How to Pick the Best Available Travel Agent
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Published by TOP4 Team
If exploring as much of the countless Australian experiences as you can is in your list of things to accomplish before you die, then you have to be smart about planning your travels. You wouldn't want all kinds of issues to crop up as you make your way through the stunning continent's attractions, all because of a failure to effectively plan your journey, so one of the best moves you can surely make is to hire a seasoned travel agent to help you with your arrangements.
There are thousands of travel agencies available in the country, though, so you have to be wise about your selection to ensure that you receive quality services for your hard-earned travelling dollars. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you consider your options in search of a trustworthy and fully capable travel agent.
1. As of July 1 2014, travel agents in Australia are no longer required to hold a licence, but they do still need to comply with Australian Consumer Law. And as their customer, you will still have rights and access to solutions in the event that something goes wrong during your travels.
2. It's ideal to pick a travel agent that is a member of a recognised industry association such as the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, or has the accreditation or industry specific training and qualifications.
3. Make sure that the agent you choose has insolvency insurance, which covers travel agent and supplier collapse.
4. A travel agent that is affiliated with a chain or an airline may be a good choice if you're hoping to get discounts or special promotions from a particular airline or chain. If not, though, you can skip this consideration as it could cause you to miss out on other experiences.
5. If you aren't keen on purchasing pre-arranged travel packages, try to find a travel agent that specialises in the type of travel you seek and is open, experienced and willing to arrange a customised holiday experience to suit your needs and wants.
6. Ask plenty of questions about a travel agent's promotional materials, the involved costs, any possible changes or increases to the costs, accurate quotes, declared surcharges, and the requirements that they would be asking for to arrange your travels. Keep in mind that you're paying good money to go travelling, so you have a right to know how each dollar will be spent and whether you're paying only the right amount for the agent's services.
7. Verify all the requirements and travel details that a travel agent will need to book a trip, such as the standard of accommodation, the exact times and locations for departure, passport and visa requirements (expiry dates, entry and re-entry permits), extra charges (for tours, meals, tickets, local fees, transfers) health and vaccination regulations, special conditions of the holiday, and the like.
8. If you come across problems during your travels, like if an airline refuses to let you board because of overbooking or if tour operators and hotels refuse to honour letters or vouchers issued by the travel agent, you can bring up the matter with the trade organisation that the agent is a member of. And if the travel package you purchased is not the one represented by the agent you hired, you can lodge a complaint with Fair Trading upon your return.