There are so many cool things to do and amazing places to travel to around the world — and it’s easier than ever to book your dream (splurge!) vacation or a girls’ weekend. You might think travel agencies are a thing of the past, but there are so many advantages to using this often untapped resource. Here, Alexa Scott, travel advisor with SmartFlyer, explains it all.

woman riding scooter on vacation

1. Travel agents focus on the personal experience. Alexa says, “Researching your trip on the internet can be both a blessing and a curse, and an experienced travel advisor can weed out the mediocrity and focus attention on top personal recommendations.” The advisor’s job is to know the destinations inside and out and build relationships with properties, so they can help you find the best place. “We’ve experienced them ourselves, and we’re able to know with absolute certainty what the best fit is for you and why. We’ve got the tools to put together the exact trip you’re looking for, which can be challenging and time consuming to do on your own.”

2. It might not cost you anything. Alexa does not charge a fee to book travel, but she notes that it “will vary from advisor to advisor and agency to agency, where some might charge a nominal fee for their services and expertise.” Don’t let this “scare you off — the fee more than often will pay for itself with the added value (upgrades, VIP treatment, special touches) that’s brought to the booking,” she says.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

3. It’s really helpful to have someone else take care of the details. “We bring value to almost every trip,” Alexa says, as big as a honeymoon, corporate travel or a multigenerational trip (like that cruise with your grandma and four aunts), or as small as a quick weekend getaway. “A simple two-night trip to New York City that’s easy to book online can be even better when you have an advisor helping you. He or she could potentially get a better rate or included amenities such as breakfast or an upgrade.”

4. Bookings can mean anything and everything. Advisors can book not only rooms but tours, transportation and more. “At SmartFlyer, we even have an air travel specialty team that books, tracks and manages all our client’s air travel.” As far as trends go, Alexa notes that Zika has affected travel to the Caribbean and South America, but that many of the bookings have shifted to other amazing places like Hawaii. She has clients traveling everywhere from Dove Mountain in Arizona for a quick babymoon to a client who booked a 66-day cruise from San Francisco to Hong Kong to escape the winter doldrums.

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(Photos via Getty)