How Much Does a Travel Agent Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 15, 2018

Travel agents and travel agencies partner with airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts to provide travelers with the best deals possible.  If you don’t know where to look when it comes to booking a vacation or you simply don’t have the time, a travel agent can put together the itinerary you’re envisioning for a low cost.

Airplane by andrewmalone, on Flickr
Airplane” (CC BY 2.0) by andrewmalone

How much does a travel agent cost?

On average, plan on spending around $30 to $50 per person for a travel agent to help you book a ticket for an airline, train or cruise.  However, if the travel agent has to put together a customized vacation package for your family, the costs can be between $150 and $350, depending on the complexity of the vacation and the number of people they are booking for.  There are also many other extra fees that you should be prepared to pay if you were to change anything in the future.

Researching a vacation can cost $25 to $100 per hour if you didn’t know exactly what you wanted yet.

Many travel agents charge flat rates per ticket or for custom trip packages, similar to the quotes specified in our table below, while others may charge a certain percentage of the trip’s value. When there are changes or cancellations, travel agents may charge a second fee on top of the fee already charged. Additionally, travel agents may charge customers for booking fees, hotel fees, car rental fees, change fees, and cancellation fees, among others.

We researched the average prices a travel agent often charges and included our findings inside the table below:

TaskAverage Price
Issuing airline tickets$25 to $40 per person/ticket (additional charges will apply if you need to void, change a name and/or cancel a ticket)
Issue fee for paper ticket$10 to $20 plus the airline service fee
Car or hotel reservations$25 to $45 per reservation (additional fees may apply if you were to make changes in future)
Train/Rail ticket reservations$10 to $25 per person/ticket
Cruises$25 to $45 per person, per ticket
Customized itinerary$50 to $75 per person (depending on complexity

NOTE:  This is just an average and the costs can vary from one travel agent to the next.

Virtuoso, a popular luxury travel advisor, for example, supposedly charges around $150 per person.

According to a CNN.com article, travel agents charge an average flat fee of $35 to purchase an airline ticket or a “plan to go” fee of $250 to prepare an individualized travel package.  More experienced agents charge an hourly fee for tailored packages, while some agents charge an annual retainer to customers who want services delivered at their disposal.

An article at DailyFinance.com, states the average travel agent charges around $35 for airline services.

Tips to know:

A travel agent can do anything from booking an airline ticket on a specific date to planning an entire vacation, from the hotel to the daily activities.  Essentially, a travel agent is a paid planner who makes your vacation become a reality without the hassles of doing it on your own.

Travel agent fees generally depend on the agent.  You can always ask an agent up front what his or her fees are and what they will cover.  As long as you know what you want, they should be able to provide you with an estimate.  It is important to be aware early on what the potential costs will be, and it doesn’t hurt to get it in writing.

While travel agents have access to the same outlets that consumers use when booking trips, some agents have access to exclusive pricing and package deals that are not always available to the public.  Agents also have more clout in sorting out situations such as hotels that claim to be fully booked, when in fact, they have rooms available for travel agent reservations.  It never hurts to talk to a travel agent, even though it may seem “old fashioned.”

Travel agents are ideal for those who do not know where they are traveling, booking large groups or going overseas.

TravelSense.org has a helpful search engine that allows you to find a travel agent who’s a member of the ASTA and adheres to a strict Code of Ethics.  Here, you can search by areas of expertise, specialties, languages and so much more.

A lot of travel agents work on commission, so, unfortunately, they may only recommend the hotels or airlines they receive a kickback from.

How can I save money?

When only booking a flight, it is not necessary to hire the services of a travel agent.  Discount flight sites are easily available and you book a flight yourself at about the same price.  For example, many find that it is cheaper to book through major sites such as Expedia.com.

A travel agent won’t always find you the best price.  If you’re simply booking a hotel or car, use a comparison price tool, but don’t book just yet; instead, book directly to save the most money with the lowest price you found on the comparison website.  Most of the time, if you were to use a travel agent, the only time it makes sense is when you’re booking for a group or a long vacation where you require the car, hotel, airfare and activities.

If you have a travel credit card, be sure to use it when booking your vacation to maximize your reward points.

If you are a member of AAA, they provide free travel services you can take advantage of.

Staying flexible with your future vacation can help cut the costs.


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Average Reported Cost: $0

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Jamie (Mobile,  Alabama) paid $0 and said:

    I actually just went on a cruise, and sure, while you can find the information online, I was able to have a much easier time with my local travel agent. She didn’t charge me and by the looks of it, she saved me up to $100 per person. So for those who are contemplating if they should use one, I say DO IT!

    Was it worth it? Yes

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