1. When you want to book everything with points.
Ahh, I love points. Until I don’t. My lovely fiancé flies often for work, always on the same route with the same airline. He’s racked up a lot of points, so we’ve been very excited to be able to upgrade our honeymoon tickets to business class because of them.
But come to find out, when you didn’t purchase a full-price ticket with your points, and then later you want to upgrade to a different class, the airline is going to take a ton of points from you and they’re going to charge you a huge fee. For us, that fee was the same price as our round trip, international, economy tickets. The airline essentially wanted to double the price of our tickets, and take 120,000 points too.
So if you’re a points junkie and haven’t actually used them yet, do your research first. It’s generally better to just use your points to buy a full-price ticket. Or use them to upgrade your domestic flights instead of international ones.
2. When you’ve already booked half the things yourself.
It seems innocent to contact a travel advisor for one hotel or one train ticket that you just haven’t been able to book yourself, but this is more troublesome than it seems. If you’ve booked a tour that overlaps with the train departure that we’ve secured for you, you’ll likely be upset with us. But we really can’t take responsibility for the information that we didn’t have. Imagine going to three different salons to have your hair done: one salon for your balayage treatment, another to cut your fringe, and a third to give you the perfect layers.
3. When you’re just looking for ideas, wanting to get an idea of price, and still haven’t decided when you’ll actually take the trip.
This is the information that the internet is full of. Hell, start with Matador Network. Then move on to websites like Lonely Planet and Fodor’s. All of these travel websites inspire and often give ballpark estimates on what you can expect to spend. When you’ve made up your mind and the dates are set, then give us a call to work out the specifics, logistics, and details.
4. When you only need a flight.
Full disclosure: We don’t make any money when booking flights. (And if we do, it’s very marginal.) Some of the best trips are those we take to visit friends in a new city — we’ve got a place to stay and our own personal guide for a long weekend. Restaurant recommendations, covered. Accommodation, easy. Best places to visit, just follow along. A travel advisor isn’t likely to find a cheaper price than Skyscanner, so it’s best to just book your flight on your own.
5. When you’re leaving in less than one month.
Trying to use a travel advisor in this scenario is just going to cause unnecessary stress for everyone. When planning an international vacation, a lot of emails are sent through a multitude of time zones. Some hotels and tour companies have contacts all over the world. More local experiences only have a small team on-site that may only answer your emails when they return from that day’s wine tour. In addition, travel advisors are always working on multiple itineraries at once and last-minute inquiries automatically push everyone else back, which isn’t really cool.