The About Something Around team loves to travel. That is obvious when you take a look at our website, Instagram, Facebook… 😀 We don’t just participate in amazing trips, but one of us even studied Tourism- and Recreation Management in college, which required a couple of internships. The last internship was a four month experience at a Belgian travel agency, helping customers with all kinds of trips all over the world, which of course gave a much broader perspective of the travel industry.
That is why we would love to share some tips and debunk a few myths about traveling with a travel agent. Hopefully this will help you look at the travel industry with a different point of view. 🙂
1) Last minutes are a thing of the past.
A lot of times people would ask me to see a list with the best last minutes, saying they do not really care about the destination they will end up with, just as long as it is (extremely!) cheap. While this was a much used way of travel in the past, this is no longer the way to go in modern times. Travel companies found they don’t really get a lot of financial benefits of it anymore and have chosen to go with first minute deals instead. The longer you will wait for your dream vacation, the more expensive it will become. Book your trip early in advance to get the best rates!
Note: there are still a few companies that provide beach last minutes, e.g. TUI. But it is not as common anymore as it used to be!
2) Travel agents don’t use the websites you would use when booking a trip online.
If I had a penny for every time someone asked me if I was using the website Booking.com or booking my flights on Skyscanner, I would be pretty rich by now. 😉 Travel agents have their own booking programs where they can book flights, hotels and more. It also isn’t always very easy in lay out, but looks like a black screen and white letters to write different codes. It looks a bit like the first computer programs in the nineties! It can be a bit of a challenge to learn, but it offers so many possibilities and no, we don’t need to turn off cookies or browse in Incognito mode like at home. 🙂
3) Travel agents can find great private deals and have local agents to work with.
Travel agencies have the advantage they are able to work with local companies that will provide you with the best authentic experience. They also often offer deals you will never be able to find yourself online. If you do find a cheaper deal, you can always ask your travel agent for advice, so they can try to match the price or figure out if you are setting yourself up for a scam.
4) Professional travel agents are not trying to rip you off.
A lot of people assume booking through a travel agency is always going to be more expensive. This is simply not the case. Please keep in mind that when travelling through the internet, a lot of times the price they will advertise is without the booking fee or does not always include all the services a travel agency will provide. Travel agents can listen to your needs and wants and help you find the best value for your dream vacation. Sometimes they might offer a more expensive option, just because they know the added value will be completely worth that extra 20 euros.
Good travel agents help you to maximize your time and get the most out of your trip. Booking a small weekendtrip doesn’t take a lot of time, but booking a long trip to a further away country can easily take up hours and hours of your time. There is a reason why planning travel is a full time job! Let your travel agent take care of your vacation and keep track of the follow-up, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the free time you saved. 🙂
6) Booking with an actual human leaves more room for a personal touch.
When you book though a person instead of online, you will not only get a much better service, but also be able to modify your trip to your own needs and wants. Try to explain yourself as much as you can, since what you believe to be fun and adventurous might be boring for someone else! Your travel agent will know that no two clients are the same. They will listen and be thoughtful, so they can try to put together an amazing trip for you. Are you going on a honeymoon for example? Let them know. Depending on what you booked, they might be able to provide some extras for you… 🙂
7) Travel agents are not a dying profession.
When I told my friends and family I was a trainee at a travel agency, they would often look at me with big eyes and ask “Isn’t that an endangered occupation?” I have found the opposite to be true. While doing this internship, I noticed the office was usually packed with clients. Many people still rely on travel agents to book their trips, because they know they will get a better service, better deals and won’t walk into scams. While agencies that only present the bare essentials might die out, the agencies that give you that extra touch will only thrive in the future.
8) Travel agents want to keep you safe.
Don’t think a travel agent just wants to offer you an insurance to make more money. They know which insurances provide the best protection and want to make sure you get the service you need. Also note that some countries will not even allow you to enter without an insurance! A professional agent will know this and inform you on time to make sure your trip will go smoothly.
9) Different trips require different agencies.
Before choosing your agency, ask yourself: What kind of vacation do I want? Adventurous jungle trip, honeymoon, all-inclusive beach resort, cruise, European cities, around-the-world-trip or even something else? A lot of different agencies are specialized in a lot of different things. In order to get an agent with the best product knowledge about your destination, most affordable rates and best service, it is best to work with an agent of a niche agency. Of course it is lovely to always work with an agent who knows what you want, but an agency that usually provides all-inclusive beach resorts in Spain, will not be able to give you as much information about an adventurous jungle trip in Costa Rica for example.
10) Always check your name and the date on your passport.
This is one of the most important tips I can give. Always check the name before you sign your approval to permanently book plane tickets. After reservations are made, most of the time you can’t change the name anymore without a cost. You can avoid this by double-checking very carefully whether the name is correct or not. Check your passport before departure as well. Different destinations have different rules. Make sure your passport is still valid for as long as the country of your choice requires!
Hopefully this article has helped you to look at travel agents with a new vision and appreciate their services even more. We are very interested in your thoughts on this topic! Have you booked through a travel agency before? Whether you have or haven’t, don’t be afraid to leave your opinion below. Any experiences (both good and bad) are welcome! 🙂