Since I formally launched online I plan, you pack. I’ve been asked what’s the difference between hiring a travel agent and an independent travel planner? And which is better?
I must briefly say that I plan, you pack, is an online travel service business where I custom build your travel itinerary based on your needs, taking advantage of my travel experience and the knowledge I’ve gained on those adventures.
Formally started online in February 2019, but I have been providing the service to family, friends, and friends of friends since 2014.
*Just a side note that for quite a while I worked as a travel agent. Giving me a rather unique perspective on how the travel industry works.
Back to the question, the first thing I want to clarify is the difference between the two:
“A travel planner is typically a person who enjoys the research on destinations, finding airfare, and deciding on hotels”
“A travel agent is a paid employee to help people purchase travel-related services such as flights, accommodations, and tours etc”
I have used both in the past. From my experience I would say that:
“A travel agent will find, recommend and book what you are requesting, but will be restricted by commercial agreements. This person can be passionate about travel, but also can be someone that works for a paycheck. Might not have a travel agent degree but has received training”
“A travel planner who decides to independently provide this type of service, could also not have formal training or degree, but is passionate about travel and has vast travel experience which he or she takes advantage of to create a business”
With that clear, the second thing I want to clarify is that both are equally helpful and valuable. The difference will depend on your needs. To me, there are three main reasons why I’ll suggest an online travel planner over a travel agent.
Terrific Deals: Save you money
You can do your own booking, but you won’t necessarily get a low far or the best deal. Airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and cruise ships count on people to make their own reservations and charge higher rates to those who do.
As a traveler for over eight years now, I’m subscribed to travelers rewards programs, loyalty programs, travel affiliate programs, tour operators access, etc. Meaning that when I’m planning someone’s trip, the preferred status gives me the opportunity to pass along these deals to my customers.
Detailed Itinerary: Save you time
A travel planner can put together a full and very detailed itinerary and will put together packages that work best for you and your family.
Let’s say you need a flight to Italy, transportation, hotel, but also you need restaurants recommendations, trains information and tours. You can book all these directly online, but won’t necessarily find the options that best meet your needs. A travel planner saves you the time of spending hours doing research on different websites.
Great Service: Save you the stress
When you go the do it yourself route, it’s often difficult to coordinate all aspects of your travel. Making sure that your flights depart and arrive at optimal times, that your hotel reservation is in order, that your car rental will be available, and that you’ll have everything in order to board a cruise ship is no walk in the park.
An online travel planner can do all the legwork for you so you can concentrate on preparing for your trip. And, if you have a change in plans, the great service that an online travel planner provides can make the transition a smooth one.
When it comes to groups, a travel planner can easily book trips for people who have the same destination but who are traveling from different places. It will give everyone peace of mind and ensures that the group’s needs are met.
The age of using online travel service is here! Just wanted to make clear the differences and extend my SERVICES for all those who want to make his travel dreams come true.
Let me know what is your preference?
Until next post.