Use this guide to find the travel specialist of your dreams.
With an estimated 105,000 travel agents within the U.S., finding the proper one to plan your next vacation will appear to be a daunting task.
Here are some tips to help you begin your quest to seek out the best advisor to suit your desires.
Find an Agent in Advance
“The travel business is regarding experiences and relationships. If you don’t have a travel consultant, establish a relationship before you actually need them”, said cruising specialist Mary Ann Ramsey, a 40-year business veteran and owner of Betty Maclean Travel. Once you discover an excellent travel agent, you’ll want to hold on to them forever.
Ask for References
Finding an agent who lives in your destination of choice is commonly an excellent (and in some cases, very affordable) plan, however, be sure to vet them before you send any cash. you should always ask the agent for client references who you’ll reach dead set directly to ask regarding their experience.
When traveling to remote or undeveloped areas, Cheri Briggs, founding father of Explore inc. and a specialist for Africa, suggests using an agent “from your country of residence so you’ve got legal recourse if something goes awry.” If you get scammed, you may not be able to get a refund.
“Don’t simply call one tour operator or agent. call some to find the best match”, said Kota Tabuchi, manager at Travel beyond. “This person will guide you thru the process and direct you towards destinations and products that will fit within your parameters (budget, list of things to determine and do, etc.). The key’s finding somebody truly independent and unbiased in what they sell — somebody who is looking for your best interest.”
Look for a Specialist
Most travel agents will book any kind of trip, however, the best ones have expertise with and knowledge about a specific destination. If you’re trying to book a cruise or safari, look for an agent who focuses on them.
Each year, Travel + Leisure’s editors compile the list, a curated choice of the world’s best travel agents and destination specialists that’s organized by regions as well as special journeys, like fly-fishing, scuba diving, and honeymoons.
“Shopping for a safari advisor is likened to finding a professional or financial advisor; trust is paramount. during the initial consultation, ask lots of questions, which a good advisor should be reciprocal,” said Tabuchi”. If you don’t know the way to find a freelance safari consultant, you’ll also work through a trusted travel agent who could know some safari specialists that they’ll collaborate with.
Know Your Budget
Some agents will only work with people who are willing to pay a minimum amount per day—it’s an industry metric that most agents use to determine the total price of a trip. Stating your budget upfront will give your advisor some parameters to figure with.
Find out Their Fee
Because travel agents don’t always have the same fee structures, ask in advance what they charge, and whether or not their fee is applied to the price of your trip.
A good travel advisor will ask regarding your interests and fitness abilities before they pitch you any ideas for an itinerary. they could make suggestions for activities or sights that you just didn’t have in mind. listen to their recommendation — they’re the experts.
As a rule of thumb, the more choices you’ll have, the better the experience. the main reason we tend to travel is to develop a better understanding of the world and to understand its variety. The most memorable and pleasing experiences are often surprising.