“Hiring a professional to do something you could do yourself can be a good idea or a bad one. It comes down to the value you receive.”The Seattle Times, July 2011


I just got off the phone with my travel agent.  

Yes, I might be one of the few who still resort to this ‘dated’ practice, when it’s so easy to book your own travel plans online.

But here’s the thing.

Spur of the moment, my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Hawaii. We called out favorite hotel and were told there was limited room availability at the start of the holidays – plus prices would be higher than usual.

Then we attempted to reserve a flight on the airline’s website, only to learn there was only room for one of us on any given flight.

Clearly, this wouldn’t do.

Enter the travel agent.

The beauty of working with a travel agent is that, for a minimal fee ($35 in our case) she was able to book a flight – for both of us – plus a hotel room at a reasonable rate.

She did all this, and saved us about $2000.

I compare hiring a travel agent to hiring an interior designer. I think you’ll be amazed by the similarities!


Expensive? Says Who?

Hiring a travel agent, or interior designer – or any professional, for that matter – won’t necessarily cost you more.

Changes are, you will even save money in the end.

This is because interior designers not only know the ins and outs of their business, they also know where to find you the best deals. Plus, a knowledgeable professional can always steer you clear from potentially pricey mistakes.

Same thing goes for the travel agent.

Enough said.


You Can Save Time, As Well As Money

For every do-it-yourselfer, there will always be someone who finds designing a home by themselves, or planning a trip, to be an arduous chore.

Again, this is where professional help can be invaluable.

What you’re paying for, is someone to do the research and handle all the details – things that you either aren’t good at yourself, or don’t enjoy doing.

Cause let’s face it, who has the time these days to spend on extra things they don’t even enjoy?

In the world of interior design there is an endless array of design options, and decisions to be made, whether you’re looking for paint colors or selecting new furniture.

A professional interior designer will instantly assess your needs, determine your design style and make the appropriate selections, all while narrowing down the list of options to a reasonable few.

An interior design can restore order and sanity to your life.

Ditto the travel agent.


You’ll Have Your Own Personal Consultant

“How valuable would it be if an expert could tell you to stay at Hotel A but avoid Hotel B, or choose the great snorkeling excursion but skip the lame biking tour?” Seattle Times, July 2011

On that note, think how valuable it would be to have an expert advise you against Sofa A for reasons X, Y, Z – and suggest Sofa B instead, for reasons that really work in your favor? And to recommend the appropriate fabric and colors?

Chances are, Sofa B might even be less expensive than Sofa A  –  yet offer equally good quality.

These are the little details that most of us aren’t privy to, and in my book such advice is priceless.

Whether you’re remodeling an entire home, or simply changing out your dining room furniture, knowing that expert advice is available to you is important!

Imagine having someone hold your hand and show you the way, past all the confusion and unlimited possibilities?

That person can either stay by your side until the work is done, or simply help you get started – then allow you take over your own project.

Perhaps the bottom line is to ask yourself this – what kind of experience are you really looking for?

As for myself, I’m inclined to work with a travel agent every time.