That was then.
Back when I first started traveling, the only way to get anywhere was through a travel agent. You visited an agent to book flights, get hotel recommendations, and rent cars. They knew the best places to go and the best way to get there. Plus it was a lot of fun looking through brochures as they made calls and worked their magic.
The alternative was to call airlines yourself, ask a million questions, and write down different flight times and prices. It was pretty much a pain in the neck. So yeah, a travel agent was the way to go.
Once the Internet became a thing and I could search and book online myself, I stopped using travel agents. I love planning trips. I enjoy the research and looking for the best deals. I like reading reviews and asking my Facebook travel groups where they recommend I stay in St. Thomas (or wherever).
Many people think I’m crazy and consider researching and booking travel to be a chore. Luckily for them, travel agents still exist. One phone call and you can have everything taken care of for you.
This is now.
Now that we are living in a COVID-19 world with borders closing, opening, and closing again, who can keep track of what’s available to us? And what about certifications of negative COVID tests? Which countries need those? What resorts are even open right now? Do I need to quarantine? Who the heck even knows??
Travel agents are more important now than ever. They are keeping on top of the regulations, the closings, and the risks. Travel agents I’ve been in touch with really care about their customers’ safety. They won’t recommend a place where COVID-19 is running rampant. They aren’t going to send you to a country knowing you may get stuck there when the borders close again.
Travel agents always could find you the best flights. They always could book great hotels and tours. They could even tell you where to get the best food at your destination. But now they play an even more important role that’s very difficult for any of us to do on our own. They have the inside scoop on the COVID-19 regulations.
The bottom line.
So, yeah, I’m going to come right out and say it, consult a travel agent. They’re the experts and will save you a whole lot of trouble down the road. Plus they may help you discover a hidden gem that you wouldn’t have stumbled upon by yourself.
Sherry, owner of the Arkfeld Agency (www.arkfeldagency.com), is a Caribbean travel copywriter. She writes travel blogs, emails, website content, and more for travel agents, tour operators, and resorts in the Caribbean. Sherry is obsessed with travel, especially all things related to the Caribbean. Sherry lives in California and is dreaming of the day she can move to her own island in paradise.