In July 2019, on my flight to Ghana, I started talking to the gentlemen next to me about travel. He told me that he had booked a ticket through an online portal and cancelled it the same day. He ended up paying NGN 43,000 (100$ approx) towards cancellation charges. A travel agent would have done this for free without any charges. Though Not all travel agents would do this. It depends upon your relationship with him and if you are giving him or her regular business, he or she will most probably help you save money.
I asked this gentleman regarding why he booked online and not through the travel agent. He said the price was the same and the travel agent was charging a service fee so he decided to book online.Yes online is cheaper but not by much. When you lose money, it will compensate the extra you are paying your travel agent.
What about holidays? Holidays are a complex product and require research and planning. Travel agents are best at selling standard product for e.g. Imagine a 5N/6D All inclusive Maldives package. You could get it for $3,200 for two persons depending on if it’s an ocean villa or beach villa- (flight, full board meal, exquisite rooms, tours etc). If you like planning your own trip, you will find out that your budget will go way beyond $3,200 and yet it’s not an all inclusive package!!.
It is much preferable to purchase an all inclusive customized holiday package than have a “bits and pieces” of the holiday.
Also Travel agents have their own advantage and planning your own trip online is exciting for some people. To answer the question on whether to travel agent or self planning/booking, it really depends upon what kind of a person you are. If you don’t have time or are not confident, go with a travel agent. If you like your holiday to be your way and want more control over what you want to do, you could consider planning and booking online.
Moreso, when using a travel agent, you’ll have greater chances regarding all information for planning and booking your trip with cancellation policy and payment terms. Here the advantage is you will know how much you will spend on the holiday with the option to decide your prefered hotel and activities before booking the package.
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