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Should you use travel agents or travel independently?
When you're in the early planning stages of a holiday, one of your major considerations will be whether to use travel agents or whether to book the components independently (i.e. the flights with the airline, your accommodation with the hotel etc.). Here are the pros and cons of each.
- If you choose to use travel agents, you will often have a guarantee on your holiday from an industry regulator. This means that if the travel agent or one of the travel providers goes out of business, you won't lose out.
- A travel agent can take a lot of the legwork out of your holiday, allowing you to book a package simply and easily.
- Because many travel agents use charter flights, you can often pick up a bargain - and often at the last minute.
- Most travel agents offer only fixed itineraries with little or no flexibility. This means that you might have to compromise.
- Many people view package travel as an inauthentic way to travel, because you'll often only meet other package travellers.
- You can decide exactly where and when you want to go, and how long you want to spend in each place. And if you change your mind on the road, you can usually adapt your travel plans to match.
- It is possible to travel cheaply - especially because you can fix a budget to suit your needs (for example, you might splurge on a hotel but limit the number of excursions you make).
- It's often viewed as a more authentic way to travel because you'll usually have more interaction with the locals rather than staying within a resort.
- If you don't use travel agents and something goes wrong, you are on your own. This can be both time consuming and expensive, and in extreme situations, you could be left stranded.
- There's a lot more organisation involved. You'll have to think about things like transport between the airport and the hotel - things that are taken for granted for package travel.
- Last minute independent travel can be prohibitively expensive.