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A travel advisor, also known as a travel agent or travel consultant, works with clients individually to help them plan and book their vacations. He or she will plan all aspects of a trip including things like airfare, rental cars, hotels, and even additional activities that the clients might want to do, such as snorkeling in the Caribbean, for example. The travel advisor will act as a liaison between the client and the various travel companies, helping to book reservations, resolve any issues, and most importantly, find the best price. This person will collect a fee for these trip planning services, typically a percentage of the cost of the trip rather than a flat fee.
Once clients find a travel advisor they like, they may choose to work with that person again and again, for every trip they plan. This is why it is important for a travel agent to go above and beyond for each client, and develop a solid professional relationship. Clients will often recommend that their friends visit the same travel advisor as well, particularly if the agent offers discounts for recommendations or referrals. There are many ways travel agents can develop good relationships with customers, which is why it is very important that anyone who wants to follow this career path enjoy working with people.
Aside from simply booking the trip once the client has decided where he or she wants to go, the travel advisor will often make recommendations based on his or her unique knowledge. This might include the best times of year to visit a certain area, the most popular destinations, or areas that are more "off the beaten path" for people who want a more unique or adventurous vacation. Travel advisors will learn of sales and deals that might not be available to the general public, so it is always a good idea to check before booking any reservations.
After the trip has been planned and reservations made, the travel advisor is still there to answer questions, such as about visa requirements or currency exchange. He or she will also assist in making changes to the reservations if necessary, and may also suggest purchasing travel insurance to insure the cost of the vacation in case of unexpected changes such as illness. Once on the trip, the travel agent may be contacted if any problems with service arise that he or she is capable of resolving.
Even though you can look stuff up online nowadays, I still like using a travel advisor to get information and travel advice on places I've never been to before.
One of the benefits of being a travel agent is that the company will send you to different places, to do different kinds of tours, so that you will be really knowledgeable and passionate about the products you are selling.
And I just like having someone explain the trip when they have actually done it themselves. They might be selling me something, sure, but so are the travel sites online.
At least the agent can get sparkly eyes when they talk about this or that tour and make it easier for me to decide where I want to go myself.
@KoiwiGal - Honestly, my best tip is to go in prepared, no matter which travel agent you choose to work with. If you do most of the research yourself, online, you'll know whether they are getting the best travel deals or not.
And they won't always be able to get the best deals, no matter whether they are a student focused agency or not. Often the very cheap airlines, for example, don't work through agents in order to save a little bit extra.
Even though I can work this all out online, I still like using an agency though, because they can double check everything.
They make sure that you aren't spending 10 hours in an airport somewhere, or that you
know which visas you need. And often they have a backup guarantee, so if something goes wrong (like your tickets weren't confirmed by the airline) you can call them up and they will sort it out for you.
It just seems safer than doing it myself, and it tends to cost about the same.
My suggestion when you are choosing your travel agency is to go with the one that caters to the students in your area.
They are just the absolute best at finding cheap deals and are not afraid to admit it. But they usually won't try to pad out your trip with extras, because they know students can't really afford it.
Plus they tend to know all the little off the beaten path spots that are really worth seeing. I know in my local student travel agency, the agents between them have been to every continent and always have some quirky recommendation (often a free event or place to see).
If you want a more expensive trip, they can do that for you too, but you won't start out with that option and have to work your way down, which is what I find other agencies tend to do.
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