Booking With A Travel Agent vs Booking Online Yourself
Travel agents still exist, having evolved from travel bookers to travel consultants. Some people enjoy holiday planning, while others consider it an arduous chore.
If you're going to use a travel agent, don't pop in without having done some prior research. Even if you do, don’t buy on your first visit. Take time to think.
With hundreds of booking sites at your fingertips, travel agents might seem like a relic of the past - but it depends how you define a travel agent or agency. The travel industry was one of the earliest to be disrupted by the onset of the digitization of our life. Instead of wiping them out, the rise of technology allowed travel agents to transform the way they work and carve out a niche - simply because they are still in demand (they’re especially heavily used for luxury, corporate, and group travel).
If you rather prefer booking online, some research is not going to be enough. You need to start your bargain hunt at least 3-4 months in advance.
Let's have a quick look at pros and cons of booking with travel agent vs doing it yourself (DIY) online. This way it will be up to you decide which option works best for you.
Do It Yourself OR Cons of Booking with an Agent
If you're traveling on a last-minute whim, you are likely have no option but do it yourself online.
The main bonus of bypassing a travel agent is cost. You're cutting out someone else in the middle. Travel agents who resell cruise, flights, tours and hotels for a living rely on their commissions in order to earn their income. So, travel agents may steer you to a supplier/operator that offers the best commission (“push” those deals over the others).
You have the flexibility to browse lots of options at your own convenience and monitor price trend for a while before buying. You don’t have the pressure of someone trying to sell you something. It’s easy to comparison shop.
You can get a more custom itinerary.
You won't need to deal with two sets of terms and conditions.
You will end up doing more research about your travel destination, which may be useful for you in terms of activities to do and places of interest there.
Booking with a Travel Agent
There exist several overriding reasons why people still turn to travel agents.
First, they save you time and the difficulty of searching through a variety of options, create a personalized itinerary that matches your travel preferences.
Please note that travel agents no longer require a licence in Australia and they can operate as any other business in the country (subject to the same consumer protection laws). However, there are some voluntary accreditation organizations such as AFTA.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) lists the following as benefits of booking with an accredited travel agent:
- Professional and personal travel specialists. A professional travel agent is trained to make your entire experience – from start to end – hassle free. They also tailor the itinerary to suit specific requests and find packages and products that suit your unique wants and needs.
- Customer advocacy. If you experience a problem while travelling, your agent will act on your behalf, and is there to rectify any travel-related issues you encounter.
- Expert guidance. Agents are trained destination and product experts and know how to sort through the myriad of travel information available. Their knowledge and network means they also have access to the best deals.
- Time saving. An agent has a world of travel information at their ﬁngertips, saving you countless hours of online searching and frustration.
- Convenience. Travel agents are a 'one-stop shop' that can handle every aspect of your travel – from booking airline tickets, ground transfers, tours and activities to arranging travel insurance.
- A personal touch. A travel agent will ensure the accuracy of your booking details, advise with visa applications, assist with travel documentation, and provide valuable travel hints and tips.
The Best Time to Book Your Flight
It is usually cheaper if you can book your flight at least 6-7 weeks and your hotel 3-6 weeks in advance. Travelling on Friday and Saturday is generally more expensive. Also, days around school holidays, long weekends and public holidays are not meant for savvy travellers.
Do your search off-peak times of the day such as after midnight and early in the morning to make sure you see the all actual available options that are released after the temporary hold.Read more
Set Travel Priorities & Expectations
Set your top priorities and expectation well in advance.
What are you after? What matters most for you? Are you flexible with travel dates? are you flexible with the destination? Would rather go somewhere else if cheaper?
Traveling. We have expectations of what it will be like, who it will be with and how much fun we're going to have.Read more
Compare Travel Deals and PackagesWeigh off all your options before buying. We have sifted through Australia’s top travel agencies and sites to shortlist the best ones. Whether you're looking for an adventure trip, family holiday or a weekend getaway, you can now search all these sites in one place. Once you find what you are after, you book directly with them. No fees or charges added on. We are 100% free! We are continuously extending the range of travel deals from trusted agencies to help everyday Australians shop around. Or Read more
Travel Deals – Are Extras Worth It?
Take anything that's for free. Give any other paid extras the flick.
Unless you're confident of receiving more in benefits than you're paying in advance, you should not consider buying extras.
Travel booking sites simply cannot offer you airport transfers, taxi, additional accommodation, other add-ons, drinks etc. cheaper. Simple math. Also, why would they?Read more
Such stuff are not promoted and are generally not competitively priced.
Smart Ways to Pay When You Travel
There are plenty of ways to pay for your travel online – from bank transfers and debit and credit cards to third-party payment services like Poli, Bpay and some Buy now, pay later services which allow you to purchase a product immediately and then pay it off in instalments over several months.
ere are some tips to help you stay safe when you pay for your travel deal online or you buy stuff while traveling.Read more