You’re probably here because you either love to travel or you’re looking to fall in love with travel. We can tell you there’s sooooo much to love about travel, whether you’re going on a huge international trip or taking a mini-vacation in your home state. But like all good things in life, sometimes travel can have some low points. And sometimes not every company you book with is looking out for your best interest.
You’ve probably heard lots of horror stories of people who purchased tickets or vacation packages online and they didn’t get what they thought they were getting. Here’s an example of what we’re talking about: an elderly couple from England booked a trip to celebrate their diamond anniversary in Australia through an online travel agency. The tickets were an awesome deal — around $400 for both tickets.
But by no fault of their own, they had to change flight times — and then to make matters more complicated, their passports were stolen in a crowded tourist area of Sydney. Some anniversary trip this was turning out to be. While waiting for replacement passports ensuring they could travel home, they had to make another travel itinerary adjustment — the online booking agency wound up charging them fees that totaled eight times what their original tickets had cost. These fees totaled over $3,000, plus the original cost of the tickets. “Ouch” is the only accurate word here. The couple hadn’t budgeted for these extra expenses on their anniversary vacation of a lifetime.
How to avoid the “bad guys”
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon when booking a vacation with online agencies. They’re not required to use the same fee structure as airlines use directly. So, for example, the airline that runs to Sydney from where our anniversary couple lives would normally charge about $115 per ticket for flight changes, not several thousand. But they didn’t know that, and the online agency didn’t return their calls. It wasn’t until one of the couple’s children sent the story to a local newspaper that the ridiculous fees were reduced. But how many other travelers have been hit with onerous hidden fees like these and haven’t had someone to go to bat for them?
A reputable travel agent will give you your all-in cost, fees, taxes, and visa expenses included, right up front. There should be zero confusion as to how much your trip or package will cost! That’s what a good agent does. That’s what we do for all of our clients. Do not, under any circumstances, do business with an online agency that does not provide this information up front. There’s likely a very good reason why they’re hiding this information from you!
You don’t need a magnifying glass with Awaken Travels
It’s all listed in the pages upon pages of fine print. Our couple in Australia may have been able to spot the red flags of the online travel agency they chose to book with had they sat down for a few hours with a magnifying glass to read the fine print. But that’s not what travel or booking travel is about. It’s supposed to be a fun experience and a time to build up excitement for your upcoming vacation, not a time to constantly watch your back.
Transparency is key with us. We’re here to tell you that a resort we once loved changed ownership and now we don’t recommend it. Or that your trip to Fiji should include our very favorite restaurant. We’re here to make your vacation as great as possible and to get you the best deal for the price, while explaining everything up front.
How to spot the “good guys”
A good agent (or agency) is there for you from the moment you call to ask about future travel. They’ll return your emails, your texts, and your phone calls. They will answer your questions fully. They’ll be a phone call away if something unexpected happens on your trip and you need assistance for anything – big or small. They can provide you with top-quality travel insurance so that if something happens like what happened to the anniversary couple — you have to change flight times, or your passport gets stolen, or you have a medical emergency — you and your investment will be covered with zero hassle.
Your vacation should be a source of delight and excitement for you and your family. It should be the most relaxing thing you’ve done all year. That’s what professional agents are committed to providing for their clients. It’s one of many reasons why we at Awaken Travels do what we do. And the unique service ans support we offer is hard to replace.
Ready to plan the trip of your dreams?
If you’re looking for not only the customized vacation of your dreams — but also the service, respect, and transparency you deserve — we’d love to chat with you about where you’d like to go! Send us a message and let’s get planning. The world awaits!