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It can be difficult to know exactly what you’re doing when it comes to booking a holiday with a travel agency. Not all of them want you to get the best out of your holiday, in fact, all too many of them just want to get your money.
Even if this isn’t the case, travel agencies can still make mistakes. They can be trying to get the best for you, but simply miss something out that would’ve been perfect for you.
So how do you avoid this? How do you make sure you’re getting the best value for your holiday and still having an exciting adventure or a relaxing break with your family?
There are a few main perils when it comes to booking a holiday through a travel agency:
- Better prices for the same product elsewhere
- Hidden fees
- Boring or unsuitable holidays
- Extortionate exchange rates
However, avoiding these things can be simple. It’s a matter of taking everything you’re told with a pinch of salt and making sure you compare every step of the way. Don’t simply trust everything you’re told by agencies, and look elsewhere as well!
The other issues can be solved by not leaving it to one site. Just because they’ve given you an amazing experience in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll do it again. Compare, compare, compare!
Don’t Leave It Too Late… Or Do
The general rule is that the sooner you book a holiday, the cheaper it will be. If you decide on a destination – book it as far in advance as you can.
On the other hand, maybe you just want to escape and get away at the last minute. If so – use this to your advantage! If you don’t mind where you’re going it can be a great opportunity to get some cheap flights. There’ll be holiday spaces that the agencies are simply trying to shift, and so use this to your advantage! You can also use tools like the Ryanair fare finder to bag that last minute bargain.
To tackle this, simply look for holidays in incognito mode on your laptop, phone, or computer.
Remember Where You’ve Been – and be Loyal
Use as many travel points/miles as possible! It’s hardly a great secret, but points and miles, and membership of loyalty schemes, will get you a lot more bang for your buck.
Just remember two things:
- Travel agents are unlikely to be set up to maximise the value of your points. You may need to take the initiative here.
- You can have an agreement with friends or family in order to transfer points back and forth, or use points on each other’s behalf, to the extent permitted by the scheme.
It can save you a lot of money going back to the same place if they have loyalty scheme, but again, make sure this is still worth your money by comparing first!
Packages Are (Sometimes) Your Friend
It’s often worth looking at package holidays first for inspiration, and to see if you can actually get best value by bundling everything together.
You may know for a fact that you want to go your own way a bit more, but package holidays can give you some insight or inspiration as to what is a good, family-friendly hotel in the area and what you should expect to pay for flights, a week in a hotel etc.
You can also bolt on other expenses like evening meals. You don’t even have to eat all of them or even stay in the hotel in question! Although certainly not the norm, there have been plenty of examples where package holidays including flights are actually cheaper than the flights alone.
In any event, if you do want a holiday with the least amount of hassle, don’t rule out the package holiday. If nothing else, the convenience it brings you will be substantial. Your time is worth something, and spending several hours booking everything yourself will not necessarily be the most economical or stress-free way to do it.
Reduce costs with vouchers
Here’s a simple and effective one. Use a Groupon 15% off code! All you have to do is look up “getaways” or “holidays” and all of a sudden, there are discounts at your fingertips. So, if you’re traveling within a budget this is a great way to lessen your fees. If you’re not, everyone loves a discount!
All in All
The main points are therefore simple.
- Take everything the travel agency says with a pinch of salt – it may be a mistake or a way to earn them more money
- Remember there are a lot of deals you can get, including travel miles and discount codes
- Always, always, always compare – you may find your perfect holiday on more than one site, at very different prices!