Travel agents seem like a thing of the past, but you might not realize how many vacationers actually use travel agents for every single vacation they take. There's a lot of pros to having a travel agent, and they certainly aren't only for the wealthy. Instead of the traditional agent, those today offer a huge variety of packages and charge vastly different fees based on their offerings. Sure, some agents may charge over $10,000 to plan a vacation for the immensely rich, but others might only charge commission (paid by the booking site, not you) to put together a simple package that you'll really enjoy. If you ask any of your friends, you'll probably find that someone you know has an agent they use often or at least has used an agent in the past.

Unfortunately, travel agents have gotten a bad rap, and some of the reasons for these negative reviews are legit. Travel scams are more prevalent than ever due to the instantaneous nature of the internet, and it can be hard to find a travel agent to work with who you really trust. Luckily, the internet also makes it easier to avoid being scammed, as you can double check all of your agent's work until you are sure you trust him or her.

Here are the top 11 ways your travel agent will try to trick you (to make an extra buck themselves) and 9 helpful ways that they are able to make your trip easier!

20 20. "Limited Time Only" Offers (Travel Agent Tricks)

You should always be wary of any limited time only offers, but those that require you to book immediately are especially suspicious. Airlines, hotels, and travel sites often do last minute deals that will need to be booked at that time, but that's because the trip is probably beginning within the next week. The types of deals you should avoid are the ones where you must book now but won't actually depart for two months or more.

At best, these trips have a lot of hidden fees that will make it more expensive than booking normally would be, but at worst, you can lose all of the money you spent on the trip. These trips often require a full deposit, so all of your hard earned vacation money will be gone for good.

19 19. Booking You On Their Preferred Airline But You Don't Get Points (Travel Agent Tricks)

Many travel agents make commissions off of their bookings, but some only have relationships with certain airlines. There may be a reason that your travel agent is pushing you to book Southwest instead of your usually preferred Delta. They may tell you that you'll enjoy the flight more, potentially get upgrades, or have an easier travel schedule. Some of these things might be true, but they'll also most likely make a bigger commission off of the trip.

Weigh your options carefully and don't necessarily believe everything your agent says. If you'll be losing out on a lot of points from your preferred airline, going with your agent's advice may not be worth it.

18 18. Not Telling You What Hotel You'll Be Staying At (Travel Agent Tricks)

Some travel agents will offer a full package but won't necessarily give you all of the details. Firstly, any detail is important (and should be accessible to you if you're the one fronting the money), but more importantly, you should definitely know what hotel you're staying at.

The hotel or accommodation is a huge part of your trip, so you shouldn't simply trust your agent that you'll enjoy it. If you want a surprise trip then, by all means, wait to see, but most travelers will have a rather unpleasant surprise if their agent is dodgy enough to withhold vital information.

17 17. Requesting Advance Payment Without a Written Contract (Travel Agent Tricks)

If you're wary of nothing else, be careful that you never, ever give your travel agent a cent if you don't have a written contract in place. Without it, your agent can literally take your money and deposit it in his or her account as a "gift." Your contract should not only be written down, but should outline (and itemize) every single piece of the trip that you're paying for.

When you book through a website online, you automatically receive a written contract and confirmation email that you could use in court if the website did not deliver. You need something similar with your travel agent. Additionally, you should cease working with any travel agent who refuses to create a written contract, no matter how good his or her promises sound.

16 16. Offering to Make You a Travel Agent Easily  (Travel Agent Tricks)

There's a video on YouTube offering to make everyday people successful travel agents for under $100. Appallingly, it has over 120,000 views. These sorts of online courses and certifications are generally scams, because they do virtually nothing for you. You'll hold no true certification that matters in any real-world situation and will have very little useful training.

If someone is offering to make you a travel agent and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Telling you that you'll make $1000 a week immediately means you should run the other way. If you want to be a travel agent, look for something legitimate and be prepared to actually create your own business.

15 15. Offering Deals *IF* You Pay to Join a Club Plus Monthly Fees (Travel Agent Tricks)

Some travel agents create "exclusive clubs" that cost somewhere around $300 to join with monthly fees that are usually around $50. The idea is that if you join these clubs, you have access to way bigger deals and will eventually save this money. Unfortunately, these clubs are usually scams.

Some travel agents just want quick and easy money, and these clubs are a way to get that. You'll probably be offered very small discounts to super specific places that you have no interest in going to and will be locked into a yearly contract.

14 14. Telling You the Airline Will Upgrade Your Seats After Seeing Their Card (Travel Agent Tricks)

Your travel agent might tell you that if you use their card at the airport, you'll get a seat upgrade. This is usually a scam and is completely untrue. You'll probably get to the airport (after having a spent a tremendous amount to get these perks from your travel agent) and be told that the airline doesn't work with travel agents.

The only time that travel agents are able to get perks is if they've accrued enough points to get them, similar to you, but in a business sense. Just flashing the card won't get you anything, and if your travel agent tells you otherwise then you should cease any relationship with him or her.

13 13. Recommending a Specific Hotel to Make a Commission (Travel Agent Tricks)

Many travel agents work off commissions, and the best place to make a large commission is often through hotels. Many travel agents won't have actually gone to the place you're visiting, but continue to recommend a specific hotel just to make a larger commission. If you don't trust your travel agent completely, then do your own research.

Your hotel should appear to be worth the price your travel agent is offering. Additionally, check online for the dates you're traveling and make sure that the prices aren't dramatically different from the ones you're seeing on your contract. Make sure when you actually book, you go with what your gut tells you.

12 12. Offering an Insanely Low Price That Isn't Sustainable (Travel Agent Tricks)

Sometimes, low prices are a perk of working with a travel agent, but other times, the prices are so low that you just know they can't be real. You definitely can't get a flight for $50 or a week at an all-inclusive hotel for $300. If you see those prices being offered across the board, beware.

Most likely, your travel agent is either trying to scam with you (and will run with the money) or will include some insanely fine print that means extra fees. In some cases, your trip might only cost $300, but it will probably be the worst trip of your life. The all-inclusive food will basically be bread and water, and your room will most likely be bug infested and highly unsanitary.

11 11. Refusing to Be Flexible (Travel Agent Tricks)

At the end of the day, your travel agent should help meet your needs. The whole purpose of using an agent is to make your life easier. If you wanted a super inflexible package, you could head online and purchase one yourself for far less hassle and probably for a lower price.

If your agent is staunchly sticking to his or her packages and offers no room for flexibility, that's not a good sign. You should be able to customize your own trip to your likes and dislikes. At the very least, your agent should offer multiple packages and show you the price breakdowns so you know exactly what you're getting.

10 10. Not Being Able to Match Bottom Prices (Travel Agent Tricks)

Some destinations (such as Chicago and Las Vegas) will consistently have rock-bottom prices that make them seem much cheaper than other places. If your travel agent makes these places out to be as expensive as others like New York and San Fransisco, that's not good. Sure, your agent might charge a bit more than sites that offer rock bottom prices, but they shouldn't be so unmatched that you feel like you're heading to a different destination.

Always check the prices your agent offers you against those online, especially if it's your first time working with the agent. Make sure you're getting a good deal and at least receive your money's worth.

9 9. A Consistent Travel Agent Knows You Well (Perks of Using An Agent)

If you travel often and use the same agent, you'll find that planning trips get easier and easier. Your agent will know what kinds of activities you like, know where you'll get the most points, and understand what your budget looks like before you even begin the process of planning a trip.

After a while, you can begin to trust your agent and leave most of the planning to him or her. Many frequent travelers love the ease of using an agent and don't mind paying a few extra dollars to have consistently great vacations.

8 8. You Can Pay In Installments (Perks of Using An Agent)

When you book online or directly through an airline or hotel website, you usually have to pay in full, at least if you want the best deal. An agent will often have different installment plans, meaning you can choose how quickly you're able to pay but can get the same rate. Because of an agent's credentials and reputation, he or she will be able to offer more flexible plans.

If you don't have the money to pay upfront and your trip is a year away, then using a travel agent and requesting an installment plan is a great option, as long as you're able to carry through on the payments monthly.

7 7. An Agent Can Help Fix Your Trip If Something is Cancelled (Perks of Using An Agent)

Have you ever made it all the way to the airport, only to find out that your flight was indefinitely cancelled? It's a truly terrible feeling. If you've planned your own trip, you probably have no backup plan and will be reduced to furiously Googling a way out of this situation (while having little to no cell service).

Luckily, if you've invested in a travel agent, it's literally their job to fix this mess. They will immediately find the best prices and replacements, or get your full refund to you if you absolutely can't get out due to weather. Having an agent is like having an assistant on your side who is in charge of your travel plans, especially when things go wrong.

6 6. They Offer a Customized Trip Every Step of the Way (Perks of Using An Agent)

When you book your own trip, you'll probably get the airfare and a hotel room and call it a day. If you book with a travel agent, you'll have a fully customized trip with activities geared specifically towards what you like. A good travel agent will make sure that you're never bored, and at the very least will provide a variety of options so that you always know what you can do.

Travel agents can also help you get deals on activities and will know the ins and the outs of what is best to do at any given destination. You won't be reduced to only going on tourist excursions, especially if you book with an agent who does a lot of business booking at the destination you've chosen.

5 5. You Can Lock In Your Price For 24 Hours Before Paying (Perks of Using An Agent)

When you book online, you'll usually pay in full and will need to actually make the payment to secure any sort of reservation, especially with hotels. Using an agent, you can lock in your price (most of the time) for 24 hours using the agent's credentials. If you need a solid day to think over your trip, this is super useful.

Sometimes, you need to sleep on a purchase before fully committing to it. Booking with a travel agent allows you to do this, and although the fees for the agent may be a bit more, it's worth it to make sure you really want to go away and are happy with your package.

4 4. An Agent Will Save You Time, and Time = Money (Perks of Using An Agent)

If you're working with a good agent, you'll only have to answer a few emails before having a fully planned vacation waiting for you with every detail included. It's the agent's job to book your trip without bothering you while making sure that you'll enjoy it, and a good agent will toe that delicate line perfectly. If your agent is constantly bothering you or has barely asked you about your likes and dislikes, then you're probably not working with top-notch talent.

The idea is that working with an agent will cost a bit more, but you'll save so much time booking a trip that you'll actually save money as well. A good agent should be able to deliver on this.

3 3. An Agent May Cost the Same as Online, But Can Get You Extra Benefits (Perks of Using An Agent)

Nowadays, most agents aren't able to offer huge deals. Besides a slight commission, airlines, hotels, and booking sites don't pay travel agents an exorbitant amount and definitely don't offer any sort of large deals for the clients, however you can often pay the same price that you would pay online and get a lot of extra perks.

At the time of booking, travel agents can get you small perks via the hotel, free drinks on flights, complimentary activities, a private car, and other cool add-ons. For these reasons alone, many people find that it's worth it to book with an agent.

2 2. Some Travel Agents Charge Absolutely No Fees (Perks of Using An Agent)

Many travel agents make nice commissions on trips that are booked through them, so they're able to charge prices comparable to those online and offer no-fee packages. This means that you'll pay literally no more than you would online, but you get a personal agent to book the entire trip for you and customize it according to your wants.

When you first meet with an agent, ask about their fee and commission structure. All travel agents will have different policies, and some will charge huge fees (but maybe offer different services) while others will charge none at all. Question everything before you begin and you'll know where you stand.

1 1. Travel Agents Are Professionals and Can Think of Things You Won't (Perks of Using An Agent)

Almost all of us have planned an entire trip then have gone on it only to realize that we forgot to do something crucial, like making any dinner reservations. When you book with a travel agent, you'll never have to worry about forgetting these things. They do this for a living, so your agent will think of every last thing.

If you're going to Disney, your travel agent will remember to book all food reservations, reserve fast-passes, plan for crowds, and get any transportation ahead of time. You won't have to worry about missing out on any part of your trip because it'll be all planned for you!