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How to Find a Reputable Travel Agency

In the age of the internet, travel scams from bogus agencies are common. Learn how to check if a travel agency is reputable to avoid being taken advantage of.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Go to the ASTA website Go to the website of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the world's largest travel professional association.
  • Step 2: Search ASTA's directory Search ASTA's membership directory for certified agents according to specialties including destinations, travel lifestyles, and tour packages served.
  • TIP: For international travel, find a certified agent with specific language skills to help in case of emergencies abroad.
  • Step 3: Get recommendations Get travel agent recommendations from friends and family members. Preferably meet with a local agency. Much can be determined in a face-to-face meeting.
  • Step 4: Ask the right questions Ask the right questions. How long have they been in business? Are there fees beyond booking fees? How accessible is the agency for travel emergencies?
  • TIP: The right agent can help in emergencies that include delayed flights, overbooked hotels, and travel insurance claim red tape.
  • Step 5: Know an agency's benefits Know a travel agency's benefits over online services. Agents may be best for booking a complicated trip to a remote region with time zone and cultural differences.
  • Step 6: Go to the Better Business Bureau site Go to the Better Business Bureau site to check for consumer complaints. For cruises, check at the Cruise Lines International Association site.
  • Step 7: Know about travel scams Know about common travel scams like discount travel clubs with unreasonable dues and hidden fees, and do-it-yourself travel agent tutorial kits.
  • FACT: The first traveler's checks were known as "circular notes" and were sold by Thomas Cook agency in 1874.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Advice from friends and family
  • Local travel agency
  • The right questions

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