Travel Agent Extraordinaire: Qualities to Look For Before Using One

passport02Looking to spot the perfect travel agent to help you with your next excursion? Before you go with a friend’s referral, read on to scope out the necessary qualities before you commit to an agency.

If you are going to a country that is unknown to you and would feel better if someone guides you on planning the trip, I recommend hiring a travel agent for booking purposes. Sometimes, planning an itinerary can be cumbersome with all the reservation details that are involved it might as well be a part-time job!

But before you visit any travel agency, make sure you consider the following before you make your decision:

Properly affiliated.

Make sure your chosen travel agency is affiliated with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and/or the Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). The ASTA association and the ARTA (an agents-only trade association) oversees all travel professionals and companies that markets and sells travel programs to the public. They also ensure that all travel professionals are properly educated through continuous training and representation.

Besides, it ensures that the travel agent adheres to their certification through ongoing knowledge in their field. This makes sure that your travel agent provides a professionalism that streamline their honorable code of ethics and obligation to the customers.

Also, go with a real formally trained full-time agent. Some US agencies do not require the formal training in the field. For this matter, go with someone who is trained, has demonstrated experience and stays on top of new developments in the travel industry. They are more likely to be available to you to work on your behalf.

Flexible, creative and extremely helpful.

One thing to check for is how genuine they are towards helping you recreate your dream vacation. Consider these questions:

• Sometimes you may have to make compromises especially in regards to airline reservations, but do they provide reasonable alternatives?
• Do they get creative by exploring options that piques your vivid imagination?
• Do they address your concerns about your safety?
• Do they help you save money with other types of reservations?
• If you have a question and you leave a message, do they return your call promptly?

As long as the focus is always on YOU and your travel needs and not the needs of the sell in the agency, the agent is worth it. If the chosen travel agent goes out their way to ease your mind and make you genuinely happy, keep them.


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Reputation.

Before you rest your laurels on a potentially great agent, scope out the real word from their clients; some agency may be able to supply you with access to a list of clients that you can contact. Ask them questions like “what was a problem that you had with the agency and how did they respond?” Getting beyond the generic positive responses may shed light on the reality of that agency and their employees. Thus, assisting you in your quest to find the ideal agent that fits you and your travel needs.

It goes both ways.

Expect to pay accordingly to the services that the travel agent is doing for you. Sounds like common sense, but some folks actually just use agents for the free advice. If you want your agent to get you the best deals on the market, be prepared to pay up. The great thing about using a travel agent is their accessibility to travel packages that are not available on a typical internet search engine. Demonstrate commitment and your kindness will go a long way to honing in on that sweet vacation.

Have you ever used a travel agency before? Where did you go and how did they help? Post your comment! I wanna know!