BBB tips on finding the right travel agent

INDIANAPOLIS – If you’re like me, you might think you have no need for a travel agent.

Why pay someone to make plans and arrangements you can handle yourself? To some extent, I still feel that way when it comes to simple road trip family vacations.

However, my opinion changed the first time our family embarked on our first Disney World adventure with our two kids. Our agent, who happens to be a friend of my wife, made all the difference in the world when it came to getting the most out of our time at the Disney parks in Orlando. I hadn’t been to Disney World since I was a kid myself, so the experience of planning the trip from a parent’s perspective was a humbling one. Our agents definitely provided insight and valuable information we otherwise wouldn’t have had.

With that in mind, the Better Business Bureau has some good recommendations for finding the right travel agent for your family:

Recognizing a good travel agent:

  • Takes the time to learn your travel needs, preferences, tastes, budget, and personal limitations, such as medical conditions or phobias.
  • Does comparison shopping to find the transportation, accommodations, attractions, and services that will give you the greatest satisfaction at the best price.
  • Keeps abreast of new developments in the travel industry that could benefit you, such as price cuts and special deals on airfares and hotels.
  • Is highly knowledgeable about attractions and local customs at popular destinations and can provide tips that will help you choose among options and keep your trip running smoothly.
  • Will be able to stay current on any travel restrictions or alerts that may arise and impact your travel.

How to find a good travel agent:

  • When possible, deal with a local travel agent. Take advice from friends and business associates who use an agent they trust, and always check business profiles on BBB.org.
  • Visit or call several agencies to find the one that best suits your needs.
  • Consider everything from the office’s appearance to the agent’s willingness to listen and answer questions.
  • Ask about a specific agent’s professional background. For example, what kind of training or education they have had.
  • Contact the American Society of Travel Agents to check if a travel agent you consider using belongs to this organization.

If you don’t know where to start looking, the BBB has a search page on its website that lists accredited travel agents near you. The organization also has general travel tips to keep in mind.

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