These days many people are living paycheck to paycheck and are facing the possibility of tougher economic times, but at the same time, at last one yearly vacation is necessary for your sanity! But with less money to spend, many vacationers are looking for advice on how to travel cheap whether with an online travel website or with a brick and mortar travel agency. It is often cheaper to use an online travel agency, right? But should you?
There are pros and cons to which kind of travel agent to use, and you can find cheap travel deals with either one at any given time. However, keep in mind that if you use a traditional travel agency, there are some things you will never hear from them.
1. “Oh, you won’t find the best deals here, you should check online.” The traditional “brick and mortar” agency is going to consider online travel agencies as their arch rival, so they will never tell you to go check online and try to get a better deal. It doesn’t matter if you end up paying substantially more for your tickets, they want you to stick with them. Of course, this does not mean you will never get a better deal at a regular agency. You often can and will because these professionals know the ropes, know the ins and outs, and can negotiate a deal for you that you may or may not get on your own. However, if they can’t, you won’t be told this!
2. You may be paying numerous service charges. Years ago travel agent personnel could end up making quite a lot of money on commissions. For example, you would book a flight and the airline would pay the agent a “commission” of sorts, allowing them to make a very good yearly salary if they booked a lot of airline fares. However, with the advancement of the Internet over the past decade or so, this practice has all but stopped. Now the agents receive money with service charges rather than commissions. So be sure to check up front how much the charge will be, as it may not be disclosed to you until later toward the end of your visit or even after you have secured your tickets.
3. “We make a lot of mistakes!” Ever hear that from your travel agent? No? Thought not. The fact is, agencies make a lot of errors, bookings get messed up, tickets get entered in wrong, and all sorts of problems. The one good thing though is that you will have a human to speak to when you get to your destination and find things are not as they should be.
4. “We don’t have the best customer service.” This from your online agency. The reason? It’s tough to speak to a real live person sometimes when you have a problem. Oh, you can find one eventually, but by then your vacation might be over!
5. Wrong info. Yes, you might get bogus information from your travel agency. How so? Well, let’s say for example you plan to travel abroad and you need information on currency exchange or perhaps what documents you require. Write down what your agent tells you but double check. It is certainly not always going to be wrong but it does happen quite a bit.