Angie's List: Travel agents can help you save money & plan ideal trip

LEWISTON, ID - Travel agents know the ins and outs of different destinations.

They have a wealth of money-saving tips and tricks that you simply won't learn online. When you have a specific budget to work with, an agent can help you design a vacation within those parameters.

"It might be surprising to consumers, but a lot of times there may not be a fee for you to use a travel agent," said Angie's List owner Angie Hicks. "A travel agent oftentimes gets paid by the hotel chains or other vendors."

Because they spend their time booking vacations and working with different resorts, travel agents have the resources to find the best bargains. They provide one stop access for travel, accommodations and activities.

"Nobody wants to get on to a cruise line and find out that they are all full of senior citizens and their children are all disappointed because they expect to have fun and have somewhat of a night life only to find out that no one is having any nightlife at all," said Certified Travel Agent Mark Moorhead. "The itinerary is very important as well as obviously the cost and the travel agent is capable is most appropriate, which one travels to the itinerary that you want and quite frankly again we can find the lowest fare for you."

Sherry Frey, an experienced traveler, booked a trip in May 2011 for her and her husband, Charlie, to go to Alaska in August 2011. She saw an ad in the paper for the Alaska trip and booked the trip with a tour company, but the trip never happened because the tour company went bankrupt two months prior to their trip.

"In the future for my travel I will be using a company that I have either traveled with before or I have friends that will vouch for the integrity of the travel company," said Frey. "If a deal looks too good to be true then I think maybe it probably is."

Most travel agents are experienced travelers themselves, and often times travel to the same destinations their clients will visit. They have been to places and can provide you the ins and outs of their experience.

A good travel agent knows when the best times to travel are. Getting a good deal is great, but you don't want to be stuck in a hotel room the entire time because you booked during the rainy season. Agents keep up with what is going on around the world and can help you avoid areas or times that would prove to be less than desirable.