Who is a travel agent?
Travel agents are the people who simplify the process of “planning a trip” for their customers in addition to providing consultation services and entire travel packages. The primary responsibility of a travel agent is to make the process of travel planning easier for their clients and ensure they experience the best trip possible. They may book flights, cruises, rental cars and hotels, as well as resort stays and events.
When do you need a travel agent?
Nowadays everything is available on internet. Online travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. help people to book the complete tour online. You can book it online by yourself but when things go awry you need someone to speak with. There are times when you need really need a good travel agent, it is –
When you are traveling with family or in a group –
You can book tickets for one, two and so, but booking tickets for dozens of friends or family members on the same flight at a fare price is not an easy task. One has to be more cautions with young children, you want seats together on the plane or train, you want a family hotel and you have questions in your mind like, “Is the hotel’s location right for me or not? Does it fulfill my purpose? What about the customer service? What about the food? What about the safety? When you use a travel agent you don’t have to worry about all these things.
When you are traveling to a different country –
Traveling to a new country is completely a different experience. First question that pop up is safety and then we need a good hotel, restaurant, cab services, tour guide, etc. A travel agent gives a sense of security.
For more read here: Why You Need a Travel Agent
When you have a crazy itinerary –
If you have multiple stops in your itinerary, complex airline routing, you wish to go on a cultural tour, wildlife safaris, ancient ruins, you need a local guide and cab service, you are planning a food tour, or you want to stay at 4/5 star hotels. Then my friend, you definitely need a travel agent. An accomplished travel agent can save you a lot of time and anguish in sorting out all these things.
How to find a good travel agent?
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re selecting a travel agent:
Is the agency recognized?
Ministry of Tourism – India, IATA (International Air Transport Association: accreditation is a seal of approval recognized worldwide), etc. Always go with a Government approved travel agency.
If the agent picks up the phone promptly, understands your needs and responds well to your inquiries, it is a good start.
Do they ask you to outline your trip?
Do they ask where you’re going and why, how you would wish to travel, how long you plan to stay, and what your travel budget is? Be open and honest with your answers. A good agent will gladly put together a sample tours that describe availability in transportation, accommodations, and estimated costs.
Do they take your needs into consideration?
If the agent understands your needs and provides you a sample itinerary accordingly then it is a good sign (and you should take it as a bad sign if the agent does not do it). Agents who try to push certain travel packages may be thinking more of bonuses than your best interests.
Do they ask you for a feedback?
If an agent asks you for your feedback then you should take it as a positive sign. For example, if you are not satisfied with what your travel agent finds, then does the agent try to force you to accept an itinerary, or get busy finding alternatives? If he takes the pain to looks for alternates for you, then you have found the right travel agent.
Cost and customer services?
The cost will differ from agent to agent and country to country. Look for the inclusions and the services they are providing in the tour package. Do not rely on vocal agreements alone. Always read all the paperwork carefully before you sign it, especially when it comes to package deals. Ask them if you can contact them 24*7, if they are available for you all the time then BINGO! He/She is the right agent for you.
Get a quote from travel agents before booking on web yourself – you can save a lot of money, time and headache – when things go wrong! They are available 24*7 for support.