There are a lot of ways you can organize international travel. There is a vast amount of information available on tourism, such as specialized portals that sell only air tickets, some others that sell only hotels and portals that sell only tours. Then you can book local transportation to local guides as well. You must start doing your homework about a destination, but, you are loaded with so much information that it becomes hard to process. You become the over-informed traveler who knows everything without actually having gone there.
Having information is good as it reduces the surprise element and protects you from scams. It is necessary to do your homework before traveling.
Some people aggregate different airline costs like ibibo, cleartrip, makemytrip etc. Then there are aggregators of aggregators, people like Skyscanner, who will tell you prices of ibibo, cleartrip and many more. Hotels and all the industries associated with travel form a large part of the travel industry and are a classic example of one pie shared by many. Well, the real fight is for `data,’ but that is a story for another time. Now, one person or company who is different from them is the travel agent. He is selling everything about travel. You can buy packages or even customize an itinerary from him.
Though various companies have started selling packages, they still lack the touch a travel agent can provide.
Since you googled everything and became the over-informed traveler, let’s talk about utilizing the information. There are benefits, and there are flaws with the easily available information. For example, you booked a flight with the best price, but did you book the right arrival time? You landed at 3:00 AM, but your hotel will not let you check-in till 2:00 in the afternoon! You booked your transportation from another company. What do you do when you don’t find their representative? Going through the call center at 3:00 AM on an international call can ruin your travel before it starts.
The first day at the hotel, you are lucky to get an early check-in. You get ready for breakfast but you did not realize that the hotel does not provide breakfast on day one of your check-in. I am not trying to scare you, but a small detail can become an issue.
The easy way to make your travel hassle-free is to customize your itinerary yourself— and no, booking your hotel and air tickets and transfer is not customizing.
Then you have to think about the return journey. Most of the flights land in the middle of the night or at odd hours. If you are landing at Delhi airport, and you have to travel towards Punjab, you must know that there are no buses from the airport. You have to go to the ISBT bus stop either by auto or taxi. Yes, there is the metro, but the last metro goes at 11:30 PM. If your flight lands at 11:30 PM, you are out of luck.
Yes, there is a certain way to deal with travel agents. First, do not compare his prices with the prices you saw on a portal. Second, agents sell packages customized or otherwise. The maximum bifurcation they will give you is flight cost and package cost. The visa cost is never a part of the package.
Another benefit of dealing with a travel agent is the name to the face you are dealing with. Large families and groups whose tour package cost goes in lakhs need a face. In India, if you are paying the money, you have to know whom you paid it to. People are still apprehensive to give, let’s say, 10 lakhs to a company that has a 1000 faces. You never know who you actually paid it to. In case of dispute, you cannot fight a company. But, if you have a person, it is easy to talk and even recover your money if the deal goes south.
With travel agents, you simply walk up to them. Discuss your tour, have some tea and go back home. Discuss with your family, call him back make some changes again. After two days, make some more changes and finalize and pay. Once you reach your destination, if you don’t find your cab or your hotel reservation has issues, simply make a Whatsapp call to your agent in India. He will pick it up directly and make sure you don’t have to follow up. He will do all the things necessary.
A consultant will customize a tour as per your need. He will charge you on an hourly basis and design a flawless tour. If you are a first-time traveler and you are on a budget, he is the guy to go to. He will charge you, let’s say, INR 2000. He will, in return, share his travel experience where he will give you all the tips where you can save money. Let’s say a taxi costs THB 1000 to go to Pattaya. The same journey can be undertaken by bus at THB 150. He will also tell you where to get the bus and the time of the bus.
Once you have reached your destination, he will tell you how to go to your hotel from there and so on. He will also tell you which places are near your hotel. These places you can reach for free, and it saves you a lot of money. If you are smart enough, you will be able to make your itinerary yourself, the next time you go.
However, if you are still not sure or lazy, and you still want a customized itinerary, he is the guy. If you deal with him in this way, he will not charge you, but he will charge from the vendors. He will handpick the best vendors as per your need and organize your tour. If you are a large family that is vegetarian, he will find the best vegetarian restaurants and make it part of your tour.
We at mastyatri.com have consultants who can customize destination parties like bachelor and bachelorette parties, kitty parties and even birthday parties. We can also handle destination weddings in Bali and Thailand.
The best part of a customized itinerary is that you get to see the non-touristy places.