10 questions to ask your travel agent to save you money on your vacation
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- Booking your summer vacation through a travel agent can get you exclusive discounts on flights, activities, and accommodation that you wouldn’t be able to score when booking yourself.
- Flexibility and communication are key factors in saving money when working with a travel agent.
- The amount of money depends on the traveler, but agents say these questions can potentially save you hundreds.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Right now, countless Americans are packing their suitcases with straw hats and swimsuits in preparation for long-awaited summer vacations.
Many of them will come home having spent far more than actually necessary simply because they didn’t ask the right questions.
Hiring a travel agent to help plan your annual family outing has a slew of benefits, like special rates, expert recommendations, and the luxury of not spending innumerable hours sifting through booking sites yourself. Thanks to their industry ins, you don’t have to devote an entire month’s worth of earnings to a two-week trip (which, according to Forbes, most Americans do).
“A good advisor will always keep the client’s needs in mind, including how much they want to spend,” Cheryl Bunker, vice president of global member partnerships at Virtuoso, told Business Insider.
When it comes to saving money, Bunker says communication is key. The secret to saving hundreds on vacation is being flexible, yes, but also being transparent about your priorities. Many people are happy to fly economy if it means getting upgraded to a suite.
“Travelers can save hundreds of dollars by simply following the same cost saving steps they’d normally take for themselves,” Mel Dohmen, senior brand manager at Orbitz, told Business Insider.
Here are 10 questions to ask your travel agent that could save you money on your next trip.
Does my trip qualify for a price match guarantee?
If the price of your flight goes down after you’ve booked it, you might be able to score a refund of the difference.
“A lot of online travel agencies like Travelocity will price match your flights if you book within 120 days of your departure and the price changes,” Dohmen told Business Insider. “Travel agents may be able to leverage a service or feature like this, too.”
Would a packaged tour be a cheaper option than building a custom tour?
While you might think the packaged tour offering has too many extras (read: unnecessary spending), Joanna Franco and Damon Dominique of the budget travel blog Shut Up and Go suggest asking whether customization could turn out to be more expensive in the end.
Agents can strike deals on these tours, too, so it’s better to book them ahead of time via the experts than to sign up after you’ve already arrived.
Does the price of the tour include admission fees?
Know what’s included in the tour before you book it. Sometimes the total cost doesn’t even cover admission fees to some of the day’s activities. Is it really all-inclusive or will you be responsible for buying your own meals?
And although paying a deposit at the time of booking is often the default, sometimes paying in full up front yields a lower price.