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When a live human trumps online travel sites

Travel agents are most helpful when it comes to “milestone” trips, according to Travel + Leisure’s special projects editor, Jacqueline Gifford. Those are instances when you may want to leave it to a pro to handle the logistics of traveling to an exotic locale and coordinating flights, ground transportation, accommodations and dinner reservations, or even a local tour guide or translator.

Travel agents can also, for example, work their industry connections to secure an upgraded room with an ocean view or the best cabin on a cruise. They might even get you into a place that appears fully booked or lobby on your behalf if something goes wrong.

But outsourcing the work and stress of the trip to other humans also comes at a cost. Travel pros might get paid on commission by hotels and resorts but could also charge a flat fee for putting the whole package together — an expense, however, that could end up paying for itself if it’s a truly memorable — and hassle-free — vacation.

“On the Money” airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.

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