With visions of white-sand beaches and palm trees fluttering in the breeze, you hop online to research and book your next vacation. It can be exciting—and overwhelming. Search “Caribbean honeymoon cruise,” for example, and Google will show you almost 20 million results.

Even more times you should consider using a travel agent.

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Who has time to look at all those options? That’s time using a travel agent can save you.

But there are more benefits than convenience to using a travel agent. See the surprising real-life stories below, when a travel agent from AAA brought value in ways Google never could:

At an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, you become friends with a couple and, over dinner, compare prices on your suites. You learn they paid the same price for their ocean-view suite as you did for your garden-view room.

How did that happen? Turns out, the couple used one of AAA’s travel advisors, Charlita Dubose, to book their trip. Unlike a search algorithm, the advisor really cared about her clients. As young honeymooners, the couple could only afford a garden-view suite. But a few days before they arrived at the resort, Dubose took it upon herself to call the resort and ask if they would upgrade her clients—for free—to a better room. Voila! Ocean views for a week—and an unforgettable addition to their honeymoon.

“They called me from the resort, just ecstatic,” recalls Dubose. “The bride asked me, ‘Are you sure we’re in the right room?’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, sweetie—you’re in the right room.’ As agents, we do our best to go above and beyond and add that extra-special touch.”

On a self-drive trip through rural Ireland, your rental car is malfunctioning and the warning light comes on. You contact the car-rental company several times (not easy, due to spotty phone coverage), yet the company refuses to provide you with a new car.

Google seems great when you’re at home clicking away on your keyboard. But will it help you when you’re on the backroads of a foreign country, stuck with an unreliable rental car? Not likely.

Fortunately, this couple had booked their Ireland getaway through AAA Travel Advisor Alex Kantor. After getting nowhere with the car company’s local reps, they emailed Kantor—who immediately called his contact at the company. Quickly, the couple received a replacement car—upgraded, as a bonus—and were on their way, able to enjoy the rest of their holiday free from the stress of auto issues.

“When you have a travel agent, you have someone on your side,” Kantor says.

After doing plenty of research online, you self-book a cruise—only to see an ad from the same cruise line a month later, heralding a sale that could have saved you hundreds of dollars.

Most of us assume the internet will give us the lowest available prices. But using a travel agent is actually how you can become aware of upcoming, not-yet-available deals and discounts that haven’t reached the internet.

“If there is a major sale from, say, a certain cruise line, the travel agents often get a notification a month prior to the sale coming out,” Dubose says. “The travel operators want us to have that information first, before anyone else—even Google—because they know travel agents are the best word of mouth.”

Once they have the inside track on sales and deals, travel agents pass that information along to their clients—often ahead of Google.

See What the Hype Is All About

Contact a local AAA Travel Advisor today to find out how using a travel agent can help you plan your next vacation.

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