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In all our vacations, we’ve used travel agents rarely. But when we have used them, they’ve been incredibly helpful. I wanted to take one post to highlight the specific circumstances to use them in.

  • Cruises: A few years back we decided to go to Alaska and try a cruise. It seems to me that this is where a well-connected travel agent excels. Cruise options are vast and our agent was able to narrow the choices for us much more quickly than we could have on our own. Our agent helped us pick a family-friendly (but not kid-centric) cruise that was within our available dates. We enjoyed this particular cruise even though we decided that cruises are probably not the best thing for our family in most cases. If we decided to cruise again, I would absolutely call an agent!
  • A huge group: Well, maybe not huge, but big. Last year I had to plan a fiftieth anniversary trip for my parents, with all thirteen of my family. For various reasons we had a tight deadline and also many constraints on types of lodging. Our agent came through, helping me plan a trip to Costa Rica that was truly a trip to remember with my parents, my family and my sister’s family.
  • The agent’s specialized knowledge:  My husband used an island specialist to plan our honeymoon in the Caribbean. We loved out-of-the-way destinations, even then, and he contacted an agent who specialized in the islands. She planned a gorgeous get-away for us on Montserrat, complete with dinner recommendations. Most importantly, she recommended trip cancellation insurance–which we needed!! The island of Montserrat had a volcanic explosion two weeks before our wedding, leaving our private house under six inches of ash. Our agent was able to rebook a new honeymoon on Nevis for us and didn’t even miss a beat. She knew we would be covered by the insurance so our bills were covered. Had Bill not used an agent for that trip, I think we would have honeymooned in Atlanta.

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Have you used an agent? What are your thoughts about them? Please share!