to Select a Travel Agent
Referrals are probably the single best way to find a travel agent, so ask around the office (or friends and family) if they can recommend a travel agent. You can also comb the Internet or browse the Yellow Pages.
Once you find a travel agent, call first to talk. This is similar to an interview – you are checking to see if there’s rapport, and if she books the kind of travel you’re looking for (Europe, for example, or does she plan complex, custom itineraries). Don’t take too much of her time, a five minute conversation is plenty to determine a good fit. This selection process is especially important if you’ve found a couple of travel agents (via searches or referrals), so you can narrow your selection down to one.
Don’t be tempted to mass email and phone every travel agent you can, asking for quotes. You will never be comparing apples to apples, and when you begin a bidding war for the cheapest trip to Cancun, you’ll get just that – the CHEAPEST trip to Cancun. This is your honeymoon, a truly once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Don’t underestimate the need for rapport with your travel agent.
Also, on a related subject, work with only one travel agent. Travel agents are paid by commission on trips they book. If you ask three travel agents to quote packages to Bora Bora and Moorea, complete with sightseeing tours and maybe a layover in Honolulu, you will receive three different package quotes. You cannot compare the three; they are distinctly different. But, moreover, each travel agent has spent between 2 and 5 hours checking prices and availability, talking with you on the phone or in the office, preparing a quote, etc. Is it fair to ask two of the three agents to work for free? Of course not!
Many travel agents require a nominal, nonrefundable deposit upfront before they quote packages (or before they provide package details, in some cases). Don’t be discouraged by this policy. Often, it means you’re taken seriously, and your travel agent will take her time in planning your honeymoon. Keep an open dialog with your travel agent, and the end result is the perfect honeymoon for the two of you.