Travel agencies work with families, newlyweds, and groups of all sizes to plan unique, meaningful, and unforgettable trips to Costa Rica. This article will walk through some of the benefits of working with a travel agent to design your dream trip.
Reasons to not hire a travel agent
Before talking about the benefits of a travel agent, here are some reasons why you may decide not to hire a travel agent for your trip.
- You are flying solo. Though travel agents have certainly designed specialty one-person itineraries when someone is traveling by themselves, they are in total control of where to go and what to do. Therefore, they may not need a travel agency to help mediate that process.
- You want to travel around via bus – in other words, you want to go backpacking. Bus travel is a great way to slow down and experience the country, as most Ticos do. However, for short-term vacations, it is not an efficient or comfortable way to get around the country.
Here is a list of reasons why you may think you may not want to hire a travel agent, but a travel agent would tell you otherwise:
- Travel agents are just for wealthy travelers. Most customized Costa Rican mid-level itineraries begin at $1,600 per person – which includes all domestic transportation, accommodations, activities, breakfasts, and some meals. (Learn more about costs here.)
- You have been to Costa Rica a few times already. Ask most seasoned travelers and they will tell you the benefits of working with a travel agency because they want to get the most out of their experience. They know that travel agents are constantly vetting the best providers and that working with a travel agency will give them access to those on-the-ground partnerships and high-quality guides. In fact, research has shown that people who travel at least twice a year are three times more likely to use a travel agent than those who travel less.
- You prefer to research everything on your own. A good travel agent will help reinforce everything you are learning online and provide up-to-date, insider information.
Reasons to hire a travel agent
- They have up-to-date knowledge about the country. A country like Costa Rica is in constant change. There are mudslides and road closures, and many restaurants and hotels will be open one day and closed the next. Your trip will be smoother if you take advantage of their insider knowledge.
- The devil is in the details! A good travel agency will provide you with a detailed itinerary for every trip that includes things like what to pack, where to eat, and how much to tip.
- Maximize your trip for less cost. Travel agents actually get you discounted options and decrease the amount of money you might waste on an unwanted activity or a poor transportation option
- Eliminate the surprises. The ideal vacation is both well-planned while also opening up space for serendipity. Things like the unexpected invitation to your tour guide’s coffee farm. Or meeting great people while hanging out at your boutique lodgings. However, negative surprises can cost time, money, and energy when you really want to be on vacation. Negative surprises we hear about all of the time are things like getting into a fender bender with a car rental, finding out that the national park is closed on Tuesdays, or realizing that the hotel is not what it looks like on the internet. Travel agents help to eliminate those surprises so that you can enjoy the magic of your trip.
- Achieve your dream of traveling. Research shows that people who use a travel agent are twice as likely (72%) to be prepared to actually take their trip as compared to people who don’t use a travel agent (47%).
What does a travel agent provide?
Depending on the agency, travel agents typically help you to:
- Determine the overall itinerary
- Decide where to go based on your group’s make-up
- Consider the best duration for your trip
- Think through the different activities available
- Reflect on group/family wishes to arrange the best possible accommodations for your budget
- Feel confident about the in-country transportation providers you will use
- Understand the flow of a day and when and where you can eat so that you will not get to the end of the day without having had a full meal!
- Make sure you are thinking through all of the details of the trip
Another way to look at it is that a travel agent is like purchasing travel insurance for your trip. You are investing time, energy, resources, vacation days, and dreams in this trip, and you want to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Access to the best hotels and tours
The number of tourists traveling to Costa Rica increased by 20% over last year with 1.3 million visitors coming to the country in the first half of the year. That means that the best lodging sells out fast. A travel agency can help ensure that you have access to the best accommodations.
Value for Specific Types of Trips
Below are some of the reasons why we have seen different traveling groups get benefits out of working with a travel agent.
Why Families Should Hire a Travel Agent
Families traveling to Costa Rica are hoping to build some strong core memories. Families typically want to move around and do a lot while in the country. This takes a lot of pre-coordination and decisions around the itinerary. It helps when a third party can listen to all of the “dreams” for the ultimate family vacation and put together a trip that meets everyone’s needs. For instance, maybe mom and son want to do zip-lining in the morning while dad and daughter do stand-up paddling. It’s all possible!
Why Honeymooners Should Hire a Travel Agent
Honeymooners are typically looking to relax and be pampered after all the effort of hosting a wedding for their friends and family. Their trips tend to be slightly shorter, with less moving around and more emphasis on the quality of accommodations. This is where a travel agent will provide up-to-date knowledge on resorts and boutique hotels. There have been plenty of times when we have gone to do an inspection of a hotel only to find that management has changed and the facilities are not what they used to be.
Why Adventure Seekers Should Hire a Travel Agent
Adventure seekers are usually intrepid travelers, and as a result, they want the best possible experience. They want to go with the best guides on the most off-the-beaten-track tours and stay in the most unique accommodations. We know this because we feel the same way! In-country travel agents are always learning about the best new offerings and can share that information with adventure-seeking travelers.
Work with a Travel Agent to Plan Your Costa Rica Vacation
If you’re interested in working with a travel agent to create a unique and customized trip to Costa Rica, here are some helpful things to know:
- Cost: There is no cost to work with Costa Rica Escapes. Travel agents make money by building meaningful partnerships with lodging, activity, and transportation providers and securing discounts from each of these. The way that we build these meaningful partnerships is through loyalty, communication, visits (“inspections”), and knowing people by name. Therefore, your trip is literally built on the positive relationships we have grown over the last 20 years.
- Process: Prior to your trip, you will have at least one phone conversation and probably a few back-and-forth emails with your Travel Agent, where she/he will ask you questions to send you a Proposed Itinerary. Once you are satisfied with the itinerary, you will reserve your trip with a deposit (or full payment if the trip is within 45 days). One week before your trip, your agent will send you a Detailed Itinerary of your trip, which includes all of your reservation information and lots of insider tips on what to pack or where to grab dinner after the white-water rafting trip. Before, during, and after your trip, you will always be able to contact your travel agent and trust that they will respond to help.
- Satisfaction: The only reason we have been able to continue designing unique, memorable trips for 20 years is because our customers love us and tell their friends and families. Here is a link to some of the Testimonies and Reviews we’ve collected over the last 20 years.
Contact us below to speak to us about your trip to Costa Rica!
John Rabenau has been working in the eco-tourism & adventure travel industry in Costa Rica since 2002. He has worked in a variety of capacities from Outdoor Educator & Principle Guide to Itinerary Design Manager & Business Owner for numerous organizations. He has grown Costa Rica Escapes into one of the most reputable Costa Rica travel agencies since its creation in 2006, hosting more than 5,000 people with custom vacation itineraries.