Travel agent or DIY?
Booking and paying for travel online
What's coming up?
In this activity you’ll learn about the differences between booking your trip with a travel agent and doing everything yourself using the internet.
A travel agent makes everything easy, but managing your bookings online has its advantages too. This activity explores the pros and cons of using an agent versus doing it yourself.Start activity
Research online to get a better deal
Travel agents compete with each other, but you can often find a better deal online. For instance, comparison sites such as TripAdvisor can show you lots of deals at once.
We will take a closer look at comparison sites in the next activity, How to use travel comparison websites.
Travel agents can provide support
One very important advantage of using a travel agent is that they can be a first point of contact if you need help while travelling. Especially if you miss a connection, or a flight gets cancelled. Your agent is only a phone call or email away and can help you sort most things out. If you book online yourself, you are often left to sort things out should something go wrong.
Why not combine a travel agent and DIY
Of course, you can do some research online first and then bring it to an agent. Print out PDFs of brochures or save them to your computer so you can email them to the agent. Let your agent know what deals you’ve found and ask if they can do better!
Booking via airline websites
The major airlines are sort of half-way between a travel agent and a booking website. They may offer packages and deals, and you can call them to speak to a customer service representative if you need extra help. Booking flights directly with the airline is often the safest way to book your travel. It also makes it easier to swap flights and adjust your booking if the need arises.
When booking via an airline, it’s important to be aware of the airline’s terms and conditions. These can usually be found at the bottom of a booking form or in a link before you commit to making your purchase.
Note things such as extra taxes, and the rules around cancelling or changing flights when purchasing bargain tickets, as these fare types often have limited flexibility for making changes to your booking.
You can always go back to an agent
Sometimes researching and booking online can get to be a bit much between organising flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, activities... and everything else!
You can always book an appointment with a travel agent and visit them at the nearest shopfront. They’ll help you sort everything out and get you on your way!
This is the end of the Travel Agent or DIY? activity. You’ve now learned some of the advantages of booking online yourself versus using an agent.
In the next activity, you can find out How to use travel comparison websites, to get the best deal.