Travelling Abroad

Spending your holiday somewhere abroad can be a great way to take advantage of your free days from work. You can book such a holiday both in the winter or in the summer season as the options are numerous.

However, when you are traveling abroad you should know that you will have to take care of some very important things such as: transportation, accommodation and insurances. You MIGHT choose to hire a travel agency to take care of All These aspects for you. Nonetheless, you should be prepared for any type of situation.

One of the most important things that you will have to a make sure that you do not forget is the health insurance. This type of insurance is really rather important is case something happens. It does not have to be something serious but if you develop a cold and have a fever, it would be better to consult a doctor. And this is when the insurance comes in handy. It is true that if you choose to hire a travel agency to help you, then the means of transport and the accommodation will be taken care off.

However, you should ask the travel agent what flight Also you have and what is the name of the hotel. You MIGHT want to check the reviews for the hotel. There are many review websites out there, all you have to do is to find the one that can offer you the information that you need. Also you MIGHT want to check the direct website of the hotel. Surely there you will find some photos of the place and of the rooms.

Traveling abroad means going through customs and had all the paper check your work thoroughly. This is why you should make sure that you have everything in order. So, check your passport and see if it is still valid. Doing these things is really important so make sure that you do not miss any steps.

and do not forget to always capture the moment of your trip.

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Find Good Travel Agents – 7 Qualities Of A Good Agent

Traveling to Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some people, while for others it is a regular occurrence due to having business or family ties in Japan. Either way, when traveling to Japan on business or for personal reasons you want your Japanese trip to be the best it can be.

Experienced world travelers know that finding a good travel agent to help you plan your trip is a smart way to ensure that it will be a success. No matter how many Japan guidebooks you have read or Japan tourist brochures you have flipped through, none of these valuable resources can keep up with the ongoing changes in the travel climate of Japan.

With thousands of travel agents to choose from, you will want to find just the right Japan travel agent for your trip. It is important to know which qualities and characteristics for look for as you plan your trip.

To help you choose wisely, here are 7 qualities and characteristics of good Japan travel agents to help you plan your upcoming trip:

1. Belongs to a good network of air carriers, tour operators and hotel partners:

Travel agents these days are connected and networked in a way that they could not have been before the age of the Internet. However, having a computer and an Internet connection are not sufficient qualifications for being a travel agent that can get the best deals. For starters, good agents belong to networks of airlines, tour operators and hotels that offer them (and their clients) the best rates.

2. Speaks both English and Japanese:

It is a huge benefit if your agent can fluently speak your own language, as well as Japanese. This way, they can handle your planning needs while staying in touch with their own network of operators in Japan on a daily basis.

3. Is knowledgeable about your travel insurance options:

You may or may not require travel insurance, but it is a good idea to find an agent who can offer you travel insurance coverage options and who can competently recommend a customized plan if asked.

4. Has offices in your home country and in Japan:

Many of the larger agent networks have offices internationally. Once you have actually arrived in Japan, it would be convenient if your travel agent’s company had offices in Japan that you could call for help or advice in a pinch.

5. Has personally used the services they recommend:

Travel agents who actually have been on the tours and use the carriers they recommend are the ones you can trust. They know from experience what they are talking about.

6. Regularly travels within Japan:

Your agent will be able to give you the best recommendations if he or she actually travels within Japan at least 2-3 times per year him or herself.

7. Keeps themselves up-to-date on the latest Japan travel trends:

Good travel agents specialize travel in certain parts of the world or certain countries. Rather than finding a jack-of-all-trades travel agent, find one who has the time to study, connect and stay up-to-date with what is going on in Japan.

Look for these 7 qualities and characteristics in a Japan travel agent. Be bold and ask the agents you interview their qualifications and background before agreeing to work with them.

Are Travel Agents Old School?

It appears you can’t stare at the TV for 60 minutes without seeing a notice with William Shatner discussing Travelocity or that senseless dwarf discussing Orbitz. These travel sites have been extremely effective at encouraging voyagers to book their own particular carrier and lodging reservations on the web. So with this colossal push from the web to assume control over the travel business, one needs to ask, “Are travel agents old school?”

In the event that you have searched for some of these travel web sites, you have watched that they are stunning in the assorted qualities of travel choices that they make accessible. As a business traveler, be that as it may, your requirements are fairly unique in relation to the run of the mill aircraft traveler.

There are some certain administrations and genuine help that a living and breathing travel agent can give that basically can’t be duplicated by a computerized site like Travelocity or Orbitz. Some of those administrations that a prepared business traveler would be unable to live without having…

A Travel Agent will give you…

– Focus. You as a business traveler are not orchestrating this excursion for excitement. You have particular business goals as a main priority. So on the off chance that you should remove time from planning for your business assignment to stress over travel agendas, lodging and rental auto reservations and so forth, that is time that you are not being beneficial for your business.

When you get the chance that you can call a skilled travel agent who knows your travel profile well and delegate those courses of action to that agent, they carry out their occupation in finding only the right facilities for you and you are liberated to do what you excel at, spotlight on your business and the up and coming business trip.

– Economy. It is hard to find that harmony between finding the housing that fit the requesting timetable of a businessman out and about and is conscious of the organizations travel spending plan too.

On the off chance that you utilize a computerized online travel administration, you may need to relinquish accommodation, timetable or area for economy.

A decent travel agent will endeavor to get you the right schedule while getting as close the corporate travel cost confinements as would be prudent. Furthermore, they will do it without taking up a considerable measure of your time.

– Back up. You needn’t bother with help if your excursion goes totally as arranged. Be that as it may, in the event that you experience issues out and about, you can wind up in need or rescheduling flights and finding new lodging to work around scratched off flights, climate issues or other surprising intrusions to your arrangements.

These travel debacles are not aware of your tight due dates to meet your business objectives. In any case, you have a travel agent who is committed to giving you administration, he or she can locate those option courses and assets to do whatever they can to get you to your destination so you can direct your business on time.

– That individual touch. You may have travel inclinations that you need to accomplish with every outing you take. A travel agent has your profile and your travel history so they can do what they can to suit your inclinations.

Yet, in addition, when you have particular unique needs, for example, an eating regimen constraint or a requirement for convenience because of an inability, it will be a travel agent that sees to it that your needs are accommodated and you are well dealt with out and about.

– No Complications. In the event that your travel agenda includes making associations with different business accomplices who are going from various workplaces, complex travel calendars and schedule challenges that just can’t be depicted to the nonexclusive screens of an online travel administration, you can disclose these inconveniences to your travel agent and they can work with other travel agents attempting to arrange the meeting and see to it that your agenda meets your prerequisites.

While the online travel administrations do give a profitable and moderate other option to the general voyaging open, it is anything but difficult to see their confinements on the off chance that you are attempting to book a trek that is dubious or in the event that you have particular needs that the screens don’t suspect.

That is the reason working with a human travel agent ensures that this travel proficient person will devote themselves to the assignment of ensuring your excursion attempts to your details and that you get to your destination prepared to lead in business and be fruitful in your accomplishing your objectives.

Evolution of the Travel Agent

ars ago, when you wanted to go on vacation, there was only one option. You had to hoof it down to your local travel agency and browse through some travel brochures. Then, when you made your selection, you’d sit across the desk from your travel agent (in a very uncomfortable chair) while they entered all the information on their green monochrome computer screen. Travel agents were the keepers of all travel information. Their life was the stuff of dreams. We imagined they had been everywhere and knew everything about world travel. They were the rock stars of the retail world.

Then, a few things happened. First, the airlines decided they didn’t need travel agents anymore and they pulled the plug on agent commissions. This didn’t work out so well for the airlines as evidenced by the number of them who went under in the aftermath. Many agencies refused to sell airline tickets without receiving a commission. Why should they work for free? So, things began to change from what had once been a very structured agency model governed by the ARC (Airlines Reporting Commission) into an industry that was evolving into something new.

Then, the second thing happened. The advent of the internet connection changed the face of travel forever. Information is readily available 24 hours a day about any aspect of travel you can imagine – from luxury yacht trips in the South Pacific to staying at a youth hostel in Europe. Whatever your budget or interest, the internet can open up a whole new world of options available to you for travel.

However, with the plethora of information now available to consumers, is there still a need for the travel agent? Can’t consumers just figure this all out on their own now? I suppose they could try. But, why would they want to? Travel agents offer the benefit of their expertise in dealing day in and day out with travel suppliers. They still hold the “secret knowledge” of the travel business, just in a different way now. Plus, the services of a travel agent are usually free to consumers, as agents are paid commissions by suppliers.

In all honesty, consumers need travel agents now more than ever before. In the past, there was so little information available to consumers that they were at the mercy of the travel agent to get any of it. Now, there is so much information available to consumers, they’re often left floundering in the sea of travel offers. Travel agents are skilled at cutting through the hype and emotion-driven marketing of suppliers. They have learned how to match travelers with vacations they will treasure.

In the wake of the home-based business revolution, many travel agents have moved their businesses to their homes. This is a good thing for consumers in that it allows for much more personalized service. Agents usually have extended hours when they’re home-based, making it more convenient to get in touch with them. And often, agents will come right to your home equipped with their laptop and brochures.

The smart travel agents have embraced technology and are using it to provide better service to their clients. Most travel suppliers are riding the technology wave too and are providing wonderful online resources available only to travel agents. The information age has educated not only the consumer, but has given travel agents powerful tools to provide superior customized service to their clients. With this type of customization, you can receive targeted travel promotions only for the destinations you’re interested in. This service alone can help cut down on information overload. You only receive information that’s of interest to you.

Another benefit of using an agent is that you have an advocate once you’re on your vacation. If anything goes wrong or things aren’t as they were promised, your agent will be your advocate to the travel supplier to try to get things corrected and made right. Just give your agent a call and let them try to sort the problem out. Don’t spend valuable vacation time in frustration. Suppliers know that if they don’t treat their clients right, agent won’t promote their products. Suppliers work hard to maintain a good rapport with the travel agent community. Word travels fast about suppliers who won’t take care of problems. However, if you don’t have an agent, you won’t have the benefit of any extra leverage your agent could provide in correcting a problem.

So, go ahead and spend some time on the internet gathering information for your next vacation. Peruse the vastness of cyberspace hunting for that perfect vacation. However, when it comes time to book your reservation, give your travel agent a call. They’ll be able to determine if what you’ve selected will meet your expectations. If they think it won’t, they’ll recommend something else you might like better. And most likely … they’ll be right and you’ll end up having a fantastic vacation!

Travel Agents Are Still In Demand

Although their are numerous online travel services a traditional Travel agent is as much an important part of the trip as comfort is to traveling! The role of a travel agent has been increasing with the times and today most people are dependent on them for executing most of their travel plans so that they can rest easy and just enjoy their trip.

It is the responsibility of the travel agent to help and guide the travelers about the constantly changing schedules and airfares, availability of packages for vacation, and a lot of travel information that the traveler may not know about.

Choosing a reliable travel agent can be an important decision, since how you travel and your comfort will be largely decided by the travel agents. You should verify the information given by the travel agents, to be on the safer side and minimize your travel hassles. Incase of International travel, choosing a proper agent becomes more important.

The right agent should be able to foresee your problems and guide you about them. They should provide information related to customs regulations, important documents like visas, passports, currency exchange rates and certificates of vaccination.

Many hotels, cruise liners, resorts, and special travel groups make use of travel agents to market their travel packages to the ever increasing rate of people choosing to travel both inland and overseas. Most agents advice you on destinations and make arrangements for hotel stays, transportation, tours, car rentals, etc.

Information on weather conditions, restaurants, tourist attractions, and other such necessary information are also provided. A good travel agent could also take the trouble of checking out hotel services to gauge their quality of service in order that they can base references on a first hand report.

With the changing times, the travel industry has seen a big development in terms of Internet bookings and travel related information made available on the net. The number of people using online services is growing. This has resulted in a change in the view of the convenience of traditional agencies.

A poll result of American tourists revealed that over 92 percent of them generally buy their travel related necessities online. According to these consumers, online travel agencies have cheaper rates, are the easiest to use and offer all the relevant information. A word of caution is necessary for those using the Internet for their travel bookings. Be sure to navigate the site, verify that the agent has a good back-up system.

Also ensure that there are no added costs that are credited to your credit bills.

Till a few years ago, travel agents provided free services to their customers. Travel agents worked as agents for airlines, hotels, rental car companies, etc. The agencies worked on a commission basis from these suppliers.

But free travel agent services began changing as a result of certain changes in the rate of commissions. For example, in 1995 Delta Airlines imposed a $50 limit on domestic airline commission rates.

Why the Timing is Right – Become a Travel Agent

Why the sudden surge in interest for the travel industry? Here are a few facts to consider when looking at a travel career as a career option.

Here are the facts:

Travel is a $7 Trillion dollar industry expected to double to $14 Trillion within the next decade.
This lucrative industry is currently growing 23% faster than the global economy.
A key factor in this growth phenomenon is the stream of baby boomers that are retiring, or getting ready to retire.
Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 1 every 8 seconds.
Travel was rated the number one thing these baby boomers intend to do when they do retire.

When considering a career in the travel industry, there are several options available for those looking to work from home.

There is an increased demand for qualified travel agents, due to the explosive growth of the industry as a whole. To become a certified travel agent, your options are not limited to the traditional brick and mortar setting. Many reputable travel agencies now offer options for the individual looking for a legitimate home based business.

While doing your due diligence in researching whether this industry is a fit for you, consider that there are excellent income opportunities available to work from home.

If your goal is to work as an independent travel agent from the comfort of your own home, consider working as an online travel agent.

Here are some companies that you can research, that offer excellent training. Some of the companies will hire you as an employee, while others offer the freedom of being your own boss, and setting your own hours.

Do your due diligence!

Research each company carefully, and make it a priority to understand the compensation plan.
Know what training is available, and whether the company will offer you the opportunity to become certified.
Does the company have IATA, IATAN, ARC and CLIA affiliations?
What is the initial investment? Are there additional costs associated for licensing, or becoming certified?
If you are considering a work at home position, what kind of support is offered?

Are you a right fit for the travel industry?

Lets break down the qualifications that will determine whether you are suited for this challenging, but rewarding career.

Travel agents should have a minimum of a high school diploma.

Travel agents should have a love for travel. Enthusiasm and a love for working with people are crucial elements for success in this industry.

Travel agents should possess excellent multi-tasking and organization skills.

Great communication skills, as well as computer skills are essential.

Travel agents should possess a professional, courteous demeanor when working with suppliers, and the general public.

Attention to detail and accuracy are very important. Some sales ability is very helpful as well.

Now, the benefits of becoming a travel agent

The benefits of becoming a travel agent are many. I have listed the top three.

Travel agents save up to 80% on travel to many of the worlds exclusive resorts and destinations. These discounts include, but are not limited to:

Complimentary upgrades Hotel room upgrades and discounts

Car rental discounts and upgrades

Cruises

Theme park discounts

Vacation Packages

FAM trips, also known as familiarization trips. Suppliers want travel agents to have first hand knowledge of their facilities, so that the travel agent can make a recommendation based on personal knowledge and first hand experience.

The supplier will offer discounts and other perks, and roll out the red carpet to ensure the travel professional has an outstanding time.

Tax Benefits for individuals who chose to do this profession as an independent travel agent. Consult your CPA or tax professional for more information regarding this benefit.

Summary: How Do I become a travel agent?

In summary, becoming a travel agent can be a lucrative and rewarding career. Should you decide that you possess the skills and abilities needed for success, you can look forward to a promising career.

Get Started: Do a search online using the keywords: become a travel agent, how do I become a travel agent, or online travel agents.

Alecia is a professional network marketer who specializes in teaching others how to be successful with network marketing.

Do Travel Agents Get Free Trips? Part 2

Yes: travel agents DO travel for free

There are several scenarios that could allow travel professionals to travel for free. In a previous article, I discussed 4 ways that travel agents do come out of their pocket to pay for their trips. This time around I will explain how they also save and even travel for free.

Booking Groups Could Get You a Free Pass

There are incentives for booking groups (the fact that group travel is the most lucrative bookings in the travel industry should be incentive enough). If an agent books so many rooms (hotel) or cabins (on a cruise), they cold get a free room or cabin or money (not counting the commission) that they could use toward their room or cabin. Of course this all depends on the vendor’s group policy, quantity needed and who is assigned as group leader.

Actually you do not have to be a travel agent to get this benefit I am described above. If you are not a travel agent and you decide to book a group, if you are the group leader, you could very well get these benefits (ask your travel agent they should tell you that up front). This is the only way (outside of a frequent guest program) that a non-travel agent could get perks extended to them… so if you want to get some perks out of your trip…think in groups!

Travel Contests

Another way an agent could go free could be based on sales volume for a specific property or destination in a particular niche. Some travel vendors and agencies may offer free trips to top agents as incentive or awards for sales performance. These kinds of awards are offered as contents too! I’ve seen some really exotic destinations, life a fully expense paid trip to Costa Rica (wow!) offered to contest winners in my agency, which makes it really worth trying to get your sales

Travel Perks can be Good

Agents can sometimes take advantage of extended ‘courtesies’ or perks, which is an added benefit of being in the travel industry. We call them courtesies because no vendor is obligated to extend perks just because a travel professional identifies themselves as such. If an option for a room upgrade or car rental upgrade is available, agents will ask first if of course, and it’s up to the vendor to extend free services, amenities or perks to agents up presentation of valid credentials. These perks may also include shows, attraction tickets, tours and much more.

Agents Travel Free in the Long Run

This is the part I love about being a home-based travel professional! It really is all free in the long run! How is that? Travel professionals are allowed to legitimately write off their travel 100%. Yes, they can, so regardless if you are an agent who paid for their trip, you are in the business of travel, which makes all your travel 100% tax deductable. So if you are a travel agent, the key is to document your trip and save your receipts so you can legally write off your trips at the end of the tax year!

Just to recap, there are 4 main ways travel agents can travel for free:

1. Booking groups and getting room, cabin, or monetary credit
2. Agency and Vendor Contests
3. Perks & upgrades
4. Write-off your travel 100%

Attention All Agents: save those receipts and document, document, document!

If you are not a travel agent and you are an avid traveler, you are throwing money away! Learn how to become a part time travel agent and get the benefits of owning an online travel business!

Choose a Competent Travel Agent

The travelling industry has become so sophisticated at present that has transformed our chaotic task of travelling into a simplistic job. The cause is that this field is thriving recruiting and placing several travel agents and representatives that look out of every minute detail of their customers while travelling. A travel agent helps his consumers to make his travel arrangements, steering him about the target and needs that can arise to him.

These agents hold wide information about different travel pacts. The best setting to direct people as to which arrangement would go with them and would give them utmost return for their money. Travel planning needs a lot of things to be considered which comprise online reservations, arranging for tourism trips, earlier arrangement of hotels etc. It is thus recommended that the management of all this is best left to an expert and that what a travel agent be.

What to hunt for in travel agents?

Before choosing an agent, you must determine you are choosing a competent and practiced agent that will facilitate you while traveling. So, you must consider these aspects;

Travel experience;

An agent who has traveled to the site have direct knowledge of things to visit, and the best places to reside at your destination.

Certifications;

By law, travel agents are not requisite to have any certification. Still, many organizations offer guidelines to help you choose the trustworthy agencies.

Specialty;

You may desire an agent who is expert in certain kinds of tours. Does the mediator specialize in adventure tours or luxury travel? Is the agent a travel practiced?

Affiliation;

While a number of agents work as workers of a travel agency, self-governing contractors with their own agencies mostly work under the sponsorship of an associate or host travel agency in order to share contacts, resources and skill. Both kinds of the agent can be likewise good. If you are working with a self-governing agent, then discover the associate travel agency.

Philosophy;

What is the agent’s viewpoint on travel? Ask this guarantee that the consultant is a good match for you. For example, if you wince at the thought of roughing it in anything less than a five-star lodge, an agent who considers a hotel room is nothing more than a place to sleep may not be suitable for you.

It, thus, becomes obvious that the role played by the travel agent is enormously significant, and the triumph and failure of the whole project depends on an agent. They also go far off in minimizing the troubles that faces while traveling and make accessible to them the best packed that goes well with their budget. Competent travel agents have an edge over about any other supplier of travel. They identify what you feel like. They comprehend your language. And they’re available for you when you come across difficulty. In other words, travel agents aren’t old-fashioned. Just the inefficient ones are.

What Is A Home Based Travel Agent?

Many people are unclear about the travel industry. Travel agents are often thought to be the same as real estate agents. Becoming a travel agent or more specifically a home based travel agent is an exciting career change or retirement option. Some people do it full time while many do it as a part time business.

A travel agent books travel for customers and is paid by suppliers a commission on the booking. For bookings that suppliers do not pay a commission on, a travel agent also can charge the client a service fee for his/her time. An example is if you were to book a hotel for a client, the hotel would then send a check to the agency after the client checked out. Most hotels pay 10% of the price of the hotel before taxes and fees. A $100 per night hotel reservation would mean $10 a night for the travel agent who made the booking. This hotel would cost the same whether the customer uses a travel agent or books through the hotel directly. In many cases the travel agent can get a better price. It costs the customer nothing to use the travel agent unless the travel agent charges service fees.

Can anyone do this? In order to work with suppliers, you must have an account set up with the supplier. Most require an agency to hold an IATAN, CLIA or ARC number. IATAN stands for International Airlines Travel Agent Network. CLIA stands for Cruise Lines International Association. ARC stands for Airline Reporting Corporation. Each of these memberships requires different things including sales, money in the bank, experience or training in the industry, and membership fees. Many will require Errors and Omissions insurance of $1,000,000 or more.

For the average travel agent, membership is not a possibility with some organizations so the agent will team up with an agency and work as an independent agent or outside agent. There are also advantages of working with an agency because most travel agents cannot make enough in sales with a particular supplier to obtain higher commission levels and bonuses. Working with an agency with many agents can increase the commission percentages the agent gets because of the joint sales of all the agents at the agency. Support is also a very important aspect of being a successful agent. Agents who do not work with others tend to feel more isolated and have to learn to do it all solo. Since no agent can have the experience of being everywhere in the world or staying at every hotel or resort, having others that you can get advice from is really helpful.

The future of travel agencies is always questioned. The truth is the industry has changed in many ways. Some changes were for the better, some for the worse. Many airlines have cut commissions for travel agents. However, there are many other suppliers who are paying travel agents more than they were ten years ago. Cruises used to be booked by only the rich and now people in every income book cruises. Each year more and more people go on cruises. Most people say they want to go on a cruise at least once and many who go on their first come home to want to book another.

You can earn commission on many travel reservations.

Hotels
Rental Cars
Tour Packages
Cruises
Some airline tickets
International airline tickets
Travel insurance
Ground transportation including limos
Attraction tickets
Train tickets

People all need travel arrangements at some point in time. Those who take road trips need hotel reservations. Those who need to travel for business need airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel reservations. Families want to experience vacations with their loved ones. People visit family and relatives. Most people who win money say they are going to spend it to take a nice vacation. Newly married couples go on honeymoons. You are not selling something that is hard to sell. People contact you for help, you are not calling them or approaching them trying to sell them something they don’t want.

Educating the public is the main thing any travel agent must do. Most people put travel agents into the same category as real estate agents. They believe it costs additional to use a travel agent. This is untrue. In many cases a travel agent can get a better price than the general public through the suppliers who work only with travel agents. Many people do not know all the options for booking a vacation. A good travel agent does. Once people are educated on how a travel agent gets paid, they are more willing to work with travel agents. If a person knows that if he or she let you book a hotel and it will cost the same price regardless, she or he will work with you. It is important to let people know how you can help them save time and money on their travel arrangements.

So how do you get into the industry? Many people think they must go to school or become certified. This is not true. You can get into the industry and begin training. I don’t recommend anyone spend thousands on a travel school until he or she knows this is a career that he or she will really want to pursue. The truth is you do not have to spend thousands to get trained. There are many courses free to travel agents from suppliers. There are also organizations such as ICTA (Institute of Certified Travel Agents) who offer courses as you get more years experience in the industry. CLIA also offers courses. There are some agencies that will offer training. Even if you decide this is a career you would like to pursue, you do not need to spend thousands to become an educated and competent travel agent. There are many courses you can take with suppliers and organizations to get a better education in travel. I truly believe a hands’ on approach is the best way to become a better travel agent. Learning to work with suppliers and how to find the information your clients need is an important part of becoming a good travel agent.

How can you find an agency to work with? There are a few organizations dedicated to independent travel agents. NACTA and OSSN are the top organizations. NACTA stands for National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents. OSSN stands for Outside Sales Support Network. You can also search online for home-based travel agent programs. I would never recommend anyone spending a lot of money to start this business. It is key to first try and see if it is something you would really want to do and get training before you invest too much money into it. Get involved in the industry first and see if it is really a career that is best for you.

How to Find the Right Travel Agent?

In today’s Hi- Tech world, we have easy access to all kinds of information. We’re able to research, compare, and book travel right in the comfort of our own home. But the question arises – Who needs a travel agent anymore?

Fewer of us do, apparently. In last one decade the travel agents statistics had fallen by about 30%.

“They are an outdated remnant of past practices that add virtually no value to any transaction today,” says one of the employee working for Michigan airlines. After my recent recommendations of travel agent in various columns, I’ve been on the receiving end of the feedback – How could i..?.

So, here let me discuss about this common query. I believe that travel agents today still offer services and information that we can’t get on Internet. Granted, some things such as booking a simple flights, most people can successfully manage on their own. A travel agent however, can recommend smaller, alternative airports that the discount carriers use. This alone can save you quite a bit of money. However, the key thing that travel agents today offer is their first hand knowledge and right information. In planning a trip or vacation, one wants to find information about the places and regions suitable to them. Here the role of a travel agent comes into act considering the fact that they have traveled to many different places, they can provide much more insight than a brochure or web page can. Thus, finding the right travel agent is inevitable. The same thing goes for tours and specialty travel such as luxury, adventure, villa rentals, etc. A competent travel adviser can be your greatest asset when you’re planning a trip. The key word here is “competent.” And let me also define what I mean by agent: I’m not necessarily talking about an offshore call center worker reading from a script or a hobbyist who paid a few hundred bucks for bogus agency credentials. I mean a bona fide, certified travel professional. Once you decide to book a trip through an agent you must go through few quality check of an agent. These few measures include:

Understanding An Agent And Using Your Intuition – It’s important to feel out a prospective travel agent to see if you can build a rapport with them. This can be done even when you’re dealing with an Internet agency, through phone calls or e-mails. Face-to-face meetings are not necessary. The choice of right travel agent comes from knowledge, not words. The correct answers to your direct questions are what count. Before you even ask for a price quote, probe the knowledge and personality of the agent you may be putting in charge of your hard-earned vacation. If you get the right feel about this person, you then ask for a price quote. If a travel agent quotes you a price that is not the same as, or lower than the cost of booking directly, or doesn’t offer incentives like free insurance, or even a pre-cruise hotel room, they are choosing not to compete — a choice some agents do make. They hope to attract uneducated consumers. This not the kind of agent we recommend, unless the service is so fantastic you don’t mind missing out on a few perks. But price alone may not always be the best factor to find the right travel agent. We want the best price, but we also want assistance and service when we need it. Hence, when your skull asks this ” How to find the right travel agent”, the above mention criteria should strike you first.

Look For Certification – A right travel agent must be certified from some travel body or institution of his nation. This proves to be more promising or as the elderly travelers say “a certified travel agent is the right travel agent”.

Stay Local And Interview The Agent – There’s no substitute for the personal touch. My best experiences with agents have been one-on-one. The ability to meet – to look the agent in the eye, to shake his or her hand – is something online agencies can’t match. (Note: not all agents work in an office, but home-based agents can and do make personal visits.) The only exception to this rule is if you’re out to find an agent with a sought-after specialty. But even then, a trusted voice on the phone is preferable to the often unintelligible, script-reading customer service associate you’re connected to when dealing with a large agency. Mind this- a professional travel agent makes personal visits. Don’t pick the first agent you find. Talk to the travel pro. Pay close attention not only to the way your prospective agent responds, but also at what’s going on in the office around you.

Pressure Check – The only way to know for certain if your travel agent is a keeper is to see what happens when you run into trouble. A right travel agent would run through your foot steps in trouble. You must conform the services provided by the agent under such circumstances.

Good travel agents have an edge over almost any other seller of travel. They know what you want. They speak your language. And they’re there for you when you run into trouble.
In other words, travel agents aren’t obsolete. Only the bad ones are.

Traveling is something I have always cherished. An expedition offers a blend of countless itineraries ranging from Heritage, culture, tribes, adventure, wildlife and much more.