When trying to find a local travel agent, talk to friends, family and co-workers and ask for recommendations. Once you have some names, contact the agents and ask about their qualifications and expertise in the type of travel you want to book. If possible, investigate the agent’s background: make sure that he is licensed to sell travel in your jurisdiction and that he doesn’t have a history of complaints or disciplinary actions filed against him. Be sure to find a local travel agent whose office is convenient to your home or workplace and do ask about fees before booking a consultation.
While access to online travel websites has made it easier for consumers to book their own travel, many people appreciate the advice and expertise of an experienced local travel agent. When you begin your search, think about the kind of travel you plan on doing. This can be important when you are seeking referrals. For example, if you are planning a destination wedding that requires booking a room block for friends and family as well as the wedding chapel and other amenities, explain this to the people who you speak to. With this information, they are more likely to refer you to a quality wedding travel specialist.
After compiling a list of names and contact information, you might want to check online consumer reporting sites to learn about the reputation of the travel consultants on your list. Once you narrow your list down to legitimate travel experts, contact each of them. Ask if they have experience in booking travel itineraries similar to your own requirements. You may also want to ask if they have any professional certifications and specialized travel types or have recently visited the area or areas where you wish to travel.
Be sure to ask about fees. In the past, many travel agents worked on a commission only basis. Changes in the travel industry, however, have resulted in various fees being charged for travel agent services. In some cases, a local travel agent may waive these fees if you book a large travel package through him, so be sure to find out if this is an option. Keep in mind that some local travel agents will charge you these fees even if you decide to not book your trip through their travel agency, so do ask if he will offer you a complementary short consultation before you commit to working with him.