Home Travel Travel Agent vs. Travel Advisor: What’s The Difference & How To Decide If You Need One

Travel Agent vs. Travel Advisor: What’s The Difference & How To Decide If You Need One

by SharonKurheg

For years, there have been two camps when planning travel: going the DIY route or having someone else do all the work.

Some people, like my husband, thrive on doing it all themselves. They know how to look for the best flights and hotels (“best” can be price, time frame, brand name or a mixture of all three). They love learning all the ins and outs of what they can do on the trip and making an itinerary based on that. All that work can take them hours, days or even weeks of worth, but to them, it’s worth it because that’s half the fun of the trip.

Others are just as happy having someone else do all the legwork. And that’s OK too; it’s a Your Mileage May Vary situation.

Which one is best for you? That’s up to you, based on a variety of factors. This might help:

Do You Need A Travel Agent To Plan A Trip? (This Was Not Written By A Travel Agent)

Meanwhile, if you’ve been planning trips (or using travel agents) for a while, you may have seen or heard a new phrase in the past few years: Travel Advisor.

What is the difference between a travel agent and a travel advisor? Virtually nothing.

ASTA stands for the American Society of Travel Agents. Well, of Travel Advisors, now. Founded in 1931, they’re a trade association that was formed to represent and defend the business and regulatory public policy interests of travel intermediaries, including travel agencies and tour providers.

Over time, the duties of travel agents have changed; nowadays they do a whole lot more than just booking trips. So in 2018, they decided on a name change, from Travel Agent to Travel Advisor.

Same (ever-evolving) job…different name. It’s all good. 😉

Feature Photo: U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

2 comments

DaninMCI August 11, 2021 - 7:07 am

It’s the same thing but sometimes Travel Advisors are employees of agencies versus the owners or principals of the agency so it can make a difference. I also love the thrill of the hunt and like doing it all myself but there are situations where a travel agent/advisor can help. They can almost always get you a better deal or better perks on cruise ships or all-inclusive resorts. They also are helpful for complicated trips like Safari’s and such. They really can’t do much for air or hotels but they will do all the leg work if time is important to you.

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Christian August 11, 2021 - 3:41 pm

If you need a competent travel agent, the gold standard is CTC (Certified Travel Counselor). It’s tough to attain and has prerequisites that include years of work history so if you need to find someone experienced an competent, it’s a good way to go. Interesting that ASTA changed their name.

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