34 Questions to Ask Your Travel Agent to Get the Trip of Your Dreams.
No, you absolutely do not need to go through an agent; in fact you will likely save money by booking your own travel. However if you are new at travel, or crazy busy, an agent can help you understand the available options and provide a safety net should anything go wrong during your trip. A travel agent is an expert when it comes to travel. It's their job to make your travel plans as smooth and painless as possible. They have all the resources and knowledge at their fingertips so they can save you a lot of time spent in researching your destination.
So you are the type of traveller that likes to have everything nailed down before you leave, or you’re dreaming of heading of somewhere a bit complex or have very specific requirements - well here is a list of questions to ask your travel agent to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
Dealing with an agent Firstly, avoid travel agents that don't ask you any questions and who don't explain any details of the travel plans to you. You should feel comfortable that you understand all the arrangements being made on your behalf. In saying that, you need to give your agent a point to start from. Always approach a travel agent with a strong idea of what you want. The more information you're armed with, the more they can help you achieve your dream holiday. An agent will ask you a series of questions about what you want from your trip and then make suggestions based on their wealth of knowledge. You can engage an agent solely to book your flights or they can create various packages to suit your needs.
What to ask yourself before you meet your travel agent:
When are you planning to go? (Do you get time off work at a certain time of year?) Which month and for how long? Which countries/cities do you want to visit? (At least an area e.g. Asia or Europe) What kind of expectations and activities do you have in mind? (Do you like museums? Outdoor action adventures?) How much are you planning to spend?
What to ask to establish your travel agent’s expertise:
Which destinations work best with your interests? What is the best time of year to travel to these places? Have you ever been there? How much experience do you have booking this location?
How can you reach your travel agent while on your trip?
What to ask to have all the facts:
Do I need a visa or other documents? What are the terms and conditions of the flights and hotels? What is the currency used there? What style of power unit do they use? Are there any travel restrictions?
Do you receive a refund if your trip is cancelled? What immunizations do you need? Is everything included in one transaction fee?
Are there cheaper alternatives to your destination? Can you save money by flying at a different time/staying in a different hotel?
What to ask when booking adventure travel:
What insurance does the agency have? How long has the agency been around? Do they belong to a professional organization? How hard is the trip?
Are training and gear provided? What will happen in an emergency? Are the guides trained for this? Request recent references. Are departure dates guaranteed?
What to ask about insurance: What is the emergency contact number?
What activities does the insurance not cover? e.g. skiing/snowboarding or other extreme sports.
What is the excess?
Does the insurance cover all my health issues? Don’t worry if this looks daunting, your travel agent should answer all these questions automatically. Just to make sure, you need to read through your itinerary and check it is correct; also always check your name is spelled the way it is on your passport. If you have asked all the right questions, your travel agent should be able to ease you through your travel planning process. They will come back with a customized itinerary to meet your needs and be able to reassure you about any questions you may have. Safe travels
Author of Stress Free Adventure Planning