Travel agents or agencies can be useful, specially when you’re planning a family or a group holiday. They can offer holiday packages which can save you time and effort of having to plan everything by yourself. Examples of travel agencies within the UAE include Al Rostamani Travel and Holidays, Sharaf Travel, Al Tayer Holidays, MMI Travel. While there are plenty of reasons to choose a travel agent, below are a few things to consider before taking the final decision.
A complete package
Travel agencies have holiday packages which typically cover everything from flights, hotels, cruises, transfers, excursions and more. A reason for using a travel agent/agency is because of their expertise and connections. They can also have access to benefits such as room upgrades, hard to get restaurant reservations and tickets to concerts or events.
Peace of mind
If you’re travelling with a bigger group, an agent can make the process easier and make travel arrangements for the entire group. They can help with the visa process and are usually well versed with norms and rules of other countries, offering valuable tips. Many travel packages will also include a tour guide to assist you.
When you go to an agency, keep an open mind and avoid being influenced. Travel agents generally have a tie up with a few hotels, airlines and service providers and may not be as flexible when it comes to booking any hotel or flight. They aren’t always flexible with dates and you might come across a package you really like, only to realize that you can’t choose travel dates as per your preferences. Also, some of these packages might not be available during holiday season such as Eid break.
Use your air miles
Do you fly with a specific airline to earn miles or simply because you like their service? In that case, you might want to check with your travel agent if packages include your choice of airline. Many airlines also offer the services of a travel agency with their own holiday packages such as Emirates Holidays and Qatar Holidays.
Explore your options
If you’re not convinced with your holiday package, do some research and mix and match to create your customized itinerary. Remember that a travel agent wont necessarily find the best price. With more and more online portals coming up for bookings, check them out for discounted flights, hotels and activities. Many travel websites also publish reviews of hotels or resorts and ratings which you can use to avoid any surprises.
[Related: 5 destinations you can afford this season]
Pay in easy installments
While you may be saving money by getting a good deal from your travel agent or agency, you would still be paying the entire amount upfront along with the travel agency fees. If that is not an option for you, you can use your credit card to book your holiday online and convert your payments into easy installment plans. Many banks have tie ups with airlines such as Emirates Airlines, which enable them to spread their payments over six to 12 months.