ViaHero · January 25, 2019
Planning a trip shouldn’t be stressful—and that’s usually where travel agents come in. But these days, using a travel agent isn’t always the best idea. Here are the pros and cons of using a travel agency to plan your trip to Puerto Rico, plus helpful tips and suggestions on alternate ways to travel. Any questions? Message us.
Want to explore Puerto Rico differently? Have a local
Point 1: Knowledge
Pros: Travel agents have a ton of connections within the Puerto Rico tourism industry. That means they’re able to book travel packages and resort trips quite easily. For travelers who want to see Puerto Rico’ tourist attractions or stay in resorts with minimal fuss, this is a good option.
Cons: Since most travel agents don’t live in Puerto Rico, they lack firsthand experience and insider information. For that, you’re better off having someone who actually lives on the island plan your trip. Locals almost always have a more thorough knowledge of Puerto Rico’s hidden gems and can answer FAQs about Puerto Rico travel more easily.
Also: some parts of the island are still recovering from Hurricane Maria, so it’s important to have someone on the ground who actually knows which places to visit are still accessible and what parts of Puerto Rico are safe right now.
Point 2: Experience
Pros: Travel agents traditionally have a lot of experience planning trips, so they can give great recommendations on Puerto Rico tours and similar activities.
Cons: Travel agents are more likely to direct you to “tried and true” restaurants and activities, which means it’s a bit harder to experience the really cool things to do in Puerto Rico. Besides, not only is Puerto Rico safe to visit—its residents are also some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, so there’s no reason not to get off the beaten path.
Point 3: Customization
Pros: Travel agencies generally offer opportunities to personalize your trip, especially when it comes to tours, excursions, and hotels the like.
Cons: While travel agents do offer a degree of personalization, they work with large volumes of travelers—which means their itineraries and recommendations are often extremely similar. If you’re keen on personalizing your Puerto Rico itinerary with things you really want to experienc—or if you want to travel to Puerto Rico in a unique way—you might want to use a different planning method.
Point 4: Commissions
Pros: Travel agents make commissions from airlines, tour companies, accommodations, and rental car agencies for referring travelers to their services. This means travel agents often have a personal relationship with these organizations, and can occasionally get you better prices on stuff to do in Puerto Rico.
Cons: These commission incentives make it really tricky to tell if your travel agent is getting you the best deal possible—or whether they’re just lining up commissions for themselves. To avoid this issue, think outside the box. Use insider tips to see Puerto Rico like a local, and work with trip planners who don’t get paid on commission.
Point 5: Travel packages
Pros: Agents generally prefer to book travel packages with resorts or hotels (a pre-fabricated trip means less planning). And don’t get us wrong, all-inclusive resorts can be fantastic places to stay in Puerto Rico, as many feature gorgeous views and exclusive beaches. But...
Cons: Given the resorts’ distance from many popular things to do, it’s much harder to see any other parts of the island—or even find inexpensive ways to get to and from the resort itself.
Point 6: Local info
Cons: Again, the importance of firsthand experience can’t be overstated. Without actually living in Puerto Rico, it’s hard for travel agents to find hidden gems—or really anything that’s not on the beaten tourist path. Plus, without getting to know you or sharing your interests, it’s nearly impossible for them to give accurate personalized recommendations.
Conclusion: Use ViaHero instead.
It’s a straightforward equation. Travel agencies are a great option for the tourist crowd—and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But if you want to travel to Puerto Rico like a local, you’re much better off having an actual local plan your trip. ViaHero local trip planners (aka Heroes) work with you to create a personalized itinerary and guidebook so you can experience the island the way you want to see it. They cater specifically to your budget and tastes, so your adventure looks unlike any other. Whether you’re taking a cheap trip to Puerto Rico or a luxury resort vacation, your Hero will curate it so you don’t waste a minute doing anything you don’t love. With lodging recommendations, 24/7 phone support, and more, they’ll basically do everything but pack your bags.
Ready to jet off to Puerto Rico with a local’s help? We thought so. Before you do, check out these other resources and send us a message if you have any questions!