Booking your vacation can be so overwhelming at times that all you need to do is find a decent, reliable travel agent to guide you through the seemingly daunting process.
Questions about the authenticity of the websites you scan, the reliability of certain accommodations, airlines, and restaurants, and the safety of the areas you intend to visit can usually be resolved by your travel assistant and their control computer.
They can get you out of tough situations abroad and work with airlines, hotels and tour groups to ensure you have the best experience without barely lifting a finger.
However, I am sure that most of you reading this will know that you or someone you know had a negative experience working with a travel agent. It can sometimes be like speed dating: someone delivers you a storm of information in two minutes that is supposed to impress, but without follow-up. So here’s a rough guide to make sure you find your travel agent’s soulmate and get the most out of your vacation.
Honesty and transparency are the keys to building the right relationship between you and your travel agent. When they’re ready and able to show you their computer screen, tell you their fees and charges, and explain the terms of your vacation in detail, you’ll be one step closer to asking for their number. Most travel companies charge change and cancellation fees. Therefore, find out about the costs before booking your trip.
2. Time saving
The time and hassle a travel agent can save you by booking your vacation to the world is well worth the extra dollars you may have saved on airline tickets on Expedia or Skyscanner. Support agents abroad can provide invaluable value to you if something goes wrong, and many agents can potentially exceed / match the prices you see on the internet. Ultimately, your travel agent will save you the time and effort of finding flights to spend deciding which evening shirt to put in your backpack.
3. Quick response
Forget the three-day dating rule: if your agent answers you within 24 hours or sooner, you’ll know you’ve found a sitter. Who wants to wait while your flights are booked or while you are stuck at the LA airport with the most aggressive customs officers honoring the planet? You want your travel agent to respond quickly and be easy to communicate with when needed.
4. Real interest
Just like speed dating, you want to speak to someone who is genuinely interested in you and your ideas. Forget travel agents who take orders and thoughtlessly knock on your inquiries; Look for those whose faces light up when you tell them about your Northern Lights viewing plans or your Southeast Asia rail adventure. If they are actively trying to steer your trip, offer alternatives, or resolve any problems you may have, you have a potential mentor. Make sure they listen to what you want to get out of your vacation and watch out for agents offering things they want to sell rather than what you ask for.
5. Knowledge of travel destinations
Your travel agent may not have been everywhere you wanted to go, and to be honest, I wouldn’t expect a travel agent to have in-depth local knowledge of every city in the world. However, when you find an agent who is gone, who knows the destination of your choice or is ready to do the research for you, you know you are on the right track.
6. Student discounts
For the young traveler reading this, most youth-focused travel agencies have access to fares and information that no search engine on your computer can find. This is where you save money, if student rates are available for your destination, and your travel agent can be your greatest asset.
Although travel agents are not for everyone, I assure you that they are not a extinct breed and that their knowledge and skills, if competent, can save you time and money and guarantee you a hassle free vacation (or as stress free as traveling)