When it comes to millennial travel planning, I can speak from experience.
A few years ago, some friends and I took a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean. At that point, all of us were in our early 20s and none of us had ever traveled much – I had never even stepped foot outside of the country. Needless to say, we really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.
Planning our trip took more time and effort than we anticipated. Between finding a travel package that fit our budget, arranging for transportation to and from the ship, and determining what excursions we wanted to take, we found ourselves completely overwhelmed.
If someone had suggested that I talk to a travel agent to help us book our trip, I would have been hesitant. I hadn’t heard of too many people my age using travel agents to plan. But the fact is, consulting a professional could have made our hectic weeks of planning much less stressful, and maybe could have made a great trip even better.
Millennials are the children of a new age of technology where almost everything can be done online. They’re also a generation of multitaskers whose free time tends to be scarce. Travel trends show that young adults are more likely to book trips on their own through hotel and flight booking websites before consulting travel and tour guide agencies.
Although the speed and ease of travel booking websites is appealing to the click-and-done digital generation, the value of using travel agents and guides for millennial travel planning is worth considering.
“Millennials are very informed consumers, but they can benefit from a travel agent’s expertise,” said Jill Rosenberg, manager of group and executive travel services for AAA Northeast. “Rather than spending hours on Google browsing dozens of travel websites, they can go to one person and get all the information they need then and there.”
Benefits of using a travel counselor for millennial travel planning
Planning a trip can take weeks of preparation, and many millennials don’t have that kind of free time. A travel agent can conduct all the necessary research and make arrangements on their behalf, saving them time to focus on other priorities.
When planning a vacation, travelers want to know they’re getting the most for their money. And while many websites allow users to compare hotel and airfare rates, there are many exclusive deals – like AAA discounted hotel rates – that are reserved for tour guides and travel agents. Agents bargain with cruise lines, hotels and airlines to get special rates and added benefits that can’t be found elsewhere, saving their clients hundreds of dollars.
Preparing alternate travel plans
Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances can cause a dream vacation to turn into a travel nightmare. Whether it’s a natural disaster, canceled flight or not-so-stellar hotel room, travel agents can make alternate arrangements to ensure your vacation isn’t ruined before it begins. Many agents prepare backup options in case the unexpected happens, providing their clients with peace of mind.
Creating a unique experience
Travel agents can provide a personalized vacation experience with unique opportunities that millennials might not be able to find on their own. A knowledgeable agent can recommend activities to clients based on their interests and hobbies. And travelers who work with the same agent consistently build a relationship, making it easier for the agent to find a destinations and activities that match their tastes.
Providing convenient service
Using a travel or tour guide service doesn’t have to mean going out of your way to drive to an agency. These days, many agents conduct their business via email and phone, making it easy for travelers to plan their trips without ever having to leave home. Many websites even offer online chat services which allow customers to connect with an agent and get answers in real time.
Although planning a trip on your own has never been easier, you could be missing out on all of these benefits!
Help out a Gen Y-er. Share your millennial travel tips in the comments.
Start planning your next vacation with a AAA travel agent today.