Considering booking your next vacation online? With travel websites like Expedia and Jeju, you can easily find a flight or book a hotel. But did you know that sometimes going through a travel agent may even be more worthwhile than planning your own trip?
Most Singaporeans have the misconception that booking a vacation through an agency amounts to a packaged tour. But that is not the case. Travel agencies can help you book your flights, your accommodations and make recommendations to your itinerary base on your preferences too!
Bearing this in mind, sometimes arranging your trip through an agent saves you more money and time than you planning your own trips because they are definitely more resourceful and they have the ability to secure better deals and bargains than you can find on the Internet.
That being said, here are some advantages when you book your vacation with a travel agent instead!
1) Time is Money, Booking Through an Agent Saves You Time
Rather than spending the whole day (or even days) trying to sieve through airline websites, travel websites and accommodation options for the best deals, why not let someone cover that all for you?
It is less time-consuming and your very resourceful agent will be able to give you more comprehensive information on the various options. Besides, with their experiences and connections, your agent may even help you save on flight and accommodations, bringing me to the next point.
2) You Get Cheaper Tickets and Better Flights with a Travel Agent
No matter how up-to-date information on the Internet may be, it will not be as good as the computer reservation technology which travel agents possess that predates the internet. That means your travel agent will be in the tightest loop on the cheapest air fare deals and promotions. Also, travel agencies buy airline seats in bulk, that’s why it will be cheaper to buy your ticket through an agency sometimes.
Most travel agencies work with full-service airlines as well. While you think you may save cost by booking a budget airline, you need to factor in the cost of extra baggage and the comfort you’ll have on the flight. Additionally, most of the “cheap flights” on travel websites are dominated with those with long lay overs or unfavourable timing.
What could be a 6-hr flight to Seoul could extend to a 13-hr journey with the layover! Imagine all the things you could do in your destination with that wasted time stuck in a cold, boring airport terminal!
This is a price comparison for airfare to Seoul (7 Aug-16Aug) from Chan Brothers, Scoot Airline and Expedia.
You’ll notice that booking through Chan Brothers is more worthwhile, even with the additional agent fee. The price is almost similar to buying through Scoot directly.
But don’t forget, Scoot is after all a budget airline with limited service and there is also a 1-hour layover. Besides, the Scoot pricing was obtained during their Sales hour. Because when I checked in the morning, it was about $800+ just for tickets, not including tax, seats and baggage yet.
Also, this is not the cheapest flight Expedia has to offer; but the cheapest flight is a 15hour journey with 6 hours of layover. So tell me again which is more worth it?
3) Get the best hotel deals from your Travel agent
Hotels are more mindful when dealing with travel agents than individual private guests in order to maintain a good working relationship. If you’re lucky enough to find a really good travel agent, they may even help you get a free upgrade, early check-in and other incentives.
I grasped the importance of this on my self-planned Taiwan trip last year, where my friends and I arrived in Taipei at 7am and it was impossible to check in to our hotel until 3pm! We had to crash at Holiday KTV until the shops open so we can grab food and shop a bit before the check in. So if you don’t like to meet the same fate as us (or even worse), it is better to go through an agent to make all these arrangements for you.
4) Travel agents will be your best advisor to your itinerary
This is especially important when you’re travelling to a country for the first time. With their overflowing experience, a good travel agent will be able to guide an inexperienced traveller through foreign lands and exotic cities.
They’ll be able to tell you what are the sights that you need to see, and even the rarest nooks around the city, information you may not even find on the Internet without spending extended amount of time on research. Sometimes, they may even snag some VIP treatment for you with the help of their local contacts!
Another important thing they can advise you on is the culture and practices in the destination. They have been incidents where independent tourists get mugged because they are unaware of the culture differences and accidentally offended the locals.
And you know what’s the best part? You can ask as many question you want, and you’ll get all this information for free. A dedicated travel agent will relay information to you to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
5) When you book your own trips, you’re on your own
That means if your flight gets cancelled, or your hotel is overbooked and your booking was not registered, there’s nothing you can do but to get all stressed up trying to find the quickest solution. And we haven’t even talk about the worst-case scenario where, for some unfortunate reasons, you get stranded in a foreign, unfamiliar place.
These not only cost you your money, cause you to be distressed on a supposedly-relaxing holiday, it may even put your safety at risk.
When you book your trip via a NATAS-certified travel agency, you can be assured that they will be able to help you resolve these problems fairly quickly so you can enjoy your holiday with a peace of mind. Check out the list of travel agencies that are part of the NATAS accrediation partnership HERE
So don’t you think that going through a travel agent is much more efficient and economical than planning your own trip? If you beg to differ, let us know why in the comment section below!