Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Anderson’

Common Questions to ask your Travel Agent

Your travel agent can be an integral part of planning your vacation, especially when used wisely. A travel agent is an invaluable resource when you have decided to plan a trip. They can help prevent travel complications while at the same time getting you the best value. However, it is important to remember that each travel agent is different. So, to ensure that your travel agent is a good match for your needs, here are some common questions to ask.

Question 1 – What is your specialty?

It is important to know what your travel agent’s specialty is. He or she may specialize in certain destinations or products, such as cruises or adventure tours. You will also want to ask what types of travel your agent specializes in. For example, you would not want to book a trip for a large group with an agent who is not experienced in such services.

Question 2 – What are your fees?

Obviously, you know that you will be compensating your travel agent for his or her time, planning expertise, work, and advice, but knowing the fees upfront is always a good idea. Some travel agents work on commission, some charge a flat rate, and some charge per service. It is also best to be upfront about your travel budget and be clear that your total budget includes travel agent fees.

Question 3 – What are your hours of operation?

You will need to know when your travel agency or agent operates. Be sure to get the toll-free number in case of an emergency as well as an alternate number for after-hours necessities. If your travel agent has email or a website, you will also want to note that information as well.

Question 4 – What happens if something goes wrong?

Sometimes, it is impossible to avoid inconveniences while traveling. Such inconveniences may include a delayed or cancelled flight because of poor weather. Discuss with your travel agent what happens in such circumstances and how he or she responds to these problems. Always be clear on your travel agent’s policies.

Question 5 – Are tickets refundable?

If you’re working with a travel agent, it is likely that you are planning this trip well in advance. In addition to last minute inconveniences that may occur, such as poor weather cancelling a flight, things in your life may change as well. Find out if your trip is refundable, partially refundable, or if a cancellation fee applies. It is also a good idea to check if reservations can be exchanged.

Question 6 – Do you have special relationships with travel suppliers?

Many times, your travel agent will be able to get you a great deal, which may not be available to the general public. Cruise lines, tour companies, and hotels often offer perks such as upgrades, free parking, and other deals to travel agents who have worked with them before. If your agent has this type of influence, take advantage of it!

Question 7 – Have you traveled to my destination?

There is nothing like first-hand knowledge. If your travel agent has traveled to your destination, he or she will be able to speak from experience. A well-traveled agent will be able to make informed recommendations and provide sound advice as opposed to one who has not visited the areas you are considering.

Question 8 – Can I get a better deal if I travel on a different day?

This question is integral to establishing a better deal if your travel dates are somewhat flexible. Remember, even when working with a travel agent, peak travel times and seasons still apply. Let your travel agent know that while your original itinerary is ideal, if there is a better deal to be had, you may consider traveling at a later date.

Question 9 – Where can I learn more about my destination?

In many cases, travel agents will provide customers with information, such as brochures, about your destination. If the brochures are not sufficient enough for you, ask your travel agent where you could do a little more research. He or she should be able to easily point you in the right direction.

Question 10 – Will I need a passport or visa?

If you are not sure if you will need a passport or special visa to travel to your destination, ask your travel agent. If you do need a passport or visa, he or she will also be able to instruct you on how to obtain one.

Question 11 – What questions do you have for me?

Always ask your travel agent if he or she has any questions for you. Travel agents should always ask you a few questions about what you are looking for in a vacation. This is necessary so that they will be able to come up with the best itinerary for your interests and budget.
The best travel agent for the job is one who is willing to work with you, has extensive knowledge, and is receptive to your priorities as a traveler. However, you will need to ask the questions outlined above to get started. Remember, your agent should be more than willing to answer any of these questions, or any others that you may have.

Ryan Anderson is a blogger and freelance writer who focuses on the travel industry and vacation tips, often discussing a particular aspect of the travel industry such as working with a travel agent.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 14, 2010 at 3:17 am

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How a Travel Agent can Save you Money on your Next Trip

These days, many families have their put their vacation plans toward the bottom of their list of priorities. During tougher times, a vacation can seem to simply cost too much money. However, if you are thinking about going on a vacation, you might want to look into working with a travel agent to save money on vacation expenses. Working with a travel agent to plan your vacation means you might be able to afford the trip you thought you would have to put off until next year. For this reason alone it is definitely worth exploring the possibility. So how can working with a travel agent save you money?

Your travel agent will help you get the most out of your budget

Whether your travel budget is $500 or $5,000, working with a travel agent is probably the best way to make the most of your money. Especially if you’re traveling on a tight budget, the skills, knowledge, and experience of a travel agent can be invaluable.

Just make sure when you’re discussing travel plans with your agent, you are absolutely clear about how much money you have to spend. If you want to travel as cheaply as possible, make sure your travel agent understands this so that they have a good idea of the types of travel and accommodation they should be finding for you.

Your travel agent can quickly access a number of providers

Travel agents typically have access to a large network of travel, accommodation, and activity providers. With computer systems that provide access to travel agents all over the world, they can quickly locate details of discount travel providers in many countries. This is one of the main reasons why working with a travel agent is a good idea when you’re on a strict budget. They have access to a large number of different resources, software, and industry contacts, all of which they can use when hunting down the best bargains.

Your travel agent knows the cheapest times to travel

Some days are less expensive to travel on than other days. Red-eye flights and stand-by flights can be less expensive, but direct flights can cost more than taking a circuitous route that involves several different connections. Your travel agent should be very knowledgeable on the process of all this and knows that flights booked on Friday, Sunday, and Monday are generally more expensive. You stand a better chance of saving money on flights if you’re flexible about your travel dates.

In addition, your travel agent can quickly tell you if your vacation plans fall within a peak season during which flights to your destination are significantly more expensive. This means that you can modify your travel plans if you wish. Changing plans may include a cheaper destination or traveling during the offseason to save money on your flight.

Advanced booking is another factor that your travel agent can use to help you get cheaper flights. You should be booking at least six months ahead to get the most affordable tickets. Your agent should tell you that the holiday season is always a relatively expensive time to travel, no matter how far in advance you book.

Your travel agent has access to bulk discounts and consolidated tickets

If you’re willing to travel as part of an organized tour, your travel agent can help you access travel and accommodation. There are also specials for activities that are significantly cheaper than what you would spend if you did the same activities alone. This is because as part of a tour you can take advantage of bulk discounts. You can even organize your own tour through your travel agent, and the organizer might get to travel for free!

Consolidated tickets provide you with the chance to save on your air travel costs. A consolidated ticket is simply a ticket which was purchased by the agent as part of a large group of tickets sold by the same airline. The agent gets a bulk discount on the tickets and can pass that discount on to their clients.

Your travel agent has industry contacts and experience

This translates into money being put back into your pocket. Your travel agent may be in regular contact with many industry professionals, and might be able to get you a great deal on a tour being planned by another agent. If you’re flexible with travel times, your agent may advise you to adjust your trip dates to travel during a cheaper part of the week, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in travel costs. An experienced agent should have expert knowledge of your travel destination and can provide advice on budget accommodation and activities. The agent may often be able to provide discount coupons, free passes, and other incentives.

Best of all, none of these advantages come at a price! You can take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience that your travel agent provides, and can potentially save a great deal of money in the process.

Ryan Anderson is a blogger and freelance writer who focuses on the travel industry and vacation tips, often discussing a particular aspect of the travel industry such as working with travel agents.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 13, 2010 at 3:17 am

Categories: Travel Industry News   Tags: , , , , , , ,