With so many travel websites, packages and deals out there, booking your dream trip can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. We decided to turn down the noise and sit down with the experts at Flight Centre to ask them our burning travel questions. What did we learn? Some things should be left to the professionals- they do the hard work while you take care of the daydreaming.
Q: What are some of the benefits of hiring a travel agent? A: Booking with a live person vs. online is more fun. It’s way more exciting to talk about your vacation plans with someone who understands it and provides the right recommendations for your trip. When things don’t go well, it’s much easier for a travel agent to contact the airline or third party website, rather than doing it yourself. They take the stress out of managing your trip. A travel agent also has the expertise and knowledge who maybe able to save money on ways that regular customers wouldn’t have thought about before. Travel agents help you make better travel decisions. For example, booking the cheapest flight isn’t always the best option when it comes to complicated airfares. Q: Is it possible to still work with an agent if you’re travelling on a budget? A: It’s actually vital to talk to a travel agent if you’re traveling on a budget. There are “tricks” of the trade that travel agents know very well- especially with air fares, free stopovers, working with airlines not in the same alliance, to name a few examples. Working with an agent may give you access to a “contract rate” and “private rate” that are not available when booking online. Q: How much should we be paying for trip/travel insurance? A: The cost of travel insurance depends on the price of the trip, the level of coverage and the traveler’s age. Typically, we recommend budgeting 10-15% of the cost of your trip for a comprehensive insurance. Insurance is only as good as the ability to claim, so it’s important to get insurance from a reputable provider. Q: What kinds of hidden costs/fees should be prepared for on any trip? A: Incidentals is where people’s budgets usually break, meaning eating out, alcohol, excursions and the like. For example, some resorts may charge a mandatory resort fee or if you’re staying at a hotel in Europe, you could be paying a city tax. Some cruises and tours may also charge additional gratuities. It really depends on the nature of travel. Q: How far in advance should we be booking our trips? A: It depends on when & where you’d like to go but don’t wait for last-minute deals unless you don’t care where you’re going. For air tickets, we recommend booking as early as possible. Tickets are often at the lowest price when they’re first released to attract customers. Flight Centre also provides optional airfare packages that allow customers to have a price drop guarantee, should the tickets they have purchased become more expensive. Q: What are the some of the hottest/most popular travel destinations so far this year? A: The top 10 Flight Centre vacation spots for 2016 are: Cuba, Columbia, New Zealand, Utah, Portugal, Iceland, London, Brazil, Japan and Spain. Popular Destinations may vary depending on where you live in Canada. For example, Mexico All Inclusive package are very popular for customers in Toronto, and more inquires for Hawaii for those from Vancouver.