How to Differentiate Good International Travel Agencies from Bad Ones

Like many things of the old world, Travel agents have also become a punch line that is often categorized as being unnecessary, obsolete and pointless. As you can probably imagine, nobody wants to have their profession insulted, but the truth is that from a certain perspective, the concept of a travel agent has become a dying breed, but not in the way that you would imagine. It is true that the internet has given us the opportunity to research valuable information on our own,  but this doesn’t mean that we are also equipped to organize it efficiently.

international travel agencies

Travel agents, who would basically book flights and arrange trips in the past, have been forced to evolve. While they may have been nothing more but service marketers for airline companies in the past, nowadays they can offer valuable insights, and create complex itineraries for people who don’t want to waste their time with the planning process of a trip. At present, they act as personal advisers who provide their clients with much needed information to enhance their travel experience. In a letter addressed to the White House, ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar wrote that “Thanks to their in-depth knowledge, experience and industry connections, travel agents are able not only to save their clients money, but their most valuable possession: time”


Even if many online publications have tried to discredit the profession, the truth is that a decent amount of travelers are still considering the advantages of using a travel agent. And why wouldn’t they? Knowledgeable international travel consultants can take care of everything from planning to safety measures and itineraries. Of course, there are still those who are only interested in ripping people off. So how exactly can you differentiate Good international travel groups from bad ones? Here is a checklist for both good and bad travel agencies that will help you make the right choice.

good travel consultants

1. Good International Travel Agents / Consultants

When planning an international trip is vital to pay for value. There are many travel agents that offer value, and it is quite easy to spot them. There are many advantages to hiring a travel agent, but you must first find a reliable company.


  • A good travel agent Will Help You Save Money: You are probably asking yourself when to use a travel agent. Usually, when you want to cut down on costs and not bother yourself with trip planning. A capable travel agent can help you create a good itinerary and establish the best routes to help you save money.  In other words, instead of getting lost in unknown territories, you will benefit from the help of a professional.


  • Look for Agencies that have CLIA and IATA certifications: Professional companies are required to have International Air Transport Association or Cruise Line International Association access. This will enable them to book airlines through their booking source, and therefore avoid extra costs. There are some airlines that are not registered on these booking agencies, and this means that the consultant will have to book tickets through a third party source, like a hotel or resorts. This will add to the cost of your traveling package.


  • Focus on Specific Destinations for which they have First Hand Experience: What sets decent travel agents apart from brilliant ones is the level of their knowledge. While they may help you with plane ticket bookings, this is not their main objective. Nowadays, a travel agent is supposed to take into account the traveler’s desires, and budget, and come up with a personalized itinerary to transform his vacation into the experience of a life-time.


2. Bad International Travel Agenciesbad travel consultant

For those travel agents that are ethical, we raise our hats. Sadly, they are not  representative of all consultants in the industry. There are countless of so-called agents who do nothing but try to deceive people. Here are five things that will help you spot bad companies:


  • Will not tell you about refunds and cancellation policies: many bad companies think that it is a great idea to hide information that would normally be useful to a traveler. For example, in the past it was travel agents that could cancel a trip. At present, online travel sites will offer money back, even on airfare drops, as long as the booking was made at least one week before the flight, an 24 hours after the booking. This neat piece of information is something you won’t be hearing from sneaky agents.


  • Will Force you to make Travel Insurance even if it isn’t Necessary: If you have health insurance, you will also be covered for emergencies overseas. In addition, credit companies usually cover lost baggage, emergency assistance, and canceled trips or dismemberment. There are some international travel consultants that like to push travel insurance because it will increase the overall value of a vacation package, and therefore, will also increase their commission. Don’t be fooled.


  • They are asking for “bonus fees” for their services: We are not saying that all travel agents are doing this, but there are certain companies or consultants who are trying to ask for more money than they are entitled to. For example, some companies ask for commissions from their clients, but also take bonuses from the hotel or airlines that they collaborate with. If you feel that they are trying to influence your travel decisions, or influencing you to choose a particular destination/hotel/service, it might be because they have a higher commission with them. According to Donna Cambridge, co-owner of Chesterfield Cruise & Travel in Springfield, cruises are being bought. In addition to this, many international travel groups add an unjustifiable booking fee to the total cost of airline reservations.


The bottom line is that you may not need a travel agent to plan a dream vacation; however, if you are pressured by time, or the sheer amount of information, it might be wiser to have an expert plan it out. The question remains if you can differentiate a good international agency from a bad one.