Thu11272014

Food & Wine

Travel agents provide expertise, recommendations and explanations

The tropical islands of the Caribbean, the classic cities of Europe and many additional fascinating and fun-filled destinations around the world await you.

Many travelers now research and book their holiday adventures online. Even if you are one of them, you may have questions or want to speak directly with a travel expert. Here are some of the ways a travel agent can be a great resource.

Expertise: Seek out a travel agent who has become a specialist in the country you want to visit. He or she will have insider knowledge about the region, as well as personal connections.

Simplify your choices: There are many breathtaking destinations and activities to review as you plan. A travel agent can help you quickly narrow down the best choices for you, depending on the type of traveler you are.

Recommendations: A travel agent can use his or her experience to point out some of the most popular destinations, activities you shouldn't miss or which cruises would best suit your lifestyle and budget. An agent might even suggest restaurants and unique indigenous foods to sample at your destination.

Explaining the fine print: Are there restrictions? Time limitations? What's the cancellation policy? Much information is available to you online, but travel professionals can help ensure that it all makes sense. An agent knows where the special prices are and what constitutes a good deal. Your agent can also help procure discounts on first- and business-class airfare, since agents have access to information unavailable to the public.

Contact a professional travel agent at any time while you are planning a trip. If you have already booked something online and are nervous about it, a travel agent in many cases can obtain a better deal and arrange the booking so that it is under their supervision. It costs you no more to get expert advice. Without a travel agent, you are on your own.

Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel, 160 Main St., Los Altos. For more information, call 941-5810.

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