In a world where booking travel to countless exotic locales is simple enough to do with just a few mouse clicks, why would anyone want to use a travel agent? These huge sites have made it simple, and honest reviews minimize the chances of getting a dud hotel or booking a lacklustre experience.
These sites do a good job of making it easy, too, offering flights, hotels, and various vacation packages. You just tell it where you want to go and what days work for you, and in a couple of minutes, there are seemingly countless options to choose from. They also have all sorts of last-minute deals, quite interesting for the right kind of traveler.
However, there are still a few reasons someone might want to use a travel agent. The sheer amount of variety can be overwhelming for many, and all they want is someone experienced to sort through all the options. Others might be rookie travelers and enjoy the security of someone they can call if things go sideways. A good travel agent will also consider things even veteran travelers haven't considered.
The old joke is that only seniors use travel agents since they're not technologically adept. But that's not especially true anymore. Many younger people are using travel agents, choosing to trust their precious vacation time to a professional instead of entering the complex world of travel websites. Agents will listen to your input and cater their offerings accordingly. It's much harder for a website to offer the same service.
There is also the benefits of a major travel platform that is member-exclusive, like Costco Travel, which you get with a Costco membership.
Getting all the details right is essential for families since taking the kids along costs so much more. Travel professionals can ensure the resort is kid-friendly, suggest age-appropriate entertainment nearby, and ensure the family sits together on the plane. Besides, a trip without a hitch is bound to maximize happy memories, and who can put a price on that?
Let's look at some of Calgary's top travel agents and solid choices to help plan your next trip to Europe, Asia, or beyond.
What are the best travel agents in Calgary to use right now?
- Boulevard Travel
- The Travel Lady
- Moon Travel
- Crowfoot Travel Solutions
- Flight Centre
- Airline Ticket Centre
- Marlin Travel
- Alberta Motor Association
Alberta Motor Association
Alberta Motor Association (AMA) offers all sorts of benefits for its members, including discounts at dozens of retailers, a variety of discounted gift cards, various insurance products, and all types of travel deals. AMA also offers travel insurance that is generally cheaper and better than most other offerings.
For those who don't want to book their tickets, AMA has more than 200 different certified travel specialists spread across the province.
It also has five locations inside the city: Sunridge, Shawnessy, Crowfoot, Willowpark, and the main office on 17th Ave Southwest. And if that's not enough, AMA also has a call centre you can phone and speak to an agent that way.
AMA has so many agents that many choose to specialize in certain regions. You can easily find agents specializing in Africa, India, Pakistan, the Caribbean, or Mexico.
Since AMA is part of the Canadian Auto Association, it's a significant player in the travel world. This allows it to offer some pretty compelling deals from providers the agents know and trust.
This combines to make AMA Travel one of the best travel agencies in Alberta, even if you have to pay for its expertise.
Marlin Travel is Canada's largest retail travel agency chain, boasting more than 50 locations nationwide. It has one location in Calgary, located just off Macleod Trail. The company has a long history of providing various travel services for Canadians under previous owners and its current parent, Air Transat.
The company bills itself as your one-stop shop for all your travel needs, offering holiday packages, flights, hotels, car rentals, gift cards, and cruises.
It also has a fully functional website where you can search for deals, narrowing down your choices before contacting an agent.
Some may dislike Marlin's corporate owner, saying the company is more likely to push Air Transat holiday packages. But actually, the opposite is true. Its stature translates into many varieties, including partnerships with cruise liners, hotel chains, and tour groups. These providers want access to the customer's Air Transat offers, and the parent knows it has to be at least competitive or lose business.
Airline Ticket Centre
Airline Ticket Centre is one of Calgary's oldest and most trusted travel agents, with thousands of happy reviews from satisfied customers. It has operations across Canada, with a local office in Calgary located on 16th Ave North, close to SAIT.
This YYC travel agent specializes in flights, whether one-way, round-trip or even multiple destinations. It also has a reputation for finding good deals, even going as far as saying they'll have the best price via a price match guarantee.
You can use it to book tickets most everywhere, but this travel agent specializes in finding deals a little closer to home, including bargains on travel to Las Vegas, Mexico, and the South Pacific.
No matter where your next adventure may be, Airline Ticket Centre can help.
Like Airline Ticket Centre, Flight Centre focuses primarily on finding great deals on flights for its customers. The company previously had locations in Calgary but now services all clients in Alberta via their AB Virtual Flight Centre. Flight Centre agents are just a phone call away, or you can always email them.
One thing that separates Flight Centre from its peers is its various hand-picked promotions from its agents, a combination of good deals, unique experiences, and more traditional stays at top resorts.
Flight Centre also offers special accommodations for group travels, the option to connect with BIPOC-owned travel providers, and various travel guides to help customers get up to speed on particular destinations. It also specializes in last-minute deals, perfect for those with the flexibility to leave anytime.
And like most choices on this list, Flight Centre has a dedicated 24-hour hotline travellers can call if they run into an emergency. That security is a major reason people choose to use travel agents.
Crowfoot Travel Solutions
Crowfoot Travel is a truly local option and one of the best travel agents in Calgary. The company recently removed its office but still offers local agents working from their homes to help Calgarians and their guests plan weekend getaways, destination weddings, or trips to more exotic locales -- like Cuba, The Middle East, or Hawaii.
The company also has a media division, which produces The Informed Traveler Podcast. Listeners can check it out wherever they get their podcasts or tune in on the radio each Sunday. Episodes are played on 770 CHQR in Calgary, 980am CKNW in Vancouver, and 630 CHED in Edmonton, with the show's aim to simply help its listeners become better travellers. Recent episodes include info on various cruise lines, reviews of travel experiences in the United States, and general tips on the travel industry.
Crowfoot Travel should top your list if you're looking for a more old-school local travel agent.
Moon Travel and Tours is a travel agent located just outside of Calgary with an office in New Horizon Mall in Balzac. The company offers various budget and luxury travel options, including transportation to and from Calgary's airport. It also specializes in Hajj and Umrah packages, and spiritual journeys into the Islamic world.
The company also offers various wedding travel options, with several packages available for destination weddings in places like Las Vegas, Mexico, or the Caribbean.
The Travel Lady
The Travel Lady is another truly local Calgary travel agent. Lesley and her team have been in business since 1995 and specialize as a mature leisure travel agency offering customized vacation packages to exotic locations like Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific. The company's office is located at Lake Bonavista Promenade.
The Travel Lady also has one of Calgary's largest travel newsletters -- with a current readership of more than 10,000 people --, and Lesley is an active media personality with regular features on Global News. She has also contributed to publications like Chatelaine and Reader's Digest. She's also a prolific traveller, gaining valuable first-hand experience that gets passed on to clients.
The Travel Lady delivers if you're looking for a truly local travel agent.
Boulevard Travel is another Calgary-first local travel agent. Its main office is located on Fairmount Drive, with a secondary office in Nova Scotia. It primarily works in more specialized travel niches, including corporate retreats, sports travel, and destination weddings.
The sports travel option is exciting. Boulevard is Canada's largest amateur sports travel management company, meaning it'll help coaches get their teams to and from games smoothly. It works with 22 different Olympic sports federations and vows to manage travel to any corner of the planet.
Boulevard also specializes in corporate travel, offering a "white glove" package that separates it from its competitors. They can offer greater customization, enticing for clients without many budget constraints.