Travel Tip Tuesday: Airline tickets; to Buy or Not to Buy from a Travel Agent.

The age old question, do I buy airfare from a travel agency or on my own. The simple truth is airline rates are just plain tricky. Fares seem to keep increasing, and seats are decreasing. As one of the single most important aspects of your travel plans, purchasing your airline tickets can dictate where you go and when you go to a resort destination.

While we’d love to say we can offer deep discounts on airfare; we can’t. With the advent of airline tickets for sale on the Internet in the 90’s, the days of travel agents offering discounted airfare have long been over. You can find the same domestic airfare rates we can with the use of a computer or a tablet.

What we can share are tips on how to find the best rates.

Sign up to receive email from your favorite airline carrier, and enroll in frequent flyer programs. Airlines offer specials to attract direct consumer purchases so you might find a great deal to the resort destination you’ve been meaning to visit that an agent couldn’t find. Do a quick search of Expressway Weeks and you just might double down on two great deals!

If you’re searching for airfare, start with a broad online ticket resource, such as Travelocity or Orbitz. Find the lowest fare and then go direct to the airline. This practice can sometimes save you a few dollars, not to mention hassles if you need to make changes to your reservation later. (Southwest Airlines only sells their fares on Southwest.com – always check to see if this discount carrier is heading your way.)

Check additional baggage fees. Southwest is one of the few airlines that allow two bags free. Most charge you an average of $20 or $25 for your first checked bag and $35 for a second checked bag, each way. If you have a third bag, it’s even higher. Not to mention you’ll pay more if your bag(s) weighs over 50 pounds. Some are now charging to carry on. That can add up for one person let alone a family of four or more.

When you buy your ticket can also be a money saver. The rule of thumb was always at least two weeks advance purchase for a lower fare. These days, airlines base pricing on supply and demand, you just never know when you’ll find a good deal. It’s good to know most airlines tend to post their best deals early in the week.

There are still advantages to using a Travel Agent.

If you’re traveling out of the country with connections and layovers, a Global Connections’ travel agent is an invaluable resource. Not only can these professionals locate better deals by searching all the possible connecting flights, they can plan your trip with the least amount of hassles.

Plus, should something go wrong during your international adventure, speaking to your friendly Global Connections travel agent will put your mind at ease as they work to get you on your way.

When you book domestic or international travel through your Global Connections travel agent, you’ll have help when you need it. One phone call to our emergency service will put you in touch with a real person who can assist should you find yourself stranded or your flights cancelled.

What’s more, with your Global Discovery Vacations membership, you save on a booking fee. Travel agencies and travel websites assess an additional booking fee for the same services your Global Travel Agent will provide.

While there are many things to consider before booking a flight, one thing is certain—before you book your accommodations make sure you know how you’ll be getting there. Airfare rates are unpredictable. Make sure the fares fit in your travel budget before purchasing your nonrefundable condominium by doing a few quick Internet searches or calling your Global Connections Travel Agency.

Have you used the Global Connections Travel Agency for airfare, cruises or tours? Share your experience and insight in the comments below.

Stacey is a writer with an eye for design. She’s been with Global Discovery Vacations since 2004, directing the creative department. Her passion for the written word is equal only to that of rescuing dogs and playing volleyball.