Should You Use an Online Travel Agency Like

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The pros and cons of booking travel with an online travel agency

Back then, whenever I wanted to book a flight, I remember driving to town to visit our local travel agent. Driving there, waiting in line, and asking the travel agent to look for available flights took me about 50 minutes to an hour, depending on the availability of flights. Then, came the internet. Travel websites like began popping up, allowing us to search, reserve, and purchase airline tickets in as quick as a few minutes.

Nowadays, travel agencies, while still in the industry, are no longer my first choice. Whenever I need a ticket, I get on my laptop and start looking for cheap tickets online. But it makes me wonder, does this mean brick-and-mortar travel agency are soon to be obsolete? Below, I wrote down the pros and cons of buying airline tickets from online travel agencies like JustFly.

The pros of booking with an online travel agency

The pros and cons of booking travel with an online travel agency

The first reason why I like booking flights through online travel agencies is the convenience it provides. Like I said above, I need not drive to town and wait in line just to search for available tickets. Aside from that, these book-it-yourself websites are up and running 24/7, which means I can check for price drops or fluctuations even on holidays, or on school nights when the kids are already in bed.

The second reason why I book online is the flexibility it offers. Real life travel agencies may have an extensive number of flights and travel services in their listings, but rarely are they complete. When booking online, you can just jump from one online travel agency to another, allowing you to compare the prices and see which ones have the lowest price available.

Next reason is that it makes booking multi-destination trips a lot easier. Sometimes, I want to make the most out of my vacation by taking a multi-destination trip – but most of the time, the local travel agency’s staff are not able to do so because they do not have contracts with the airline that flies to these areas. Because of that, I would go out and drive around to find other travel agencies who have such contracts. This is rarely the case for online travel agencies.

And last but perhaps the main reason to book through online travel agencies is affordability. Real-life travel agencies earn income through added fees. Sometimes, the agents charge a consultation fee, I even encountered a travel agency that asked me to pay them per hour. For online travel agencies like JustFly, not only will you be able to search for flights for free, you will also be able to alter or cancel your flights without having to shell out on additional fees.

The cons of booking through an online travel agency

The pros and cons of booking travel with an online travel agency

Still, as convenient as online flight bookings may be, there are still a few disadvantages of booking flights yourself.

Because you are searching, booking, and buying your own flight tickets, online travel booking may take more time compared to simply paying for a travel agent to do it for you. For example, if you want to know about price drops, you will have to check the travel agency sites yourself.

Another disadvantage on booking online is that websites are simply websites. They do not have first-hand experience of the flights that you are about to book. In real-life travel agencies, you can ask the travel agent what they think about the airline. When booking online, you may have to manually search for legitimate airline reviews before knowing if the specific airline is the right choice for you.

The verdict:

Whether you should use an online or a traditional travel agency depends on your budget, time, and travel experience. If you are a newbie traveller who has almost zero idea about where and how to book a flight, then a traditional travel agency is right for you. However, if you already know which airline to choose, a carefully planned itinerary, and some experience in online transactions, then definitely go for an online travel agency, such as

* The photos used in this article are free for commercial use and require no attribution.

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