A Travel Agent’s Advice for Your Next Trip

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In these days of DIY travel panning, courtesy of trip-research websites like TripAdvisor, it’s easy to overlook the value of a professional travel agent. But travel agents plan trips for a living – and they travel a lot themselves – so their advice is worthwhile!

Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ best travel agent for 2013, Queanbeyan City Travel & Cruise’s Jenny Cooper, explained that an agent can source the best airfares and hotel deals. While that information may be available on the Internet to all, a travel agent is already familiar with many of the airlines, fares and stopovers, and they often know straight away which hotel has the best WiFi or free extras.

In addition, agents have access to industry-only deals that may be as good as, or better, than what’s available online.

US review site AngiesList.com spoke to experienced agents across the country to get these insights:

  • Check in to your flight 24 hours ahead online. If you can, have a friend drop you to the airport to avoid parking fees, and always plan for rush hour. Try to avoid the peak business travel times of Fridays, Sundays and Monday mornings, and mid-week evenings.
  • Minimising the jewellery, buckles and other metal components in your clothing will help speed you through the metal detectors. Travel with a change of clothes and all the documents you will need in your carry-on bags, should your luggage go astray – and don’t forget to throw in a swimsuit for the hotel pool. If you can pack light enough to fit everything in your carry-on, you may avoid checked luggage fees.
  • Let your bank or credit card companies know you will be travelling, so they don’t lock your card due to a change in your usage pattern.
  • Best advice of all – know where you’re going. Read up on the customs and etiquette of the places you’ll visit. A little preparation makes the trip much smoother!
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