Why would I use a travel agent when I can do it myself?
I remember how awesome it was when I discovered I could book a vacation on a website! It was so easy to look for flights that matched my schedule or hotels where I was a rewards member. It was a really great idea. Then something happened...the competition came along. Competition is what drives our country, but sometimes competition creates more work for the consumer.
A good example of competition creating more work is the grocery store. Next time you're there walk over to the yogurt section. Imagine you have been given the instruction, "can you pick up yogurt for the kids?". That is a really simple request. If you have purchased yogurt for the children many times over, you likely know exactly what type to choose. But what if you don't do this very often? How do you compare all 9000 brands? Price? Sugar content? Cartoon character?
Someone who knows what they're doing will grab exactly what they need efficiently. Someone who is a little confused may take a lot more time and still not be fully confident in their final decision. Travel websites have done the same thing to many of us. There are so many to choose from, with various features and benefits, that a lot of us have become confused! So what do we do? We check ALL of them...over....and over....and over again.
Remember that efficient parent who knew exactly which yogurt to grab? In the travel world, those people are known as travel agents. You might think you would pay more to work with a travel agent, but a recent study showed travel agents can save you about $450, on average. You also might not realize the travel sites are also travel agencies, which means they also charge service fees.
It is true you could book a trip yourself and get a great deal. It is also true you could book a trip yourself and end up in a non-refundable nightmare. What is true in either case, is you will spend a lot of your time trying to find the best deal. Is it worth it? Before you answer that, why not let travel agents send you some quotes?