Skip Navigation Links

Larry Olmsted, a contributor to Forbes Magazine, wrote “Why You Need a Travel Agent,” a two-part column. “If you like to travel (who doesn’t?), here’s a great New Year’s Resolution for 2012—find a good travel agent and start using them regularly,” Olmsted wrote. “This is a resolution you will find easy to keep, because once you try it, you will enjoy better--and often cheaper--trips than ever before.”

Excerpts from the CNN article titled "Are travel agents making a comeback?":

Fewer travelers are enjoying using the Web to plan and buy trips, according to a study last week (early August 2009) by Forrester Research, a market research company. About 46 percent of U.S. leisure travelers enjoyed using the Internet to book travel this year, down from 53 percent in 2007.

Travel agents have deals with suppliers that can sometimes enable them to offer lower prices than on the Web. They also have time to cancel tickets for free, compared with some non-refundable tickets sold on the Web.

"Just because you can go out and buy Turbo Tax doesn't mean it's the best answer for everyone," Cutter said. "Some people will still go to an accountant. Booking travel can get complicated, and it's just not as easy as it looks."

Travel agents don't discount the value of online travel agencies, which can be useful for booking simple, short trips, but they say complex itineraries require more expertise from a professional. Many online travel companies agree that an agent may be valuable in planning a detailed honeymoon that includes a tour of vineyards in France or a family excursion to top snorkeling and kangaroo-watching destinations in Australia.

But Susan D. Tanzman of Martin's Travel and Tours in California, who has worked as an agent for 35 years, points out that agents follow up with travelers before and after the trip. If the traveler needs help, the agency can offer assistance.

JoAnne Kochneff, owner of midsize agency Travel by Gagnon in Michigan, said agents can give the personal attention a site cannot.

Read the entire CNN travel agent article