Published in Forbes Magazine February 2020 by Christopher Elliott - Lifestyle Contributor
If you're planning a trip after the pandemic, maybe it's time to call a professional. A competent travel agent can help you navigate the strange new world of airlines, hotels and rental cars. Travel is radically and almost unrecognizably different after the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why you need a travel advisor, say experts.
A travel expert can handle any emergency that may arise when you're on the road — everything from a missed flight connection to a hotel that closes unexpectedly. But remember, an online travel agency is not the same as a travel agent.
"Try dealing with an online travel site at 10 p.m. when your connecting flight gets canceled while you are in flight," says consumer expert Chip Bell. "Travel sites are filled with data and information; travel agents are filled with wisdom and ingenuity." It's a discovery a lot of travelers made at the start of the pandemic.
So why do you need a travel advisor for your post-pandemic trip? Here are 10 things a travel advisor can do for you:
1. Prepare you for the travel experience
2. Understand where you're going
3. Screen every travel company
4. Hold your hand
5. Help you navigate the rules of travel
6. Be available to you 24/7
7. Leverage insider contacts to help you have a smoother trip
8. Go the extra mile to get you home
9. Solve your problems
10. Help you secure a no-hassle refund if necessary