Spring break is growing ever nearer, and while many people already have a trip on the books, others are still scrambling to squeeze in the perfect little getaway.
I’m a big fan of staycations or regional trips, but I’ve also heard a lot of chatter recently about people getting deals on bigger trips through travel planners. This isn’t a new concept by any means, but the travel industry overall struggled during the economic downturn and has now bounced back in a big way.
The myth that travel agents cost you money or are exclusively for the wealthy can be disproven. I asked a bit more and here’s what I learned:
Do it for Disney
If a Disney trip is in your future, this is absolutely the right time to take advantage of a planner. This is one trip that requires some extra insight.
Between the hotel, transportation, dining reservations, meal options, character experiences, ride passes and other extras, having a helping hand to coordinate it all for you is very helpful.
Some Disney planners can even offer convention rates on your stay. There typically isn’t a charge for this either, as they work for Disney in most cases.
Look for resort connections
I have a friend looking to book an upcoming beach trip and is price comparing between two locations. She reached out to a few planners to get quotes.
One had a relationship with the resorts she was interested in, and one didn’t. The price difference between the two quotes was more than $400.
So, if your heart is set on a specific resort, look for planners with a connection there.
Compared to booking sites
Sites like Expedia, Travelocity or Kayak that bundle your travel plans can be very helpful and save you money, but the main difference between them is a human being.
Many agents price-match those site offers, but you also have the benefit of a direct contact if something goes wrong. Additionally, they can communicate with your resort or hotel on special requests like anniversaries.
My conclusion is that if you’re making plans to book a spring or summer trip this year, ask around for a planner referral. The savings I’m seeing and hearing about are significant, so it’s well worth your time.
If you go this route, just make sure you do some research on what you expect so you end up with the trip of a lifetime at, hopefully, a well-discounted rate.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.