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Weekend Getaway Guide

When (and Why) to Use a Travel Agent

No, the Internet isn’t always the best option when it comes to booking your vacation. Find out when to turn to a travel agent.

Suitcase with travel stickersJonelle Weaver

You Don’t Need a Travel Agent If…

You’re Only Booking a Flight

Let’s say you’re visiting a friend in Arizona and all you need is the flight out there. With all of the discount flight sites available, it’s usually easier, and generally about the same price, to just book it yourself.

You Want to Use Your Miles

Travel agents aren’t able to use your points or rewards card miles to book a flight or hotel for you—you’ll have to book on your own if you’d like to use them. “You also aren’t able to use points or miles to buy flights on sites like Expedia or Orbitz, either, only directly through the site of the company who is giving the points or miles,” says Vong.

You Find a Fantastic Deal on a Deal Site

Go ahead and book a travel deal that you find on a site like LivingSocial, Groupon or Travelzoo. Just remember that you’ll need to be flexible with the travel dates (most deals are offered for off-peak times, like travel on a weekday only, or for a Sunday night at a hotel), and be wary of expiration dates.

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Packing for a family vacation? Travel versions of favorite games won’t crowd suitcases, and playing them will keep kids from begging to watch TV at night. Get more tips.