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How to pick the perfect travel agent

written by Nick Reid January 27, 2015

Booking your holiday can sometimes be so overwhelming that all you need to find is a decent and reliable travel agent to walk you through the seemingly daunting process.

Questions surrounding the authenticity of the websites you’ve been scanning, reliability of certain accommodation, airlines and restaurants, and safety of the areas you’ve been looking at staying in can generally all be answered by your travel wizard and their trusty computer.

They can get you out of hairy situations while abroad and can liaise with airlines, hotels and tour groups to ensure you get the best experience without you barely having to lift a finger.

However, I’m sure most of you reading this will know of either yourself, or someone close to you, that has had a negative experience with a travel agent. It can sometimes be like speed dating: someone giving you a whirl of information in two minutes that’s meant to impress but with no follow through. So here’s a rough guide to ensure you find your travel agent soul mate and get the most out of your holiday.

Taking the travails out of travel is all about picking the right agent. Credit Shena Tschofen, Flickr

Taking the travails out of travel is all about picking the right agent. Credit Shena Tschofen, Flickr


Honesty and transparency are the keys to building the right relationship between you and your travel agent. If they are willing and able to show you their computer screen, tell you their fees and charges, and thoroughly take you through the terms and conditions of your holiday, you are one step closer to asking for their number. Most travel agencies will charge change and cancellation fees, so make sure you’re aware of the costs before you book your trip.

Time saving

The time and hassle a travel agent can save you in booking your around-the-world holiday will be worth the extra few dollars you may have saved on the airfares offered on Expedia or Skyscanner. The support agents can offer you while abroad if something goes wrong is priceless, plus many agents may be able to price beat/price match prices you see on the web. At the end of the day, your travel agent will save you the time and effort of searching for flights, which you can put into deciding what party shirt to pack in your backpack.

Prompt response

Forget the three-day dating rule: if your agent replies to you within 24 hours or earlier, you know you’ve found a keeper. Who wants to wait around while your flights are booking up or you’re stuck in LA airport with the most aggressive customs officials to grace the planet. You want your travel agent to be prompt with their responses and easy to communicate when in need.

Genuine interest

Just as in speed dating, you want to talk to someone who is genuinely interested in you and your ideas. Forget order taking travel agents who mindlessly punch in your requests; seek out those whose faces light up when you tell them about your plans to see the Northern Lights or your rail adventure through South-East Asia. If they actively try and navigate your trip, offer alternatives or try to troubleshoot any issues you may be having, you have a potential keeper. Make sure they listen to what you want to get out of your holiday, and keep an eye out for agents that offer things that they want to sell rather than what you are asking for.

Want to make sure you're on the right plane for the right price? Join the queue. Credit Earl, Flickr

Want to make sure you’re on the right plane for the right price? Join the queue. Credit Earl, Flickr

Destination knowledge

Your travel agent may not have been everywhere you want to go and, to be honest, I wouldn’t expect an agent to have a deep local knowledge of every city on the planet. However, if you can find an agent who has been to, knows about or is willing to do a bit of research for you on your destination of choice, then you know you’re onto a good thing.

Student discounts

For the younger travellers reading this, most of the youth orientated travel agencies around will be able to access fares and information that no search engine on your computer is able to find. This is where you will save money, providing the student rates are available for your destination, and where your travel agent can be your biggest asset.

While travel agents aren’t for everyone, I assure you they are not a dying breed and their knowledge and skills, if competent, can save you time and money and ensure you have a hassle-free holiday (or as hassle-free as travel gets).

Looking for someone to take the hassle out of flights, insurance and all that boring stuff? Give Intrepid’s friendly team a call. We’re a full service travel agent as well as a group tour operator. Nifty huh? 

Feature image c/o Kate Ter Haar


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Suhani Sane January 4, 2022 - 4:23 pm

Fantastic blog. Thanks for sharing this wonderful website with us. I’ll share this blog with my colleagues. I’m sure this info will be useful to those who need it.

Tanzania safari February 2, 2021 - 1:52 am

Nice article! This is very helpful information for everyone who wish or wants to travel. Thanks for sharing

Taylor Wright December 19, 2019 - 2:17 am

I like that you said to be aware of the costs of the trip since travel agencies will charge cancellation fees. My wife and I want to take a trip to Mykonos this summer since all of our kids are out of the house. I’ll have to find a good travel agency to help us get a good deal.

jack stiles November 12, 2019 - 7:45 am

I love that you mentioned that you can save time and effort by hiring a travel agent because they will do all of the work for you. My wife and I want to plan the perfect vacation, and it will be important for us to know that we could still have time to fulfill all of our other obligations. I will be sure to talk to my wife about hiring a travel agent to help us save time.

Ellen Hughes April 17, 2019 - 3:48 pm

It got me when you said that it’s important to choose a travel agent that can provide you with prompt responses and can reply to your queries within 24 hours. My husband and I are interested in going on a family vacation soon. This is because our children have been complaining about our lack of time for them due to the demands of our jobs. We want to find a travel agency that can help us to book our flights and accommodations ASAP, so we’ll do all your tips.

Niels Glx June 4, 2018 - 4:59 pm

Back before I became a diehard fan of travel agents, I was a diehard fan of doing it myself. But a few bad trips, many of which I’ve written about in this column, resulted in numerous comments from travel agents that they could have saved me some agony, not to mention quite possibly some money. But, because of this article, it helps me a lot on how to pick a perfect travel agent.

Lynn Foy April 30, 2018 - 7:52 pm

Very informative post!! Travel agents not only save you time, but they can also save your money as well. Travel agents know the tourist places deeply and also analyze your trip alternatives also so as to make your trip more luxurious and enjoyable within the time frame. They’re well travelled, know people, and have likely been through nearly every travel obstacle imaginable.

Kedar April 24, 2018 - 1:42 am

Great information you have shared about how to pick perfect travel agent. Really it’s very helpful post.

Travel agency Pakistan January 15, 2018 - 10:18 pm

An amazing article. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I know very important things over here. It is very informative post for every who wants to travel. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

Raja kinder Kumasr December 26, 2017 - 5:10 pm

Excellent and knowledge-oriented recommendations.

Harper Campbell August 17, 2017 - 2:33 am

My husband and I are wanting to finally make the leap first vacation out of the country. It’s good to know that when it comes to finding a travel agent to help us out that one thing we need to look for is one that has a quick response time to help make communications simple and stress free. It will be nice to know that we can count on them before and during the trip to help answer any questions that we might have.

Arvinder Singh February 28, 2017 - 5:08 pm

Very helpful for travelers to find the right travel agent for their upcoming travel. Thanks for sharing !

Sharmista January 30, 2015 - 5:38 pm

Right points before selecting a travel agents 🙂 thanks to share


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