All travel companies are not created equal.
There is a huge difference between a travel agency and a travel designer; this is important to know depending on your needs.
A travel agent will book a flight, hotel, rental car or pre-packaged tour–they are agents for the supplier, earn commission and work on volume. A tour operator may also be referred to as travel consultants, travel planners and, we best describe ourselves as travel designers. These professionals design, coordinate, manage and advise their clients to create a full travel package.
Ask your travel agent, operator, consultant or planner the following questions to see who is the best fit for you.
- Have you personally visited this country? If yes–great. If not, do you have an advisor that you can call on my behalf with questions or concerns
- Will you design a comprehensive and cohesive itinerary for, and with, me?
- Will you offer suggestions that are unique and chosen for our special interests?
- Are you familiar with all types of accommodations beyond the mainstream hotel, apartment, and B&B, to include riad, pousada, parador, locanda, villa, ryokan, and stone hut and castle?
- Will you coordinate all services to mesh seamlessly?
- Will you personally make an international call to discuss my trip with service suppliers such as hotels, guides and airlines?
- Will you answer my call on a Saturday, Sunday, or at 3:00 am when I am traveling?
- Will you assist me with any travel insurance questions and claims?
- If a service is rescheduled or cancelled what will you do?
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you a Certified Travel Agent?
- Are you established in the community; that is your personal business community as well as, travel industry community?
In the end you will be choosing a company to work with over the weeks and months ahead. Think about this carefully because travel is a huge investment of time and money for everyone.
When to use a Travel Agent? Sometimes you need a travel agent and sometimes you don’t. Here are a few questions to help you decide.
- Are you traveling outside the United States? Yes, No
- Are you visiting more than one country? Yes, No
- Are there more than 2 travelers? Yes, No
- Do you enjoy planning, but are concerned about confusing details? Yes, No
If you answered YES to these questions, you might need a travel agent.
- Have you been to this country before? No, Yes
- Are you familiar with customs, visas and international guidelines? No, Yes
- Do you know what an IDP is? No, Yes
- Are you comfortable with coordinating dozens of details? No, Yes
If you answered NO to these questions, you might need a travel agent.
Planning your trip can be fun if you have the time and are not overwhelmed by the vast amount of conflicting information and coordinating dozens of minute details. Howerver, if you think you would like help with your next trip or would like to talk with a professional,
Need help planning your own trip?
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