Nohora Rueda was all set to take her parents and her 8-year-old son, Elijah, to Hawai‘i for his spring break. They were looking forward to staying at an O‘ahu resort, absorbing Hawaiian culture, and enjoying the sand and surf.
“Then the pandemic hit,” says Rueda, a labor-and-delivery nurse, recalling the sudden upending of her plans. But she had booked her vacation through AAA travel advisor Pam Hardin, whose tenacity led to success. “She managed to cancel everything,” Rueda says, “and we got full refunds on absolutely everything—even the excursions.”
That level of service has distinguished travel agents, also known as travel advisors, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When travel ground to a halt, one silver lining was the new recognition and respect given to professional travel advisors,” says Theresa Norton, editor in chief of Agent at Home, a travel industry publication. “Those who booked with a travel agent had the counsel of a professional who could cancel or rebook reservations, answer questions, and even make last-minute, lightning-fast arrangements to fly their clients home before borders closed.”
In an age when many people book their own travel arrangements online, the COVID-19 crisis has reminded travelers of the value of dealing with a live person. Here are 4 great reasons to use a travel advisor.