Planning a trip effectively can often feel daunting, since finding the best travel options demands free time that the individual cannot spare. Travel agents ease this burden for their customers by providing consultation, and putting together entire travel packages that are specific to the traveler. Agents may book flights, cruises, arrange rental cars and hotel rooms, as well as resort stays and events.
For the client however, apart from providing their travel agent with needed information, the time leading up to departure can be spent on picking out a new underwater camera, choosing a comfortable sunbathing outfit, or packing the right tools and materials to fuel a hobby while abroad.
Generally, the main revenue for leisure travel agencies comes through commissions from vacation packages, cruises, and add-ons. With the disappearance of airline commissions, and the ability to book one's own airfare and hotels online, travel agents must charge fees as a part of doing business. In return, they save you time, and can contribute their training, knowledge, and expertise to bring you the best value.
Travel agencies either charge an up-front service fee for their time and research which is refundable upon final payment for the trip planned, or a non-refundable service fee for the agent’s expert consultation and research. In other cases, an agent might charge special fees for a la carte services. These services can include booking airline tickets, making reservations at exclusive restaurants, and securing rooms at smaller independent hotels that, unlike large international chain hotels, do not pay commissions to agents.
The fees vary from agency to agency, depend on the difficulty of the planning, and are commensurate with the individual trip or tasks involved.