DIY holiday or travel agent?
3 MIN READ
Remember when scanning the shelves in the video rental store was part of your week?
Now, we can stream any one of thousands of movies and TV series online in seconds from anywhere and video rental stores are a distant memory.
And, for a while, it looked as if travel agents, too, might be wiped out by the coming of the internet.
But, against the odds, they seem to be surviving and some are even thriving.
How we learned to book our own holidays ourselves
Airlines quickly made it easy to book flights directly with them when the internet came along.
Search engines made it simpler to find places to stay anywhere in the world for any kind of holiday.
And online reviews, by others who had visited potential holiday places, made it quick to get the ‘inside story’ on where to eat, where to stay and what to do.
We have tips from travel blogger Nadia el Ferdaoussi on how to travel on a budget here.
Many of us got used to arranging everything for our trips abroad ourselves, spending hours online to get everything just right.
The days of visiting the local travel agent to sit down and book a short break, holiday or honeymoon seemed to be numbered.
Good travel agents
But good, local travel agents have not disappeared and many seem to be having a bit of a revival. Why is that? Is it still worth doing-it-yourself or should you use a travel agent?
Organising travel can be hard work
It’s probably never been easier to book your flights, car and hotel to popular Irish destinations like Spain, Portugal and Greece.
But get a bit more adventurous and you can end up spending a lot of your spare time and energy sorting everything out.
The time and complexity needed to manage the logistics multiply if you plan to have a break with a group of friends or the extended family.
Life is often busy and holidays are precious so it’s not surprising then that some holidaymakers are turning to travel agents for professional help.
The amount of choice can be overwhelming
Know exactly where you want to go and what you want from your trip? Great.
However, if you’re not certain or want to try somewhere new, the sheer number of options available to you, while exciting, can be overwhelming.
Especially, if you feel that the success of the holiday or break depends on what you decide.
It can take the pressure of to get advice from a trusted travel agent with plenty of experience of designing holidays around specific needs and requirements.
Not sure what to believe?
We’re all used to reading through online reviews to help us get insights into a holiday destination, place to stay, and what to do but reviews are not always reliable.
One person’s ‘best hotel staff ever’ can be another’s ‘shocking service’. Sometimes, as you keep scrolling through the comments, it can feel like the more you learn the less you know.
Local travel agents, like everyone in the travel business, have to make a profit but may be more likely to be impartial if they know that their future business depends on you having a great holiday.
And you will actually get to meet them, locally, to assess their reliability face-to-face.
The human touch
Sometimes you just want to book it alone and get it done, sometimes it’s better to speak to another human being.
Particularly if you need someone to chat through the pros and cons of different destinations and help you put together an itinerary.
Travel agents may also be able to advise you on the stability of a region following extreme weather or political instability.
You can and should look into these things yourself but it may also help to talk to someone who has recently booked a holiday for someone visiting one of the destinations that you’re interested in.
The Department of Foreign Affairs publishes travel advice for foreign countries here*.
A helping hand when you need it
A good travel agent should be available to help you if things go wrong.
This can be especially valuable when you are tired after a long flight or do not speak the language at your destination.
About Irish travel agents
The Commission for Aviation Regulation is responsible for licensing the travel trade in Ireland and grants licences to both tour operators and travel agents. You can check that your travel agent is licensed on their website*.
You can also ask friends and family if they have used them and what their experiences were.
Find out more
Whether you do-it-yourself or use a travel agent, if you need a Bank of Ireland loan to help with the cost of your next trip (check out our post on the world’s best road trips for inspiration) or holiday click here to find out more.
Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Over 18’s only.
*Clicking this link will your bring you to a 3rd party website.