So you are finally ready to take that trip to Africa you’ve been planning for for several years. Of course you are excited about the chance to see lions, elephants, the other African big five and other animals in their real wild habitats. Or probably the prospects of a luxury beach holiday in the Seychelles or Mauritius islands. Or the much anticipated tour to the great pyramids, Abu Simbel, and other monuments of ancient Egypt. But, wait a minute, where do you start?
If you are like many other travellers, you’ll probably want to use the services of a travel agent to help you put your trip together. Even with the rising popularity of travel booking sites like expedia, kayak, orbitz, and others, you will at some point need to consult a “real” travel agent. Your choice will be between a travel agent based in your home country or one operating in the country/destination you will be visiting.
In a previous post, I mentioned that you should ideally use an agent in the destination country, but that does not mean you can not get a good deal from an agent in your home country. Whatever your choice, today I am highlighting what I think are the important things to consider when choosing a travel agent. The list in not completely exhaustive, is not arranged in any particular order, but I hope you will find it helpful.
1. Destination and product knowledge
Your ideal travel agent should know more about your destination than the average guy on the street. You may not for example know that the bush lodge that your friends recommended last year is currently closed for renovations, or, say, the government has for some reason closed public access to a certain beach front. A good agent will have all this insider information.
Test the agent’s knowledge by asking questions.