As a wedding photographer, and one of the first wedding vendors a couple typically hires when they start planning their wedding, I am asked all the time for vendor referrals – florists, makeup artists, videographers, DJs… But one vendor I’m not asked about often enough is a travel agent! I would argue that a travel agent can be one of the most valuable wedding vendors you could hire for your wedding. To prove my point, I have partnered with my favorite travel agent, the wonderful Callie Ritsema from Ritz World Travel, to share with you all the reasons you need a travel agent in your life.
Callie and I met several years ago when we were both working for the same company. Eventually both of us parted ways with that company, and she went on to pursue her dream of owning her own travel business. Anyone who knows Callie, knows this is truly what she was meant to do. Her passion is exploring the world and helping others do the same. Having been to thirty-four countries, Callie has first-hand knowledge of hundreds of different cities and airports around the world, and vast knowledge of different resort brands, travel insurance, regulations, and tourist fees to share when planning, booking, and preparing her clients for travel.
If that alone isn’t enough to sell you, travel agents like Callie have access to dozens and dozens of travel suppliers. If you book directly with Expedia, you get Expedia’s prices. If you book directly with Apple Vacations, you get Apple’s prices. If you book with Callie, she will search all of her suppliers to make sure you’re getting the best rate out there. And because of her relationships with these travel suppliers, she has access to different promotions and deals that you can’t find yourself online. Weddings can definitely be expensive, but your honeymoon doesn’t have to be! Hiring a travel agent can and will save you money. There is no extra cost for hiring a travel agent; they are paid by the travel suppliers they use.
Finally, my favorite reason you need a travel agent for your next vacation is the pure convenience of it. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, right?! But planning one is a lot of work and can definitely be stressful. The last thing you need when you’re trying to plan your wedding is the added stress of trying to plan your honeymoon at the same time. You have enough on your plate, and the nitty gritty details of your honeymoon is definitely something you can and should delegate.
Back in the fall, I contacted Callie to plan a trip for my sister and I. We wanted something tropical and relaxing as well as affordable. She found us a great, all-inclusive resort and BOOM, in no time, our trip was booked! Fast forward a couple months and we found out the airline had canceled our original flights. (Um am I the only one who did not know that was something that could happen MONTHS before you are supposed to fly?!) Callie emailed us to let us know, and, in that email, had not one, but THREE options of how we could proceed. Long story short, Callie found us a new flight (which as an added bonus ended up being cheaper than our original flight!) and everything was back on track. The best part? All I had to do was answer an email; she took care of everything else! What could have been an incredibly stressful situation, that would have cost me a lot of time had we handled all of our accommodations ourselves, was not a problem at all with Callie in our corner.
Let’s be real here. Delayed flights, lost baggage, and overbooked hotels happen more often than we’d all like. When these things do happen, instead of calling a 1-800 number and spending hours on hold while on vacation (or worse, your honeymoon!), having a travel agent means you have someone to deal with the issue for you. The internet doesn’t care about you. The company representative in a call center in another country doesn’t always care about you. But travel agents like Callie certainly do care about their clients, and work tirelessly to make sure their vacations are as seamless as possible.
So now that you know everything travel agents have to offer, who’s ready to take an amazing trip?! I want to say a big thank you to Callie for not only helping me with this valuable post for all of you guys (and how gorgeous are her travel photos?!), but for her amazing customer service when planning my own vacation. I can’t wait to plan my next trip with her. To get in touch with Callie, check out her website and go give her a follow on Facebook and Instagram!