Do you want a holiday to remember for the rest of your life for good reasons… or the bad ones?

Sure, everyone loves planning a trip on their own but how many times have you encountered problems in the way which you did not see coming?

Wouldn’t it be better for you to spare yourself the hassle and get a great travel agency or company to help you with your trip plans and itinerary?

Now, we know that travel agents have been getting a bad rep these past few years due to countless scams, broken promises, and downright terrible service that does not warrant their high prices.

However, great travel agents will make your holiday that much sweeter.

From the extra mile to find the best locations and places to giving you tips in your travels, a good travel agent is the difference between a memorable trip and a holiday you’d wish you forget.

In today’s post, we’re going to cover what makes a travel agent good and bad.

Signs of a good travel agent

A good travel agent plans everything ahead of time

A good travel agent will have in mind several alternatives for you in case your initial trip goes wrong e.g. a location is shut down, a certain bar or restaurant is not open, or a flight ticket is unavailable.

Good travel agents also feel that it’s important to politely explain and recommend less experienced tourists the destinations that meet the tourists’ personalities and preferences.

For example, if you were to change your flight tickets and date out of the blue, a good agent will already have had a backup plan for you.

They should give you sound advice on your pickup times, transfer methods, and other things on your itinerary to ensure that everything goes smoothly during your trip.

A good travel agent puts in more effort than others

To compete with other agents in the market, a great travel agent will provide you with service that is way over your expectation.

Not only will they ensure your journey is as smooth as possible, they’ll also let you choose what you want to do and ensure that your happiness level throughout the trip stays high through fun activities and great scheduling.

A good agent will also use their expertise, connections in the travel industry, as well as their experience to add even more excitement to your holidays.

Not only that, they also offer useful tips for you during the trip to avoid issues. Again, travel agents are familiar with your trip destination so they will know local customs or regulations which might not be found easily on the Internet.

A good travel agent finds you the best deals

New Zealand beach horse riding

Good travel agents get you the best deals on your trips.

Now, “best deals” doesn’t mean that they get you the absolute bottom of the barrel prices for your trip. Instead, good agents can hook you up with experiences or events that are worth more than what you spend.

Since travel agents have access to all kinds of special deals which cannot be found online, you can expect a good one to surprise you with a secret activity or two. For instance, there are some skiing locations in New Zealand that can only be accessed if you have connections.

The same goes for restaurants or exclusive bars in the location you’re heading to.

A good travel agent understands what you want and need

A great travel agent will also listen attentively to your needs and try their best to tailor your trip according to your wishes.

Too many complaints about travel agencies come from agents who don’t cater their itineraries to their client’s needs; instead, they do it based on what they like and not what their clients like.

A good way to identify a good agency is if they ask you lots of questions about your trip and provide you with a variety of options based on what you tell them. They’re also perfectly fine with your suggestions and comments on their itinerary.

Good travel agents are flexible and creative in their planning

New Zealand Waikato beach

Good travel agents are also flexible with your schedule because they know emergencies and issues can happen anytime. They won’t throw a tantrum over the phone nor will they charge hidden costs for your change in plans.

Of course, don’t take advantage of your good travel agent by being immature with your requests.

Signs of a bad travel agent

Bad travel agents want you to pay in cash only

Reputable travel agencies all around the world accept credit cards and other forms of payment which is always the preferred choice if you want to make a travel purchase.

You should be extremely wary if an agency only accepts cash.

A credit card purchase protects you against cases such as the agency going bankrupt, a breach of contract in your travel documents, or the agent running away with your money.

A legitimate travel agent will never accept cash only. Wire transfers are fine and some agencies may even you offer discounts for cash payments but if you have to do so, make sure that you check on the agency’s reviews and reports.

If you can’t find anything credible about them, stay clear!

A bad agent focuses more on their commission than your enjoyment

Travel agents make money by charging you a booking fee or by taking a percentage-based commission from your travel fees.

Now, it’s not wrong for an agent to try his or her best in getting higher commissions but you should be wary of the ones who purposely mislead you for more money.

If you ask about an agent’s compensation based on your trip, a good travel agent should have no problems explaining what he or she will get, as well as bonuses from your booking.

If an agent is overly private or protective over their fees, it may be a sign that they’re hiding something or are pushing a hidden agenda.

They may try to push you to a trip or holiday which is not within your interests at all so the moment an agent tries to sell you something else, be firm and let them know what you really want.

A bad travel agent has no real certifications or qualifications

Although there are no “real” qualifications for travel agents like bar examinations for lawyers or Chartered Accountancy certificates for accountants, it is still wise to look for things that can denote an agent’s credibility.

Having an International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN) membership is a universal sign that your agent is legit. There also other organisations to look out for based on your country such as the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) for US tourists.

Although being an agent does not require any certifications, having one or two means that they’re dedicated and committed to their job. Anyone can learn anything but actually taking a course or test to certify your skills is what separates good agents from bang average ones.

Hidden fees, additional charges, and random fees that are not explained clearly

A good and honest agent will disclose every fee, surcharges and incurred costs before you make a decision, not after. Agents who only tell you your extra costs after you’ve made the deposit should never, ever be contacted again.

The key to avoiding this is to have everything in writing beforehand. This leaves a trail for you to agree to the terms and fees of the travel agent as well as ensuring that no extra charges are added without your knowledge.

Good agents will treat you like friends; they are honest, transparent, and genuinely interested in seeing you enjoy your holidays – not to make it worse.

About the Road Trip

We have a reputation for preparation and detail that goes above and beyond – making excellent recommendations for your itinerary as well as including the best stops to enjoy the scenery and take memorable photos on your next time.

We offer a wide choice of private tour packages and you can select one based on your needs and travel expectations.

From an 8-day Winterless North private guided tour that covers the very best of the North Island to a 14-day self-drive adventure in New Zealand’s South Island, we’ve got your travelling needs covered.

We’ll be more than happy to discuss your interests and the length of your stay, before putting together an itinerary that is tailored exclusively for you.

What’s next?

Over here at The Road Trip, we have several tour packages on offer for visitors.

We are one of the leading tour provider in New Zealand with a host of awards under our name. You can check out our client testimonials over here.

To get in touch with us, send us an e-mail by heading over to this page or call us at 0800 4 ROADTRIP if you are in New Zealand or +64 2191 0433 if you are outside of New Zealand.