Meet Lisa, our newest monthly columnist. Over the coming months Lisa will guide us through the world of travel including useful tips, anecdotes and destination reports. This month she advises us about what to look for in a good travel agent.
This is my first appearance in the Abergavenny Focus and I thought it best to start by introducing myself. My name is Lisa and I’ve been a travel agent for 22 years. I love to travel, so my job is a little like being a chocoholic working in a chocolate factory! I still find arranging travel as exciting as when I first started out as an apprentice with Thomas Cook. You never know what challenge your next enquiry will bring! It can be anything from arranging for a couple to get married underwater in the Florida Keys to arranging for a Great Dane to be flown to America to join his relocated family! (yes, I have done both!)
In this first article I want to share with you how to get the best from your travel agent.
- Choose your agent wisely. Do they work for a company that is safely bonded? Do they hold an ATOL or ABTA licence?
- Ask questions. How long have they been a travel agent? Has your agent travelled extensively? After all, you wouldn’t buy a car from a salesman that couldn’t drive!
- Be open and honest with your agent. Tell them what you like and what you don’t like in a holiday. If you hate clubbing but love scuba diving let them know. The more your agent knows about you, the more likely you are to have a fabulous holiday as a result. One of my clients takes 3 trips per year and has been my client for 11 years. I know her so well that when I look at a
holiday for her I can tell immediately if it is something she will like. If you are not sure where you DO want to go then narrow it down – let your agent know where you DON’T want to go etc.
- Be truthful about your budget. This is so very important. Contrary to belief, most agents are not out to rip off their clients. If your budget is high and you like a luxury experience don’t tell your agent that you only have a budget of £200 per person to spend. You will only end up being disappointed with both your agent and your travel experience. However, if your budget really is only £200 per person, be honest – your agent will try to find the best holiday to suit you regardless of the price.
- Do not listen to other people’s opinions. I am always amazed how some of my clients allow friends and family to influence their travel dreams. There is a wonderful saying that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. This is especially true of travel. It has even happened to me. I booked to go on a certain cruise. When I told some very close friends about this they did not have enough words to describe what an awful cruise it was. Everything from the food to the people onboard were critisized. I spent the next 6 months wondering what on earth I was going to experience. I am so glad that I stuck to my plans. Six of us travelled and our ages ranged from 38 to 75. IT WAS FANTASTIC! It is certainly in my top five travel experiences. My advice is go with your gut instincts and your original choice every time and you will rarely go wrong. If you are in doubt just type your favourite hotel into a holiday advice website and I guarantee someone will have a negative opinion about it!
Next month I will be talking about some fabulous holiday destinations.
If you have a travel related question please feel free to email Lisa at: