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Ask a travel pro: Why use a travel agent

Every Monday we are picking the brains of area travel professionals to learn more about where to go, how to do it and how to save money. This week, we're talking to Donna Oliver, senior vice president at TravelPlex Travel & Cruises in Creve Coeur. 

Why do you think travelers use travel agents? Smart travelers save time, money and headaches by booking with a travel agent. We have up-to-date real information on what’s happening around the world. We are also there to help you when there’s a problem. If a volcano erupts, a flood happens, or you miss your connection, a travel agent is there to take care of you. Most of the time, in an emergency, you can’t even get through to the airlines. Why travel alone when for the same price, you can have an advocate on call.

What is the most important thing you provide for your clients? The most important thing a travel agent provides is peace of mind. We make sure you get the best value at the best price for a trip that is right for you. We know travel and can give you insider tips based on experience.

Why are cruises so popular? Cruises are popular for people who want to be on the move without packing and unpacking. They are a way to explore in a safe and comfortable environment with entertainment and restaurant options at your doorstep.

What are some of the most unusual cruises you are booking right now? Cruises with certain themes are popping up as alternative travel to events like the Winter Solstice for the Mayan calendar or as an alternative for the Olympics housing. Barging with friends is very popular as well. You bring your own group of friends and barge together so you can bike, hike and sightsee with your friends. Oh, and did I mention party every night?

For you personally, do you like to take excursions or just explore a city? I have been very fortunate to have traveled to many places, but for every new city that I visit, I take at least a ½ day guided tour just to get my bearings and to make sure that I don’t miss anything. Some excursions save you a great deal of time by not having to wait in lines. There are also some tours that take you to places you could never get to on your own because it requires a special permit or guide.

What's the next trip you have planned for yourself? Actually, in two weeks, I am returning to Jamaica for my anniversary. We were married there. After that, I plan to go to Ankor Wat in Cambodia.

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