Whether you are researching a trip on your own or not, here are tips for finding a travel agent to help you plan a trip that is right for you and who can help you with all the confusing information found online. You may be travelling on business, on a family vacation, on a religious commitment, or to host a special event like a marriage, anniversary or a family reunion on a cruise ship or an all-inclusive! Don’t forget fundraisers on a cruise ship.
Location is Key
Travel agents are consultants who are around to help people like you accomplish various travel plans. To locate a reliable travel consultant for your trip, try exploring one of these options:
1. Visit the local Chamber of Commerce or visit their website to review the accredited list of travel professionals.
2. Search through the Yellow Pages to shortlist local travel agents and their contact information.
3. Talk to neighbors or friends to accumulate some recommendations, but these are not always reliable.
After short-listing a few travel agents in your area through your initial research and local contacts, take a note pad and jot down the start and end dates of your travelling schedule, the departure and arrival locations and the intermediate destinations, transportation preferences if any, available budget, and special requirements like wheelchair accessible entry and exit points. Also determine what type of activities you would like to do on your trip. All this information will help the travel agent help you chose the best product to make your trip memorable and a success. Do some research on your own, but let the travel agent help you decide whether the information you find is really the best for you. There is so much information out there.
Have a Vacation without Stress
When you finally meet your travel agent, you can use your list of requirements along with the checklist provided below to avoid disappointments:
1. Keep your conversation with your travel agent focused on your list items but keep an open mind to listen to suggestions of the travel agent to enhance your trip.
2. When you are discussing your travelling plans, available options, and expense details, avoid falling into the trap of buying services you do not need.
3. When making travel plans, always ensure you have a “Plan B” to address mishaps such as seats without reservations, missing connections, lost baggage, absence of travelling date on tickets, and more terrible possibilities.
4. You should also discuss in detail the travel agent’s resources to handle last-minute changes like trip cancellations, date modifications, or itinerary changes.
5. Discuss with the travel agent products like travel insurance to help protect your travel costs along with medical protection. Travel insurance covers more than just those items listed in numbers 3 and 4 above. Travel insurance also covers you medically should the need arise. Some insurance plans do not cover you when you travel outside of the United States. Make sure you check with your insurance company to see if you are covered.
6. If possible, use a credit or debit card to pay for all the expenses, to ensure that all your expenses are accurately tracked, monitored, and auditable in case of a future dispute.