

Travel advisors especially earn their stripes as heroes when disasters such as the pandemic or a hurricane strike and they have to pull strings and use their creativity, knowledge and sometimes, their connections, to get their clients home. 

Most do, especially if they are arranging a very elaborate itinerary. Fees vary greatly, from negligible to $100 and up, depending on the complexity of the trip. At the very top end, one travel agency charges a $100,000 membership fee just to be a client—but that is very unusual. Most offer a free consultation and will advise you then of their fee structure.

As with choosing any professional, recommendations from friends and family are helpful if they have similar interests, budgets and travel styles to yours. It’s also a good idea to look for specialists and certification. The ASTA website lets you search for an ASTA advisor by specialty (family, LGBTQ, adventure, river cruising, skiing, etc) and by destination. You also can add their office location to your search criteria to find a local travel advisor, which can be nice, especially if you would like to meet face-to-face. There’s also an option to specify if you want an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor (VTA); these are experienced travel advisors who must take and pass a rigorous curriculum to be certified.  

A good first step is to work with an ASTA member. The ASTA logo is recognized around the world as a symbol of professionalism and integrity and members must adhere to a code of ethics, which ASTA enforces.

Expect to answer a lot of questions about everything from the hobbies and special interests of you and your travel companions to what you’ve enjoyed and hated about previous trips. It’s important to answer thoughtfully and honestly because those questions will be the basis for the recommendations the advisor will make. Think in advance about your travel dreams, your budget, and any specific needs or concerns you have. The advisor should also disclose their fee, if any, and what services they provide (24/7 availability if there are issues while you’re traveling, perks they can provide, etc.)

Probably not. There are two components a travel advisor brings to their work: their expertise and their understanding of your needs. The more trips a travel advisor plans for you, the better they understand your needs. And travel advisors have a network of experts to tap into if there’s a place or an experience they don’t know personally.  So as long as you’ve been happy with your advisor, we suggest sticking with him or her.

The term “travel agent” dates back to a simpler era when the agent’s job was to book steamship, airline and train tickets. As travel became more complex, their work evolved from booking agents for suppliers to trusted advisors to consumers — akin to financial agents and CPAs — who make the overall travel experience better and provide leisure and business travelers maximum value for their travel dollar.

CHECK OUT OUR

Featured News

From travel tips and trends to hands-on advice from ASTA members and media coverage of the industry, here are some of our favorite stories.

  • Why Smart Travelers Need Smart Travel Agents

    Did you know that some countries require you have two full blank pages in your passport to enter and that in many countries, it’s considered rude to tip? Smart travel advisors know things that even smart travelers don’t think to ask, says Mary Ann Anderson in Forbes com. Here, she discusses what a travel advisor can do for you.

    Read Article
  • Travel Advisors Are Among the Heroes Of The Pandemic

    Learn how travel advisors saved the day for countless travelers during the pandemic, getting stranded clients home from around the world as borders were closing and advocating for refunds for their clients. Meet some of the #TravelHeroes in this five-minute video.

    Watch Video
  • Make Your Dream Vacation Stress-Free

    With more destinations opening up, for many people the biggest travel decision has evolved from “Where can I go?” to “Where should I go first?” Travel journalist Barbara Peterson has some solid advice on how to make that exciting decision—and how to plan the hassle-free, COVID-smart, completely amazing vacation you’ve been putting off for so long

     

    Read Article
  • Behold The Travel Comeback

    With pandemic fears and regulations subsiding, Americans are eager for revenge travel – despite inflation. But amid rising complexities and heightened demand for bucket list experiences, travel advisors are all the more of the essence, says journalist Ross Kenneth Urken.

    Read Article
  • WHAT IS MOTIVATING TRAVELERS NOW, AND WHY?

    Is inflation putting a dent in travel plans?  How about ongoing concerns about the pandemic? You may be surprised at the answers. Check out ASTA'S latest consumer research.

    Read Article
  • Make Way For The Travel Agents. Again.

    Many travel agents are seeing an unprecedented surge of business. In fact, Covid-19 has given them new relevancy, thanks largely to the morass of constantly changing rules and restrictions that travelers must navigate, says Lauren Sloss in The New York Times.

     

    Read Article
  • Travel Advisors Share Example Of How They Amaze And Delight Their Clients

    Travel advisors can seen a bit like magicians. They help their clients pursue their interests in very personal ways and arrange things most travelers would not even dream possible.

     

    Read Article
  • Do People Still Use Travel Agents?

    Yes—and now they’re called travel advisors. They could be more helpful than you may think, says Elaine Glusac in National Geographic, and she has some tips on finding one that matches your travel style.

    Read Article
  • BEHOLD THE TRAVEL COMEBACK

    Americans are eager for "revenge" travel  but rising complexities make travel advisors all the more essential.  

    Read more
  • TRAVEL ADVISORS CELEBRATE END OF INBOUND TESTING RULE

    ASTA advocated on many fronts for the CDC to repeal the inbound COVID testing rule, which had been standing in the way of the industry's recovery.

    Read more
  • 4 Things To Know When Choosing A Travel Agent

    These days, even the most D.I.Y.-inclined travelers are considering working with a professional travel adviser in the hopes of skipping the travel-planning stress and focusing on actually relaxing on vacation instead, says Lauren Sloss in The New York Times. She has four tips on finding the right one for you.

    Read Article
  • ASTA PUSHES FOR EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT

    The bipartisan Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R. 6060/S. 3625), which would allow travel agencies to staff up to meet client demand for the busy summer season, is a key priority for Legislative Day 2022. 

    View Full Article
  • TAX ON AGENCY SERVICES STRIPPED FROM KENTUCKY TAX REFORM BILL

    ASTA advocacy efforts defeated a Kentucky proposal to expand the state's sales taxes to travel agency services, saving the average agency $25,000 per year.

    Read more
  • 10 Reasons Why Travel Advisors Are Essential

    The reasons why travel advisors are essential part of the business and leisure travel ecosystem.

    Read More
  • ASTA Announces New Credo That Defines Members

    Complementing its mission statement, ASTA unveiled a new credo underscoring its members professionalism and integrity, reports Janeen Christoff in Travel Pulse.

    Read more
MEET OUR MOST RECENT

ASTA VERIFIED TRAVEL ADVISORS

Becoming a Verified Travel Advisor requires fulfilling a rigorous set of requirements that provide a deep understanding of the industry and a strong skillset.  Our most recent Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) graduates epitomize the professionalism, expertise and ethics the VTA program is known for. Learn more about the VTA program.

  • Carolyn Olk, VTA

    Enterprise AL

  • Iris Salazar, VTA

    New York NY

  • Michelle Irvin, VTA

    Alabaster AL

  • Chip Wilson, VTA

    Mansfield TX

  • Bekah Eaton, VTA

    Birmingham AL

  • Letitia Michelle Smith, VTA

    Staten Island NY

  • Stephanie Parks, VTA

    Orlando FL

  • Candace Dupps, VTA

    Louisville KY

  • Stephen Sully, VTA

    Chelem, Yucatan

  • Darcie Bolton Weiser, VTA

    Arvada CO

  • Sandee Hughes, VTA

    New Orleans LA

  • Starr Wlodarski, VTA

    Perrysburg OH

  • Katherine Bear Rogers, VTA

    Mountain Brook, AL

  • Samuel Mony, VTA

    Newbury Park, CA

  • Dawn Howard-Williams, VTA

    Chicago IL

View All Verified Travel Advisors
American Society of Travel Advisors

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