When you book a vacation, you normally don't think of natural disasters or emergencies that may occur during your planned time of travel. Unfortunately, these events can happen. Such was the case on the east coast this past weekend.
I am a fairly new part time travel agent but am becoming experienced rather quickly. I had a client, her companion and 4 kids booked to fly out Sunday, August 28th out of Philadelphia...the day the hurricane was set to hit. Luckily, I convinced her early on to purchase travel insurance which she did but we still wanted to get her on her vacation! After I placed numerous phone calls all day Friday to both the airline, the vacation vendor and to the resort, she got out on Saturday morning- the day before with no additional charge for her plane tickets or her resort!
I can say with confidence, had she booked this trip online herself, she would not have been able to accomplish the change in airline or resort.
In addition to that travel ordeal, once she arrived to the resort, she decided she not like it at all. I initially gave her my opinion of this resort that she chose. I have never personally been there but the reviews were less than desirable and I actually recommended another resort. She disregarded my opinion and chose this resort anyway. Back to the phone I went while being in the middle of a hurricane with no power. After being on hold for 40 minutes, then being transferred a few times, I was able to get her into another resort. Again, without a travel agent, I doubt this could be accomplished. TIP- Listen to your travel agent. They do their research. ;)
My point is, you can find online deals or you can even book directly through a resort or a cruise line. But you will not get the level of service that you will find with a personal travel agent. You will also get the same rates and sometimes even better rates with an agent than you would directly. Also, travel insurance is a must and it is less expensive to get it through an agent than through the cruise line in a majority of cases. Be smart. Compare prices and services. I personally live for my vacations so taking every precaution to ensure you have a memorable vacation should be extremely important! :)