Before You Talk to a Travel Agent for Your Next Trip, Do This

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KEY POINTS

  • Using a travel agent could make your next trip easier and more affordable.
  • If you're a Costco member, you may want to use Costco Travel for your upcoming vacation.
  • Costco offers exclusive travel packages to members, and if you're an executive member, you can even get 2% cash back on the booking.

We all need a good vacation once in a while. But seeing as how the cost of travel is way up these days, and given the fact that flights tend to be limited and overbooked, it may be in your best interest to get some help planning your trip.

You could go the travel agent route in this regard. But if you're a Costco member, there's another option worth considering.

It pays to book travel through Costco

Costco Travel is a service that's available to Costco members only. With Costco Travel, you can book a trip to a wide range of destinations, from Europe to the Caribbean to theme parks.

One of the primary benefits of booking travel through Costco is getting access to exclusive deals and packages that may result in a much lower credit card tab than what a travel agent can find for you. Plus, when you book travel through Costco, you get access to dedicated travel specialists who can help you find the right trip and finalize its details. You'll also get help navigating issues that might arise.

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Let's say, for example, that you need to make changes to an itinerary you've booked. You can simply call Costco Travel, speak to an agent, and tweak your plans accordingly. You may also have options if you need to cancel your trip completely (though depending on when you're canceling, you may not be entitled to a full refund).

It especially pays to consider booking your next trip through Costco if you have an executive membership. The reason? This membership tier gives you 2% cash back on all Costco purchases, and that extends to any travel you book. So you might end up getting a nice amount of money back to spend at Costco upon returning from your travels.

And speaking of money back at Costco, even if you don't have an executive membership, you might still be eligible for a Costco cash card as part of your vacation package. Right now, for example, Costco is offering a host of itineraries on Norwegian Cruise Lines, and all of its packages come with a Costco cash card as an added perk. If you shop at Costco regularly, that's like getting free money.

An option worth exploring

Using a travel agent to plan your next trip could end up being a rewarding experience. And if you have a relationship with a travel agent you've worked with before, you may want to stick with them, especially if you've always been happy with the vacations they've helped you book.

But if you're torn between using a travel agent versus booking a trip through Costco, it pays to at least see what packages are available through the latter. If there's a deal that catches your eye, you may find that you're able to spend less on your trip by booking through Costco.

Also remember that when you book with Costco, you get access to a network of travel specialists who can help you troubleshoot issues as they arise. If your travel agent happens to have a family emergency the week of your vacation, they may not be available to help you in a pinch. So that, too, is a good reason to give Costco Travel a chance.

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