Avoid a bad trip: 5 tips for hiring a travel agent
Are you planning a vacation but don’t have time to research the best hotels or flights? Highly rated Indianapolis travel agencies say consumers can avoid vacation and business trip hassles by hiring knowledgeable companies. Make sure you hire a good agency by checking references, factoring in the agency’s familiarity with the travel destination, and considering these five questions:
1. When do you need a travel agency?
An agency works well when traveling to an area you’re unfamiliar with, or when you don’t have time to plan your own trip or shop for the best deals and locations, says Mary Caldwell, owner of highly rated Caldwell Travel in Greenwood.
An agent will listen to what you want and present options based on your travel needs and wish list, says Rich Walton, owner of highly rated Cruise One in Carmel.
2. What’s the benefit of hiring a travel agent?
They make sure you’re prepared before your trip and help solve problems that may pop up during your vacation, Walton says. Travelers may scramble for last-minute flights because of delays or cancellations, but an agency can book a new flight for a customer faster than it takes to wait in line, Caldwell says: “I can go to my computer and get the last seat [for you].”
3. What’s the benefit of a local agent?
You can visit the person planning your vacation, which adds a layer of confidence in your hiring decision, Caldwell says. A face-to-face meeting can alleviate concerns you may have about hiring an agency, Walton adds. “That may give some people some comfort,” he says.
4. What questions should you ask before you hire?
Ask a company how long they’ve been in business and how much they’ve traveled. You want an agency with experience and familiarity with your destination, Caldwell says. An agent might recommend a client stay away from a certain hotel because it’s in a bad neighborhood, she says. Also, you should talk to an agency, instead of just e-mailing them, to get a sense of their knowledge and helpfulness.
5. How much does a travel agency cost?
Travel agencies typically don’t charge for service because they get paid commission through the cruises and hotels they book, Walton says. But an agent may charge a fee if asked to plan a multi-destination vacation, Caldwell says. She typically charges between $100 and $200, depending on the complexity of the itinerary. Caldwell says she wouldn’t charge anything if a customer wanted to stay in Rome for six nights, but she would likely charge up to $200 to plan a 14-day journey through Africa.