How Much Does a Travel Agent Cost?
Travel agents and travel agencies partner with airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts to provide travelers with the best deals possible.
How much does it cost?
- On average, plan on spending around $30 to $50 per person for a travel agent to help you book an airline ticket. However, if the travel agent has to put together a vacation package for your family, the costs can be between the $150 and $250 range. There are also many other extra fees that you should be prepared to pay.
- Researching a vacation can cost $25 to $100 per hour.
- For example, Tom Smith Travel, an affiliate of The Travel Society, which includes membership in Virtuoso, offers the following services and corresponding rates:
- Issuing of any airline tickets – $40 per ticket/per person
- Internet Air reservations/or ticket – $40 (Southwest, Allegiant or Jet Blue)
- Voiding a ticket – $40 per ticket
- Cancellation of a complete ticket – $50 plus the penalty of the airline
- Issue fee for paper ticket – $20 plus the airline service fee
- Cancellation of a consolidator ticket – $50 per ticket plus any penalties imposed by the consolidator
- Name changes, if allowed by the carrier – $40 per ticket plus airline fee
- Reissue, refund, exchange of air ticket – $75 per ticket
- Car or hotel reservations – $35 per reservation, plus any telephone/fax charges of $10 while fees for changing existing hotel reservations is $25
- Rail – $35 per person/per ticket/pass
- Allegiant Air and Southwest Airlines ticketing and reservations – $40 per ticket
- Telephone and fax charges – $10 per fax
- Cruises and tour cancellations – $35 per person plus any penalty required by the cruise or tour company for canceling the reservation
- Customized itinerary – $150 per itinerary ($75 per person)
- According to a CNN.com article, travel agents charge a 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. Some agents charge an annual retainer to customers who want services delivered at their disposal.
- An article at DailyFinance.com, an online resource for finance, states that the average travel agent charges around $35 for airline services.
What is going to be included?
- Many travel agents charge flat rates per ticket or for custom trip packages. Others charge a certain percentage. When there are changes or cancellations, travel agents may charge a second fee on top of the airline fee. Additionally, travel agents charge customers for booking fees, hotel fees, car rental fees, change fees, and cancellation fees, among others.
- Service and transaction fees may vary from one travel agent to another. These fees can cover charges for air, cruise, hotel, car, tours, and other bookings for domestic and international travels.
What are the extra costs?
- Travel agents may charge for their time and research, with some requiring a $25 finder’s fee.
- Some travel agents also charge for consultation fees whether over the phone or through email. Reissuing tickets can also call for extra charges.
- Travel agents may also charge a planning fee or advice fee. A planning fee is usually required for clients who need to go on certain kinds of trips and are searching for individualized itineraries. Some require their clients to pay an upfront planning fee. Others charge a plan-to-go fee, which is usually applied to the trip if a customer actually travels.
Tips to know:
- Travel agent fees generally depend on the agent. You can always ask an agent upfront what his or her fees are and what they will cover. It is important to be aware early on what the potential costs will be.
- Every travel agent is different and has varied areas of specialization. Depending on what type of trip you are wanting to take, a particular travel agent will suit you better than another. This is why it is often critical to find an agent who has extensive knowledge and specialization in a location to which you plan to travel.
- While travel agents have access to the same outlets that people would use when booking trips, these agents also 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.
- Travel agents are ideal for those who do not know where they are traveling, booking large groups, or going overseas. With the fast growth of the Internet, it is going to be cheaper to book online 9 times out of 10.
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.
- Sign up for emails from deal websites based in locations where you plan to travel to find possible discounts.
- Ask your travel agent for any tips or tricks that will not only help save you time but also find deals that are only available to accredited travel agencies.
- If you are a member of AAA, they provide free travel services.
- If you travel frequently, find a good travel agent that you like and stick with him. Loyalty can always get you better service and possible discounts.
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