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How to talk to a travel agent.

Travel Agent Desk

Planning a vacation can be a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before or if you are planning a particularly complex trip. In these situations, it can be helpful to work with a travel agent. A travel agent can help you navigate the complexities of booking flights, hotels, and activities, while offering insider knowledge and personalized recommendations. However, if you have never worked with a travel agent before, you might be unsure of how to get started. In this article, we will walk you through the process of talking to a travel agent step-by-step.

Step 1: Determine Your Needs

Travel Agent With Client

The first step in working with a travel agent is determining your needs. What do you want to get out of your vacation? Are you looking for relaxation, adventure, culture, or a combination of these things? Where do you want to go? How long do you want to stay? What is your budget? These are all important questions to consider before you start talking to a travel agent. By having a clear idea of your needs and preferences, you will be better equipped to communicate with your travel agent and get the most out of your vacation.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Travel Research

Once you have a general idea of what you want, it’s time to start doing some research. Look online for travel agencies in your area or that specialize in the type of trip you want to take. Read reviews and compare prices to find an agent that seems like a good fit for you. It’s also a good idea to research your destination to get a sense of what you want to do and see while you’re there. This will help you have a more informed conversation with your travel agent.

Step 3: Schedule a Consultation

Travel Agent Meeting

Once you have found a travel agent that you want to work with, it’s time to schedule a consultation. This can be done in person, over the phone, or via email. During the consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs and preferences in more detail. You should be prepared to share your destination, travel dates, budget, and any special requests or requirements you might have. Your travel agent will be able to offer suggestions and advice based on their expertise and experience.

Step 4: Ask Questions

Travel Agent Answering Questions

Throughout the process of working with a travel agent, it’s important to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or more information about something that you don’t understand. It’s also a good idea to ask your travel agent about their experience and qualifications, as well as what kind of support they offer during your trip. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to make informed decisions and have a stress-free vacation.

Step 5: Follow-Up

Travel Agent Follow-Up

After you have worked with your travel agent to plan your trip, it’s important to follow-up. Confirm all of your arrangements, such as flights, hotels, and activities, to ensure that everything is in order. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your travel agent for assistance. Your travel agent is there to support you throughout your trip and will be happy to help you resolve any issues that arise.

Talking to a travel agent can be a great way to simplify the process of planning a vacation. By following these steps, you can ensure that you have a productive and stress-free conversation with your travel agent. Remember to be clear about your needs and preferences, do your research, ask questions, and follow-up to make sure that everything is in order. With the help of a travel agent, you can have the vacation of your dreams.

how to talk travel agent

The Best Networking Tips for Travel Agents (Step-by-Step Guide For Growth)

  • Published on March 23, 2023

how to talk travel agent

With the rising use of new technologies and advanced tools to grow and market any business today, the value of an important traditional method to connect with industry peers is gradually being forgotten; this slowly fading yet effective way is called Networking .

Networking, in simple terms, means the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting.

It is especially important for a Travel Agent because connecting with the other travel industry members can help you hone your existing relationships as well as make new contacts, get new ideas, mentorship, opportunities and a potential set of customers.

It will make you an active, knowledgeable and known member in the market and definitely help you gain trust of new and existing customers.

It keeps you on your toes by exposing you to the necessary competition and support needed to grow in this fast-paced world of Tourism.

Whether you’re new to the industry or an old player, networking has proven to be a valuable tool regardless! 

Ways of Networking for Travel Agents:

how to talk travel agent

Networking is a crucial art for any entrepreneur. It is all about building mutually beneficial relationships where interacting face to face, staying in touch, explaining yours and understanding the other person’s needs is considered as the best form of communication.

Listed below are the top ways in which you can practice maximum networking as a Travel Agent:

1. Networking with Clients

how to talk travel agent

Every travel agent, big or small, wants to have the maximum customer base but what makes an agent different is his skill to identify moments and turn them into business opportunities .

Talk about travel with the people you come in contact with, tell them about your agency, what you do and what you can do for them. This type of networking can simply start with a handshake at any informal get-together, party or even at the gym, school functions or grocery stores.

If you are new in business then this is the best form of networking for you!

2. Networking with Travel Agents

how to talk travel agent

Agent to agent networking is considered to be the most beneficial and amazing form of networking.

Meeting your fellow agents, discussing new travel trends , destinations, challenges and ideas can help you learn and plan the future of your travel agency.

Attend as many agent to agent events as possible, interact actively, exchange contacts and explore the best business opportunities available from time to time.

3. Supplier events and FAM Trips

Attending supplier events and webinars whenever possible is a great way to build relationships across the industry.

Learning about new destinations, connecting with suppliers , letting them know what your needs are and what the end customers expect can help you expand your business further.

Attending events like tourism roadshows or SATTE ,  participating in supplier webinars and undertaking FAM trips can shape and widen your understanding of the business.

4. Social Media Networking

how to talk travel agent

Go ahead and connect with agents, suppliers as well as clients on Social Media. Be active on the internet, market your business, share deals / posters , ask your customers to write testimonials, follow fellow agents and join tourism groups on facebook, whatsapp, etc.

This will help you reach out to a wider audience and make a market presence of your brand. Take your business online today and slowly build a brand that people connect with.

We hope these networking tips help you expand your business, plan its course and find more customers.

Keep working, keep networking and keep getting closer to making your business known!

We at TravClan have compiled for you the latest marketing content, interactive videos, world-class website, latest travel deals, and much more in a bundle just for you to use and upgrade your travel agency to the next level.

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Four Secrets to Picking the Right Travel Agent

By Christopher Elliott

Tribune Media Services

Who needs a travel agent anymore?

Fewer of us do, apparently. Just eight years ago, there were 124,030 travel agents in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2006, that number had fallen by about 30 percent, to 87,600 agents.

The government's outlook for the business is downright depressing. It projects "little or no growth" for travel professionals during the next eight years, as market share gains made by online giants like Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity are held in check by a small bump in demand for specialized travel advice.

In fact, many readers of this column believe that's optimistic. They think travel agents are completely obsolete.

"They are an outdated remnant of past practices that add virtually no value to any transaction today," says Bill Clements, who works for an airline in Ypsilanti, Mich. He also took me to task for recommending agents in my columns, accusing me of being "the biggest lackey for them that I have ever experienced."

I hear from readers like Clements constantly. Every week, I seem to be on the receiving end of an angry anti-agent missive that starts with, "How could you?"

So let me talk about how I could.

Why do I still like agents? A competent travel adviser can be your greatest asset when you're planning a trip. The key word here is "competent." And let me also define what I mean by agent: I'm not necessarily talking about an offshore call center worker reading from a script or a hobbyist who paid a few hundred bucks for bogus agency credentials.

I mean a bona fide, certified travel professional.

It's not a popular position to take. I know. There's no shortage of horrific travel agent stories making the rounds these days. I have a stack of grievances that follow the same basic narrative. It goes something like this:

I booked a trip through online agency X. Something went wrong -- my flight was rescheduled or there was a problem with the hotel reservation. When I phoned the company, I was transferred to half a dozen departments and ended up speaking with someone in Bangalore who I could barely understand. Five hours later, I'm no closer to fixing the problem. Help!

Let me take a moment to say I mean no disrespect to online travel agencies. Most of the airline seats, cruises and hotel rooms booked through these large sites are problem-free. It's the way they address the inevitable problems that leaves something to be desired in the view of many readers.

Jeffrey Alter, an attorney from New Orleans, bought an airline ticket through an online agency recently. But when he received his final bill, he noticed a $50 transaction fee had been added to his credit card statement. No one had mentioned the fee to him when he booked the ticket. I asked him to check the terms and conditions on the website, and sure enough, there was a note about a $30 transaction fee.

So why did they bill him $20 more, and why didn't they tell him up front? I suggested Alter contact the agency. He did. Its response? "Do you believe we provide airline tickets for zero renumeration (sic)? We wouldn't be in business long if we did that."

Now that's what I call customer service.

The other side of this equation is do-it-yourselfers -- people who have paid hundreds or thousands of dollars to become "instant" travel agents. These amateurs give other agents a bad name largely because they're untrained. They've just paid someone for a card that says they're real travel agents, but they often don't know the difference between a stopover and a layover. Instant agents are more victims than anything else, though. They've been scammed into thinking they could become real agents by writing a check.

But even after weeding out the phonies and dot-comers, you're still left with a group of agents that can be less than perfect.

Bob Barstow, a long-time reader of my columns, has had his run-ins with well-trained, legitimate travel agents that left him disappointed. He says he's never experienced the "go-the-extra-mile" attitude for which these trained professionals are supposedly known. "You imply that the business is full of agents dedicated to the travelers' well-being, and will go out of their way for their customer," he told me. "I have yet to meet this agent." There's more about Barstow's unfortunate travel agent experiences -- and the interesting answers from agents -- on my blog .

To Barstow, Alter and yes, even to Clements, let me say: you need to find a good agent. Here are a few tips:

1. Look for the right certification.

If the agent is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) ( www.asta.org ), that's a promising sign. ASTA is the world's largest association of travel professionals, with a code of ethics that tends to keep the riff raff out. If your travel adviser is certified by The Travel Institute ( www.thetravelinstitute.com ), which offers courses on various destinations and travel specialties, that's a bonus. Another membership worth looking for is the Association of Retail Travel Agents ( www.artaonline.com/mc/page.do ). Affiliation with a large organization like AAA or a company such as Carlson Wagonlit can be evidence that your agent is on the up-and-up. Your agent should also comply with any state seller of travel laws and carry error and omission insurance.

2. If at all possible, stay local.

There's no substitute for the personal touch. My best experiences with agents have been one-on-one. The ability to meet -- to look the agent in the eye, to shake his or her hand -- is something online agencies can't match. (Note: not all agents work in an office, but home-based agents can and do make personal visits.) The only exception to this rule is if you're looking for an agent with a sought-after specialty. But even then, a trusted voice on the phone is preferable to the often unintelligible, script-reading customer service associate you're connected to when dealing with a large agency.

3. Interview the agent.

Don't pick the first agent you find. Talk to the travel pro. Find out how long he or she has been in business. Ask about fees (yes, they charge booking fees, but they're worth it if you get into a pinch). I would recommend conducting the interview in person. Pay close attention not only to the way your prospective agent responds, but also at what's going on in the office around you. Are the other agents taking the time to talk with customers, or do they only seem interested in pressuring their clients to make a booking decision? Does the agent you're interviewing seem distracted or focused on trying to help you? If you don't like what you see, move on.

4. Find out how they react under pressure.

The only way to know for certain if your travel agent is a keeper is to see what happens when you run into trouble. And you will have that opportunity, eventually. When your flight is delayed or your hotel is overbooked or your travel insurance claim isn't being honored, what will your agent do? See, agents are compensated for the booking -- either with a fee you pay or a commission they take directly from the company. If they leave you hanging or do nothing more than send you the company's 800-number, they're not your agent. Chances are, they're just in it for the commission.

Good travel agents have an edge over almost any other seller of travel. They know what you want. They speak your language. And they're there for you when you run into trouble.

In other words, travel agents aren't obsolete. Only the bad ones are.

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the host of "What You Get For The Money: Vacations" on the Fine Living Network. E-mail him at [email protected] .

(c) 2008 Christopher Elliott Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Let's Roam Explorer

The Most Important Questions to Ask Your Travel Agent

Even with an agent, travel is a tricky business! This list of questions to ask a travel agent can help save you a lot of time and headaches later on.

how to talk travel agent

While the internet has revolutionized the way that people plan and book hotels and flights, travel agents and agencies have remained an important part of the travel industry. This is due to the added value that their skills and knowledge can bring to a vacation, especially if you’re trying to book a relatively complex trip such as a multi-lag safari in Africa or a family reunion in Disneyland. Travel agencies can also help you find some great travel deals that are only available to agents which is great if you’re a budget traveler. Remember, this is your hard-earned money and vacation time, and making a list of questions to ask a travel agent can help save you a lot of time and headaches later on.

Let’s Roam will show you the sights!

Travel agents are great, but sometimes you need a little help and guidance when you’re on the ground. Our dedicated team of travel experts have created a vast selection of scavenger hunt adventures in hundreds of cities around the world! Our carefully-crafted experiences are interactive and addictive, using games and trivia to challenge, inspire, and educate you at the same time. Grab the Let’s Roam app today and treat your family to a thrilling adventure somewhere new!

Do you charge a fee for your services?

It can sometimes be a little confusing to know how travel agents actually make money. Do they charge a commission or a flat fee? Or do they get a kickback from the products that they sell? This question can begin to feel like the elephant in the room and can even make you start questioning what the travel agent is offering. If this is the case, don’t be shy. Instead, simply ask if there’s a charge for their services. This will help you rest assured that you won’t get hit with an unexpected fee. 

What services do you offer?

Travel agents come in all shapes and sizes, as do the products that they offer! While some offer preset packages, others let you build your own trip. Some also act as travel advisors who can help walk you through the travel planning process from start to finish. By having a good idea of what a travel agent offers, you can take advantage of their strengths and skills to help you plan your dream vacation. 

Can you provide assistance while I am at a destination? 

Every time you travel, you risk something going wrong. Having a travel agent can help make troubleshooting much, much easier when you’re on the road but it’s important to know from the beginning whether or not they can assist you in case of an emergency once the trip has already started. This could mean anything from helping with flight cancellations to advising a medical emergency. Don’t always assume that they will be there to help and be sure to have them tell you what they can and can’t assist with in writing before your trip begins. 

How can I reach you in case of an emergency?

If they tell you that they can assist in an emergency, confirm with them what is the best way to reach them. Keep in mind that the time zone that you’ll be in may be very different than where the agent is based. It’s good to know how you can contact them outside of normal business hours and what their response time will be. This can help you plan accordingly in case anything does happen while you’re on your trip.

What travel destinations do you suggest?

Many people know that they want to go on a vacation but they aren’t entirely sure where exactly they want to go. This is one area where you can make use of the experience and skills of a travel agent. They may know of up and coming to travel destinations that you never even heard of and are perfect for your needs. 

If you already have an idea of where you want to go and this is your first time working with a particular travel agent, this could also be a good way to “test” your travel agent. By asking where they recommend based on the type of trip that you desire, you can see if they are considering your needs and requirements or if they are giving a “generic” destination. This gives you at least a bit of an idea as to how they will be to work with and you can make an educated choice as to whether or not you want to proceed.

Have you traveled there before?

Whether a travel agent suggests a destination to you or you go to them with one already in mind, it’s always a good idea to ask them whether or not they have traveled there before. While some agents know a destination inside and out, others may have only looked at a few pamphlets or sat in on a few information sessions about a place. It’s nearly always better to find someone that has been to a place and understands the nuances of traveling there, particularly if it’s a place that is a bit off the beaten path. 

What does your agency specialize in?

While some travel agencies try to be a jack of all trades, others specialize in particular destinations or types of travel. If you have your heart set on really delving deep into a destination or have very specific activities that you want to do, These types of agencies are often worth spending the extra money with as they are more likely to be able to ensure that you have the experience that you’re hoping for and can help troubleshoot more easily if things don’t work out as they should. 

What is the best time to travel to this destination?

Once you have decided on a destination, double-check that you’re going at a “good” time of year. Is it really hot? Crowded? Hurricane season? A good travel agent should know what the climate will be like in a place and also whether or not it will be overrun with tourists and when is the best time to go. Keep in mind that this is all relative and the best time to go for someone who is looking to spend some time enjoying the sun in Florida may not be the best time for someone who is hoping to score a good deal and avoid the crowds. 

Make sure to dig deep into the answer that the agent gives you and confirm why they think it’s the best time to go. This will help ensure that you’re on the same page. 

Are there any ways that I can save money on the booking?

If a travel agent provides a quote that seems to be way out of your budget, don’t give up right away. Depending on how out of reach the quote is, you may want to see if there’s any way that the quote can be cheaper. They may have included things in the total cost like airport transfers, high-end hotels, activities, etc. You can also ask if there’s a cheaper period when you can travel. Going during the shoulder season rather than the high season can save you a huge amount of money so if your time is flexible, you should consider this. 

You may also want to consider if there’s an alternative neighborhood that you can stay in where accommodation is cheaper. Many travel agencies will try to place people as close to the destination highlights as possible but sometimes staying a bit outside of the center offers a better experience. Think of it this way… imagine staying in an adorable hotel in a residential neighborhood in Rome. You find a charming little restaurant where you have the best pizza on the planet and spend the rest of the night drinking wine in the neighborhood piazza. Now compare this to staying in a big block hotel right near the Rome train station. 

Is a package tour cheaper than creating my own vacation?

Booking a package tour can save you a lot of money… sometimes. Like everything in life, there’s a slight caveat to this and a lot of it depends on your travel style. Some packages may include things like transfer service and five-star hotels. If this isn’t something you’re particularly interested in, you may end up saving quite a bundle if you book everything separately. 

If you still want to use a travel advisor or agent, try to find one that specializes in that region or country. They are likely to know the best restaurants, hotels, etc, and can likely help you save even more money while having an even better trip than you would have had as part of a package tour!

Is there a price match guarantee?

If the cost of the airfare or the hotels happens to go down after you have confirmed your trip, some travel agents may offer a price match guarantee if the bookings were confirmed within a certain time period. While it isn’t always the case, it’s worth asking just in case. Bear in mind that this may not be very easy to figure out if you have booked a package that includes a variety of tickets (flights, hotels, activities) over an extended period but it may save you a lot of money if your booking is not complex.

What is your cancellation policy?

Before you pay for anything, it’s very important to always check what the cancellation policy is. If the policy is very strict or if the deposit seems inordinately high, see if you can have this reduced. Travel plans change all the time so there must be some degree of flexibility built in. 

If the itinerary includes flights, hotels, and activities, always check to see what happens if one of these ends up getting canceled. For example, if your flight is canceled, what does that mean for your hotel or activity bookings? If you’re traveling during high season and your hotel reservation ends up getting canceled unexpectedly, what other options do you have? 

What are the travel documents that I need for this trip?

Depending on where you’re from and where you’re going, you may need to have a visa to travel to a destination. You may also need to fill out health forms. Your travel agent should be able to inform you exactly what you need to travel to a country so don’t forget to ask this both well before the trip starts and also once again right before your departure date. 

Even though the worst of the COVID pandemic seems to be over, entry requirements to a country can still change quickly and you don’t want to be caught unaware and unable to board your flight because you don’t have the right documentation. 

Are there any additional costs that I need to be aware of?

Once you have received a quote from a travel agency, always ask if there are any additional costs that you need to be aware of. Often, things like visas, inbound flight airfare, and meals won’t be included in the total price and will need to be calculated separately. This usually happens because the prices can be very different based on where someone’s departure point is. This means that you can potentially save money by trying different airports and dates, giving you the flexibility of being able to cut costs without having to rely on the travel agency to do it on your behalf.

Also, ask whether or not the tour includes admission fees to museums and historic sites as these can add up quickly depending on the location. 

How can I pay for the trip?

Depending on where the travel agency is based, you may not be able to pay by credit card. If this is the case, you may have to send money through another payment platform such as Wise or Western Union . In these situations, the transaction fees are usually paid by the guest rather than the agent so make sure to calculate these into your overall trip costs as they can add a substantial amount to a high-priced vacation. 

Do I need travel insurance?

Normally, the answer to this question is always yes. Some credit card companies offer insurance if you book at least a portion of the trip with your card. However, you may need to purchase supplemental insurance based on the destination and the activities that you’ll be doing. Some countries may even require you to have a certain insurance policy before they will allow you to enter the country. 

Are there any security issues to be aware of?

We live in a world where the geopolitical situation between many countries can be a bit shaky and where things can change at the drop of a hat. Not many people expected Sri Lanka to become unstable so quickly nor did most people believe that there would be a war between Russia and Ukraine. If you plan on traveling to some of the more off-beat destinations, it’s prudent to ask your travel agent whether or not any security issues may worsen before you go. 

Time to start packing!

We hope that this guide has given you an idea of the “right questions” to ask when booking your dream vacation through a travel agency. If you feel a little like they are a bit like interview questions, don’t worry. Booking travel is their job and they should be prepared to answer them thoroughly to ensure that they are meeting a client’s needs.

If you’re still in the beginning stages of your trip planning or are thinking of adding a few days to a trip pre or post-tour, don’t forget to check out the Let’s Roam app . It’s full of great user-generated tips and tricks that can help you find some of the best places to visit in a destination.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you ask the right questions , travel agents can help you save a ton of money when you travel and can help you find the perfect vacation destination.

Before you book anything with a travel agent , it is important to ask questions about the destination, their services, and their experience. This can help ensure you book a trip that’s right for you.

Travel agents can be extremely useful but’s is important to do some research on your own as well. Consider using an app like Let’s Roam to find out more about your chosen destination.

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How To Talk With Your Travel Agent

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

That is why actually speaking to your travel agent is the best way to insure a vacation that exceeds your expectations.

It's smart business to cater to a customer's preferences. Texting can save a busy parent's sanity when trying to check off tasks on your never ending to do list.   Over 6 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day.  Being popular doesn't make it perfect.  That said, I would be doing my clients a diservice by planning their vacations in this way.

Full disclosure, I do come from the rotary dial generation.  Yet I too have embraced texting albeit with one finger while wearing glasses. It is vital for quick, succinct communication. Vacation planning requires more than 140 characters.

Although many of us prefer texting, there are important reasons why other forms of communication are vital to properly planning a vacation that exceeds your expectations.

Spoken communication requires greater focus and offers instantaneous reply. It is the most efficient means  to understand a client's needs, requirements and wishes. An investment of a short phone call or video meeting is vital to establish a foundation for all that is to come.  Respectfully you work too hard and vacation time is too short to take any shortcuts with your plans.

Email is best for returning client quotes. All the inclusions of your vacation package can clearly be spelled out in black and white.  Miscommunication and reservation changes can come with costly change fees and penalties. In the worst circumstances they can result in canceled plans and disappointments. Business ethics and law require agents inform consumers of all the terms and conditions associated with their vacation purchase. Email is a much better vehicle for delivering all of this important information.

Once your itinerary and all of it's inclusions have been decided. Any last minute questions can easily be clarified with a text.

Vacation confirmation requires personal information, passport details and credit card numbers.  This information should only be exchange via a secured, online form or directly over the phone.  For your own security and personal identity safety, none of this information should ever be sent via text. 

Most airline, cruise or tour companies will send out your guest confirmation via email. Your agent will need to send you your invoice reflecting your payments and email works for this.

Text reminders work well for updates and reminders that will enhance your vacation experience. Links for background information, sightseeing opportunities and other updates.

Apps like "whatsapp" or facebook messager will allow travelers to stay in text with loved ones at home as well as their travel agent. Texts and messages can be sent from any corner of the world easily with a WiFi connection. This comes in handy if you need any assistance from your travel agent while on the road.

Once your tucked back in at home, your travel agent will most certainly want to speak with you.  Once again a phone call or video chat is the most efficient way to get this accomplished.  This is how you build a relationship and create a partnership.  These post travel chats will help your agent understand what new experiences you enjoyed and perhaps those that you would like to improve or avoid in the future.  This is also a good time to have some preliminary conversations about what your next travel adventure will become.

Last but not least, text is prefect for connecting your friends with a excellent travel agent who can save them time, hours of frustration and create memorable experiences for their family too.

Talk To A Family Travel Agent

Topics: Family Vacation

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Vacationkids.com Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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  • Travel Tips

What Questions Should I Ask A Travel Agency

Published: November 29, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Freddie Sandstrom



Planning a trip can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. Whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation, one of the first steps in the planning process is often seeking the assistance of a travel agency. Travel agencies can provide invaluable expertise and resources to ensure that your trip goes smoothly and meets your expectations.

While travel agencies are there to help you plan and book your dream vacation, it’s important to remember that not all travel agencies are created equal. To ensure that you’re working with a reputable and reliable agency, it’s crucial to ask the right questions. By asking thoughtful and relevant questions, you can gain valuable insights into the agency’s services, policies, and expertise.

In this article, we’ll explore the essential questions you should ask a travel agency before making any commitments. From general inquiries to more specific ones about destinations, accommodation, transportation, travel insurance, costs, itineraries, safety, and cancellations, we’ve got you covered. By arming yourself with these questions, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions and have peace of mind during your journey.

Why Should I Ask Questions?

When it comes to planning your next trip, asking questions is an essential part of the process. It allows you to gather important information, clarify any uncertainties, and ensure that your travel agency understands your needs and preferences. Here are a few key reasons why asking questions is crucial when working with a travel agency:

1. Gain a deeper understanding: Asking questions helps you gain a comprehensive understanding of the travel agency’s services, policies, and expertise. By asking about their experience in planning similar trips or their knowledge of specific destinations, you can assess their suitability for your travel needs.

2. Ensure a personalized experience: Every traveler is unique, with different preferences, budgets, and expectations. By asking questions, you can ensure that the travel agency takes into account your specific requirements and tailors the trip accordingly. Whether it’s dietary restrictions, special accommodations, or specific activities, clear communication is key to creating a personalized travel experience.

3. Verify credibility and reliability: Asking questions allows you to verify the credibility and reliability of the travel agency. Inquire about their licensing and certifications, affiliations with professional organizations, or customer reviews and testimonials. This will give you confidence in their ability to handle your travel arrangements effectively and provide exceptional service.

4. Mitigate risks and uncertainties: Traveling comes with inherent risks, from flight delays and cancellations to unexpected emergencies. By asking questions about travel insurance coverage, cancellation policies, and emergency assistance services, you can better understand how the travel agency handles these situations. This helps you make informed decisions and be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

5. Optimize your travel experience: Asking questions allows you to optimize your travel experience by delving into the finer details. Inquire about recommended activities, sightseeing opportunities, local customs, and hidden gems. The more information you gather, the better equipped you’ll be to make the most of your trip and create lasting memories.

Remember, asking questions is not only important during the initial planning stages but also throughout the entire process. Regular communication with your travel agency ensures that you stay informed, address any concerns, and make necessary adjustments to your itinerary as needed.

In the next sections, we’ll delve into specific questions that you should ask a travel agency to ensure a smooth and memorable travel experience.

General Questions

When starting your conversation with a travel agency, it’s essential to gather some general information to get an overview of their services and to assess their compatibility with your travel needs. Here are some key general questions to ask:

  • How long have you been in business? Inquire about the agency’s experience and track record. A well-established agency with a solid reputation is more likely to provide reliable service.
  • Are you accredited or affiliated with any professional travel organizations? This question helps validate the agency’s credibility and professionalism. Look for affiliations with industry organizations such as ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) or IATA (International Air Transport Association).
  • Can you provide references or customer testimonials? Asking for references or testimonials from previous clients can give you an idea of the agency’s customer satisfaction and their expertise in handling diverse travel needs.
  • What types of trips do you specialize in? Some travel agencies specialize in certain types of trips, such as luxury travel, adventure travel, or family vacations. Understanding their expertise can help ensure they are the right fit for your specific travel interests.
  • What services do you offer? This question allows you to determine the extent of their services. Do they only book flights and accommodations, or do they also offer assistance with visas, travel insurance, and activities?
  • How do you handle emergencies or issues during the trip? It’s important to know how the agency handles unexpected events such as flight cancellations, lost luggage, or medical emergencies. Ask about their emergency support services and their availability to assist you during your travels.
  • What is your preferred communication method? Establishing the best way to communicate with the agency is essential for seamless coordination. Whether it’s via email, phone, or a dedicated client portal, knowing how to reach them and their response times can help ensure effective communication.
  • What are the fees or charges associated with your services? Understanding the agency’s fee structure is crucial for budgeting your trip. Inquire about any booking fees, service charges, or cancellation fees to avoid any surprises later on.

Asking these general questions will provide you with a solid foundation of information about the travel agency and help you assess their capabilities and compatibility with your travel needs. In the next sections, we’ll dive into more specific questions about destinations, accommodation, transportation, and more.

Questions about Destinations

When planning a trip, one of the first considerations is selecting the right destination. Whether you have a specific location in mind or need assistance in choosing, asking key questions about destinations can help you make an informed decision. Here are some questions to ask a travel agency regarding your desired destinations:

  • What destinations do you recommend for my travel preferences? Share your interests, such as adventure, relaxation, cultural immersion, or beach destinations, and inquire about their recommendations based on your preferences.
  • What are the popular tourist attractions or must-see landmarks in a specific destination? If you have a particular destination in mind, ask the travel agency about the top attractions, such as iconic landmarks, historical sites, or natural wonders, to ensure your itinerary includes these highlights.
  • Are there any off-the-beaten-path or lesser-known destinations worth considering? If you’re an adventurous traveler or simply seeking a unique experience, ask for recommendations on hidden gems or alternative destinations that may not be as famous but offer exceptional experiences.
  • What is the best time to visit a specific destination? Understand the climate, peak seasons, and any annual events that may impact your travel experience. This will help you plan your trip while considering weather conditions and avoiding overcrowded tourist seasons.
  • Are there any travel advisories or safety concerns in a specific destination? It’s crucial to stay informed about potential risks or travel advisories in your chosen destination. Ask the travel agency about any safety concerns or precautions you should be aware of before finalizing your travel plans.
  • What are the visa requirements or any necessary travel documents for visiting a specific destination? Inquire about visa requirements, passport validity, and any other necessary travel documents to ensure you’re adequately prepared before your trip.
  • What are the local customs, etiquette, and cultural expectations in a specific destination? Understanding the local customs and cultural norms in your chosen destination is important to ensure respectful behavior and an immersive travel experience. Ask the agency for insights on local customs, tipping practices, dress codes, and other cultural considerations.
  • Are there any specific health or vaccination requirements for traveling to a specific destination? Some destinations have specific health or vaccination requirements for entry. Ask the travel agency about any necessary vaccinations or health precautions you should take before traveling.

Asking these questions about destinations will not only help you choose the right place for your trip but also ensure that you’re well-informed and prepared for your chosen destination. In the next sections, we’ll explore questions about accommodation, transportation, travel insurance, and more.

Questions about Accommodation

Accommodation plays a crucial role in the overall travel experience, and finding the right place to stay can greatly enhance your trip. When discussing accommodation options with a travel agency, be sure to ask these important questions:

  • What types of accommodation options are available? Inquire about the range of options, such as hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, or bed and breakfasts. This will help you determine which type of accommodation suits your preferences and budget.
  • Can you recommend accommodation options in my desired location? If you have a specific destination in mind, ask the agency for their recommendations based on your travel needs and preferences.
  • What amenities are available at the accommodation? Whether it’s free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, fitness center, or complimentary breakfast, understanding the amenities provided will help you choose the most suitable accommodation for your needs.
  • What is the proximity of the accommodation to attractions, transportation, and local amenities? Ask about the location of the accommodation in relation to the places you plan to visit and the availability of transportation options in the area.
  • Can you provide photos or virtual tours of the accommodation? Visual representation of the accommodation can give you a better idea of the rooms, facilities, and overall ambiance. Requesting photos or virtual tours can help you make an informed decision.
  • What is the cancellation policy for the accommodation? It’s important to understand the cancellation policy to avoid any unnecessary charges in case of changes to your travel plans. Inquire about any fees or restrictions associated with cancellation or modifications.
  • Is travel insurance available for the accommodation? Ask if the travel agency offers or recommends travel insurance specifically for the accommodation, which can provide coverage for unforeseen circumstances that may affect your stay.
  • How do I make payments for the accommodation? Inquire about the payment process, including the accepted forms of payment and any deposit requirements. Clarify whether the agency handles the payment or if it needs to be made directly with the accommodation provider.

By asking these questions about accommodation, you can ensure that you choose the right place to stay during your trip, ensuring comfort and convenience. In the next sections, we’ll explore questions related to transportation, travel insurance, costs, itineraries, safety, and more.

Questions about Transportation

Transportation is a crucial aspect of any trip, as it determines how you navigate your destination and reach your desired attractions. When discussing transportation options with a travel agency, it’s important to ask the following questions:

  • What are the available transportation options for reaching my destination? Inquire about the different modes of transportation available, such as flights, trains, buses, or rental cars. Understanding the options will help you choose the most convenient and efficient way to get to your destination.
  • Can you provide assistance with booking flights? If air travel is necessary for your trip, ask the travel agency if they can handle flight bookings on your behalf. Inquire about any special fares, discounts, or additional services they can offer.
  • Are there any transportation passes or cards available for local travel? Some destinations offer transportation passes or cards that provide unlimited travel on public transportation systems. Ask the agency if such options are available for your chosen destination and if they can assist with obtaining them.
  • What is the best mode of transportation within the destination? Inquire about the most efficient and convenient modes of transportation for getting around once you’re at your destination. This can include options like public transportation, taxis, rideshares, or rental cars.
  • What is the cost of transportation within the destination? Understanding the transportation costs within your destination will help you budget your trip accordingly. Ask about average fares or rates for different modes of transportation to get an idea of the expenses you may incur.
  • Is transportation included in any of the tour packages or activities? If you’re booking tours or activities through the travel agency, ask if transportation to and from the activity is included. This can save you the hassle of arranging separate transportation.
  • Are there any special considerations for transportation, such as accessibility or child-friendly options? If you have specific needs, such as accessibility requirements or traveling with young children, inquire about transportation options that cater to those needs.
  • Are there any specific transportation regulations or restrictions to be aware of in the destination? Some destinations may have unique transportation regulations or restrictions. Ask the travel agency about any specific rules or limitations to ensure you’re aware and compliant during your travels.

By asking these questions about transportation, you can ensure that you have a smooth and efficient way to get around your destination, allowing you to make the most of your travel experience. In the next sections, we’ll explore questions about travel insurance, costs, itineraries, safety, and more.

Questions about Travel Insurance

Travel insurance provides essential protection and peace of mind during your trip. To ensure that you have adequate coverage, it’s important to ask the following questions about travel insurance when working with a travel agency:

  • Do you offer travel insurance? Inquire if the travel agency offers their own travel insurance policy or if they can recommend reputable insurance providers.
  • What does the travel insurance cover? Ask for details about what the insurance policy covers, including medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption, lost luggage, emergency medical evacuation, or other benefits.
  • Are there any exclusions or limitations to the coverage? Understand any limitations or exclusions in the travel insurance policy. For example, pre-existing medical conditions, high-risk activities, or specific destinations may have limited coverage.
  • What are the costs associated with travel insurance? Inquire about the premiums and costs associated with the travel insurance. Understand if the cost is a one-time fee or based on the duration and type of coverage you select.
  • What is the process for filing a claim? Understand how to initiate a claim in case of an emergency or an unforeseen event. Inquire about the required documentation and the process for submitting a claim.
  • Do I need travel insurance if I already have medical insurance? If you already have medical insurance, ask if it provides coverage for international travel. Understanding the extent of your existing coverage will help you determine if additional travel insurance is necessary.
  • Does the travel insurance provide 24/7 emergency assistance? Inquire about the availability of round-the-clock emergency assistance services provided by the travel insurance company. This can be critical in case of emergencies or when you need immediate assistance during your trip.
  • Can I customize my travel insurance coverage? Ask if the travel agency or insurance provider offers options to customize the coverage based on your specific needs or preferences.

By asking these questions about travel insurance, you can make an informed decision about the coverage that best suits your travel requirements. Remember, travel insurance is essential for protecting yourself financially and emotionally in the event of unexpected situations during your trip. In the next sections, we’ll explore questions about costs, itineraries, safety, cancellations, and more.

Questions about Costs and Payment

Understanding the costs associated with your trip and the payment process is essential for effective budgeting and planning. When discussing costs and payment with a travel agency, consider asking the following questions:

  • What are the estimated costs for the entire trip? Inquire about the approximate costs, including flights, accommodation, transportation, activities, and any additional services or fees to get a comprehensive understanding of the expected expenses.
  • Are there any hidden fees or charges? Ask if there are any additional fees or charges that may not be initially apparent. Clarify if taxes, service fees, or surcharges are included in the quoted prices.
  • What is the payment schedule? Understand the payment schedule, including any required deposits and the due dates for final payments. This will help you plan your finances accordingly.
  • What forms of payment do you accept? Inquire about the accepted forms of payment, such as credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, or alternative payment methods. This will help you determine how to make payments securely and conveniently.
  • Is there a cancellation or refund policy? Understand the agency’s cancellation and refund policy in case you need to make changes to your travel plans. Ask about any fees or restrictions associated with cancellations or modifications.
  • Are there any discounts, promotions, or package deals available? Inquire if the travel agency offers any discounts, special promotions, or package deals that could help reduce the overall cost of your trip or enhance your travel experience.
  • Can you provide a breakdown of the costs for each component of the trip? Request a detailed breakdown of costs for each aspect of your trip, such as flights, accommodation, transportation, and activities. This will allow you to understand how the costs are allocated and make adjustments if needed.
  • Do you offer travel insurance, and what are the associated costs? If travel insurance is available through the agency, inquire about the cost of the insurance and any specific coverage options provided.

By asking these questions about costs and payment, you’ll have a clear understanding of the financial aspects of your trip and can plan your budget accordingly. Being aware of any potential fees, payment requirements, or refund policies will help you avoid any surprises and ensure a smooth payment process. In the next sections, we’ll delve into questions about itineraries, activities, safety, cancellations, and more.

Questions about Itineraries and Activities

Creating a well-planned itinerary and incorporating exciting activities can make your trip truly unforgettable. When working with a travel agency, it’s important to ask the following questions about itineraries and activities:

  • Can you provide sample itineraries for my desired destination? Ask the travel agency to provide sample itineraries that align with your travel preferences, whether it’s a leisurely schedule or a packed day of activities.
  • Can the itinerary be customized to my specific needs and preferences? Inquire if the travel agency can tailor the itinerary to accommodate any specific requests or preferences you may have, such as extending the stay in a particular location or including specific activities.
  • What activities and attractions are recommended in my chosen destination? Ask for recommendations on popular activities, attractions, and local experiences that should be included in your itinerary. This will ensure you don’t miss out on any must-see sights or unique experiences.
  • Are there any upcoming festivals or events during my travel dates? If there are any festivals or events happening during your visit, inquire about including them in your itinerary. Attending local celebrations can greatly enhance your cultural experience.
  • Can you assist with booking activities and tickets? If there are specific activities, tours, or attractions you’d like to include in your itinerary, ask if the agency can assist with booking them on your behalf. This can save you time and ensure availability.
  • What is the level of physical activity involved in the suggested activities? Inquire about the physical demands of the activities to ensure they align with your fitness level and any mobility limitations you may have.
  • Are there age restrictions or suitability guidelines for certain activities? If you’re traveling with children or older adults, ask if there are any age restrictions or suitability guidelines for the suggested activities to ensure everyone can participate comfortably.
  • Do you provide information or recommendations for dining options? Inquire if the travel agency provides suggestions or recommendations for local dining options, including restaurants or food markets that are known for their delicious cuisine.

By asking these questions about itineraries and activities, you’ll be able to create a well-rounded and enjoyable travel experience that includes the best attractions and activities your destination has to offer. The agency can help you curate an itinerary that caters to your interests, ensuring that you make the most of your trip. In the following sections, we’ll explore questions about safety, cancellations, refunds, and more.

Questions about Safety and Security

Ensuring your safety and security during your travels is of utmost importance. When working with a travel agency, be sure to ask the following questions to address any concerns and maintain a sense of security:

  • What safety measures do you have in place? Inquire about the travel agency’s safety protocols and measures to ensure a secure travel experience. Ask about their partnerships with trusted service providers, emergency contact information, and any safety training their staff may have undergone.
  • Do you have any recommendations for staying safe while traveling? Ask the agency for tips and recommendations on staying safe, such as avoiding certain areas, taking precautions against pickpocketing, or navigating unfamiliar transportation systems safely.
  • Are there any travel advisories or warnings for my chosen destination? Inquire about any travel advisories or warnings issued by local authorities or international organizations for the destination you plan to visit. This information will help you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with your travel plans.
  • What is your procedure for handling emergencies during the trip? Knowing the travel agency’s emergency response procedure can provide reassurance in case of unforeseen circumstances. Inquire about their 24/7 availability and their ability to assist with emergency situations or provide guidance in challenging situations.
  • Do you offer travel insurance that includes emergency medical assistance? Inquire if the travel agency offers travel insurance that includes emergency medical assistance, ensuring that you have access to medical support and evacuation services if needed.
  • Do you provide information on local laws, customs, and cultural sensitivities? Understanding the local laws and cultural norms of your destination is important for staying safe and respectful. Inquire if the travel agency provides information on local laws, customs, and any cultural sensitivities you should be aware of.
  • What is your policy regarding sharing traveler information? Ask about the agency’s policy regarding the sharing of your personal information. It’s important to ensure that your privacy is protected and that your information is not shared without your consent.
  • Can you provide contact information for local embassies or consulates? Inquire if the travel agency can provide contact information for the nearest embassy or consulate in case of emergency or if you require assistance during your travels.

By asking these questions about safety and security, you can have confidence that the travel agency prioritizes your well-being and has measures in place to ensure a safe and secure travel experience. Being informed about safety protocols and having access to support services will give you peace of mind as you embark on your journey. Next, we’ll explore questions about cancellations, refunds, and policies.

Questions about Cancellations and Refunds

While we hope that your travel plans proceed smoothly, unexpected circumstances may occur that require cancellations or changes to your itinerary. To understand the travel agency’s policies regarding cancellations and refunds, consider asking the following questions:

  • What is your cancellation policy? Inquire about the agency’s cancellation policy to understand any fees or penalties associated with canceling or modifying your trip. Clarify the timeframe within which cancellations can be made without incurring additional charges.
  • What is the refund process if I need to cancel? Understand the agency’s refund process in case of cancellations. Inquire about the timeline for receiving the refund and any administrative or processing fees that may be deducted.
  • Do you offer any cancellation protection or trip cancellation insurance? Inquire if the agency offers any additional protection options, such as trip cancellation insurance, which can provide coverage for non-refundable expenses in case you need to cancel due to covered reasons.
  • What are the refund policies of the airlines, accommodations, or activity providers? Ask about the individual refund policies of the airlines, accommodations, or activity providers included in your itinerary. Understanding their specific policies will help you determine if there are any limitations or restrictions on refunds.
  • What happens if there are changes to my itinerary or if flights are canceled? Inquire about the agency’s procedures for handling changes to your itinerary or if flights are canceled. Ask if they offer assistance in rebooking flights or making alternative arrangements.
  • What happens if there are travel advisories or unforeseen events that affect my trip? Inquire about the agency’s policies and procedures in the event of travel advisories or unexpected events that may disrupt your travel plans. Ask if they provide refunds or offer alternative arrangements in such situations.
  • Is travel insurance recommended to protect against cancellations and unforeseen events? Inquire if the agency recommends purchasing travel insurance to protect against unexpected cancellations or disruptions. They may be able to provide information on available coverage options and their benefits.
  • Can you assist with making changes or cancellations to booked activities or accommodations? Ask the agency if they can assist with making changes or cancellations to any activities or accommodations booked through them. Having their support can make the process smoother and more efficient.

By asking these questions about cancellations and refunds, you can have a clear understanding of the agency’s policies and procedures. This will help you make informed decisions and be prepared in case you need to make changes to your travel plans. Next, we’ll summarize the key points covered in this article.

Asking the right questions when working with a travel agency is crucial for a successful and enjoyable travel experience. By gathering pertinent information, seeking recommendations, and understanding policies, you can make informed decisions and ensure that your trip aligns with your preferences and expectations. From general inquiries to specific questions about destinations, accommodation, transportation, travel insurance, costs, itineraries, safety, cancellations, and refunds, each category provides valuable insights that will contribute to a seamless and memorable journey.

Remember, the purpose of asking questions is to gather information and establish a level of trust with the travel agency. By posing these questions, you can assess their expertise, professionalism, and ability to meet your travel needs. Additionally, the information gained will enable you to plan your trip more effectively, mitigate potential risks, and make the most of your chosen destination.

Ultimately, the goal is to work collaboratively with the travel agency to craft a personalized and tailored travel experience that fulfills your desires and creates lasting memories. So don’t hesitate to ask questions, voice your preferences, and provide any necessary information to ensure that your trip becomes everything you hoped for and more.

In conclusion, by asking the right questions throughout the planning process, you empower yourself to make informed decisions, enhance your travel experience, and entrust your journey to a reputable and reliable travel agency. Happy travels!


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Travel advisors can assist families with trip planning to ensure that the activities and pacing are conducive to kids.

Do people still use travel agents?

Yes—and now they’re called travel advisors. They could be more helpful than you may think.

If the idea of using a travel agent to plan your next trip sounds like recommending a rotary phone to confirm your flight reservation, think again. Travel agents—often known as travel advisors today—are alive and well in the age of Google flight searches and HotelTonight app bookings, flexing their muscular connections to hotel, tour, and cruise companies to get their clients good deals, convenient itineraries, and tailored experiences. Virtuoso , a network of advisors specializing in luxury travel, increased its membership by 14 percent (to 20,000) in 2018, testifying to the strength of the industry.

When should you use an advisor? For simple getaways, it may be easier and cheaper to go it alone. “If you’re going to Vermont for a fall weeekend, it probably makes no sense to use a travel agent,” says Kevin Brasler, executive editor for the nonprofit watchdog group Consumers’ Checkbook . “Where a travel advisor can add value to the equation is when the itinerary is slightly more complicated or you have children or grandparents along,” says Mollie Fitzgerald, co-owner of Frontiers travel company. Advisors also can help plan trips that align with personal values such as conservation and sustainability.

Advisors not only expedite planning, but they can be your back-up should anything go wrong. When a flight is canceled, a hotel reservation is lost, or a natural disaster strikes, they are there to help. Ultimately, their connections can become your conduit to a smoother and more stimulating trip.

If you decide to use an advisor, here are some tips for how to do it:

Browse advisor databases

Clients often find advisors through word of mouth, but the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) maintains a database that allows travelers to search by destination, type of journey (such as eco-tourism or genealogy), and cohort (such as LGBTQ+ travelers). On Virtuoso’s website, the searchable database includes bios for the advisors and maps showing their recent travels. Many advisors are generalists, but those who specialize in certain regions or kinds of travel often can provide better service, particularly for places where language barriers or safety are concerns.

Zero in on your specific interests

Spend 15 minutes upfront chatting with an advisor by phone about your travel passions. If, for example, you want to ensure that your trip provides some benefit to the local community, an advisor can help guide you. An advisor also may organize extras such as a behind-the-scenes tour of a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya , cooking classes with local ingredients in Vietnam , or participation in an archaeological dig in Greece . “Our advisors arrange things people don’t know they can ask for,” says Misty Ewing Belles, spokesperson for Virtuoso.

Related: the world's best new eco-friendly hotels

Shinta Mani Wild on the border of Southern Cardamom National Park in west Cambodia

Don’t be afraid to talk budget

If you’re not sure how much to spend, an advisor can tell you what to expect of a five-star versus a three-star hotel. Per the ASTA, one in five millennial clients uses an advisor to work out a travel budget. And expect to pay something for travel services. Virtuoso advisors, for example, normally charge between $50 and $300, sometimes more depending on the complexity of the trip. “Leisure is your most valuable nonrenewable asset, and you don’t want to leave it to chance,” says Ewing Belles. “We’re the travel equivalents of financial advisors.”

Take advantage of combined fares

Due to their established contracts, travel advisors often can secure international airfare in conjunction with a hotel, cruise, or tour booking for better-than-published rates. “Sometimes you’ll pay the cheapest fare and get an automatic upgrade to business class,” says Fitzgerald.

Traveling to high elevation? Read these tips on dealing with altitude .

Claim extras when planning a cruise

Cruises are particularly good trips to book through an advisor. Virtuoso regularly gets benefits and amenities valued at $800 to $3,000 per sailing, such as airport transfers, a car and driver in port, or a private lunch in the home of a former ambassador.

Get itineraries tailored to tots

Advisors can plan a trip with pacing that works well for kids. “It’s important not to over-program,” says Fitzgerald. “I think of sightseeing in half-day increments and getting enrichment in early in the day. We really shine in helping people maximize their time on a trip so they’re not spending hours at the concierge desk.”

Receive help when misfortune strikes

Look to travel advisors for guidance planning trips around disease outbreaks or natural disasters. If things go awry while you’re away, you can call on them to get your trip back on track. They will spring into action to provide services such as rebooking a canceled flight or expediting a meeting at a foreign consulate in cases of emergency.

Here’s how the coronavirus is impacting travel .

Consider a subscription service

Frequent travelers may want to join a subscription service, such as Essentialist . For $1,400 a year, Essentialist members get a dedicated travel designer, bespoke itineraries, advice from journalists who are experts in a destination, access to local guides, and convenient communication through a smartphone app.

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Travel Agent Tips: How to Find Clients

Written by: Michelle on November 12, 2019

Travel Agent Tips

Becoming a travel agent and starting a new travel business is exciting because there is so much to learn and questions to get answered. Many people looking to step into the role of a travel agent have questions, and it’s important to have the answers you need before getting started.

Our team is here to answers the questions that come up. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is, “How do I find clients?”

In the third video of our Travel Agent Tips series, Bill Coyle, a travel agent with over twenty years of experience, shares how agents can find new clients and begin building trust with them.

Narrowing your focus can be a good thing, because you don’t want to spend a lot of time on an audience that isn’t likely to connect with you. By deciding where you want to do business and thinking local, you can foster relationships with those in your community who can get to know you as a person and see the value in using your services.

You can get more of your questions answered by heading over to KHM Travel Group’s YouTube channel and  viewing the full playlist.

We’ll be developing more Travel Agent Tips episodes, so be sure to  subscribe to our channel  to get notified when another video is released. You can even suggest your own question for Bill to answer in a comment on one of the videos!

If you have any questions about the travel agent life or working with  KHM Travel Group , please don’t hesitate to reach out. Fill out the form to the right to receive more information or give us a call at 1-888-611-1220 to talk to our team.

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4 scenarios when you should use a travel agent

Andrea M. Rotondo

Editor's Note

If you're a points-and-miles-wielding expert traveler, you may not immediately think of using a travel agent to book your getaways . However, there are times and situations when using these services can be of great benefit.

A good travel agent can be a game-changer when it comes to helping you book your ideal trip and receive the best services once you arrive at your destination. Travel agents can also be of great assistance when things go wrong, especially during this summer of excessive flight delays and cancellations .

Agents can often secure the best room in a hotel or the top cabin on a cruise ship. Sometimes they can even secure complimentary upgrades, breakfast benefits or food and beverage credits, and free spa treatments during your stay.

When it comes to making the right decisions about when to travel, what sights to see and which guides to hire, agents can act as advisors. An excellent travel agent can be the difference between an OK experience and the trip of a lifetime.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

Here are four times when you may want to use a travel agent:

Booking a hotel with extras

Your travel agent can become a trusted friend over time. Before you're ready to turn over all your travel planning to a travel adviser, test the waters by collaborating on a simple trip request. You'll want to see how the agent operates, communicates and arranges extra perks and deals. Avoid a complex or elaborate request on the first go-round.

Start by having a travel agency book your hotel arrangements with a few specific requests for extras baked in, such as airport transfers or spa services .

how to talk travel agent

Start with an agent who is part of a major travel consortium such as Virtuoso, Travel Leaders Network, Ensemble Travel Group or Signature Travel Network. Each of these networks provides a suite of benefits to travelers who book with them. If you're familiar with the perks of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program or the Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection , you'll know what we mean. Extra benefits for booking can include space-available upgrades, free breakfast, additional food and beverage credit, a free spa treatment or a round of golf.

Related: This new travel company will pair you with local experts

You can work with a travel agency that fits your style. This may be someone from a large company based in a major city with dozens of agents, or it may be someone from a more boutique option such as the family-owned and operated Ourisman Travel. (Ourisman Travel is a travel consultancy affiliated with Brownell Travel, one of the oldest travel agencies in the U.S., and also a member of the Virtuoso network.)

What's nice about Ourisman and any Virtuoso agency is that you can have your travel agent do all the work. You can also use the Virtuoso booking tool to make quick, easy reservations. Once your reservation is in the system, your agent swings into action to let the hotel know a VIP is on the way and arranges for any extras, whether it's a Virtuoso perk or one from a credit card program.

It's also possible to stack benefits. If you book your trip with The Platinum Card® from American Express , your agent can secure your Amex FHR benefits; you may also be entitled to additional perks from the agency, its travel consortium or the hotel, cruise line or tour company.

When you're short on time

Not everyone has weeks to spend crafting the ultimate itinerary and keeping watch on every flight deal (although TPG can help you here) . Fortunately, you can rely on a savvy travel agent to step in and plan your vacation when your time is crunched . Otherwise, you might not be able to pull off the travel arrangements on your own, or you might end up spending more for your trip than you should.

When facing a planning time crunch, look for an agent who specializes in the type of trip and destination you have in mind. If you're looking for a beach villa on a Caribbean island , find a travel advisor who has experience booking this sort of trip.

how to talk travel agent

One example is Villas of Distinction, which has been around for more than 25 years and has a vast network of properties. Your travel advisor there can offer advice on which properties are best suited to your needs, what's available and how to book the villa. You can also use your American Express Membership Rewards points to book a villa through the agency, an added benefit to finding a good application of points.

Agents specializing in villa rentals usually have strong networks on the ground, so they can assist with chores such as stocking the villa with groceries, booking a chef or securing the best masseuse on the island for poolside treatments.

Related: Everything you need to know about Homes and Villas by Marriott

When your travel plans are specific and complex

The more complex and specific your travel goals are, the more experts in that destination or trip style can help you.

For example, every year, travel guru Wendy Perrin puts together a WOW List that features experts in the travel-booking field. The agents, advisors and destination specialists on Perrin's list aren't booking budget cruises and all-inclusive vacations for people as a side hustle. The agents on the WOW List are the real deal with plenty of expertise in their subject areas.

Say you want to explore Africa and go on a safari, but you don't know where to begin. Consult the WOW List and you'll see she recommends individuals with an encyclopedic knowledge of the continent.

how to talk travel agent

The WOW List features advisors who can create custom safaris in East, Central and South Africa as well as niche destinations like Madagascar. The website provides a synopsis of the agents' expertise as well as links to reviews and insider guides written by Perrin and her team.

This is an excellent resource for learning about the best attractions, cutting-edge travel trends or finding out-of-the-ordinary experiences, and shows how contact with local agents, rather than anonymous trip reviews, can be a great advantage in planning a trip.

Related: Everything you need to know about going on safari in Africa

When you're looking for value

Travel agents often have access to room rates and cruise fares not available to the general public. This is especially true of agents who specialize in specific cruise lines. When a cruise line needs to fill a sailing, it may reach out to its top agents to extend special fares for their clients. You'll only hear about these offers if you have a top agent who sells cruises on the lines you love.

Related: Why now might be the cheapest time to plan a cruise

For example, Keene Luxury Travel, a member of the Signature Travel Network, has relationships with all the top luxury cruise lines, especially Regent Seven Seas. As a result, your agent can offer shipboard credits, special fares for solo travelers, deals for families traveling with children and more. The agency also has its own KLT Rewards program. With KLT Rewards, you'll get cash back on every sailing, about 10 days before you set sail. Plus, if you book a trip hosted by the agency's owners, you'll get a bump in the amount of your reward for booking with them.

how to talk travel agent

The best part about working with specialty agents like those at Keene Luxury Travel? You can stack deals. For example, you can book a hosted trip to get the usual 5% KLT booking reward, plus an enhanced reward for booking a group trip. On top of that, you could also receive the onboard credit that's a Signature Travel Network perk.

Bottom line

Whether you're booking a weekend getaway in a U.S. city or planning an around-the-world extravaganza that includes an African safari , Antarctica cruise and a stay in an igloo hotel , consider using a travel agent. An agent can help get you on the right trip, at the right time for the right price.

They can help find the best rooms, book services you didn't even know existed and tie all the pieces together on a complicated itinerary.

A travel agent can be particularly beneficial if you don't have the time to do all the research yourself, or if you're looking for help in getting the best deal. It's also helpful to use an agent if your trip targets destinations or itineraries that can benefit from local experts,

If there's ever a problem during a vacation — which seems to happen more often than not these days — it's great to have a problem-solver who is just one phone call or email away.

Additional reporting by Bill Fink


Travel Advisor Resources

How to Become a Travel Agent: All Your Questions, Answered

Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel


how to talk travel agent

Are you the go-to person for travel tips? Do you have lists of restaurant recs for your favorite cities? Obsessed with hotels and resorts? Or maybe you're looking to score epic hotel perks for your friends and family?

Narrator’s voice: If you answered yes to any of these questions...

If you have a passion for travel, a career path to becoming a travel agent is closer than you think. First, we answer some FAQs on  booking travel, travel agencies and the travel industry, then walk you through how to become a travel agent, step by step.

Ready to take the first step? Become a travel advisor today.

Let’s back up. What exactly does a travel agent do?

Travel agents sell, curate and book travel. What kinds of bookings do Fora Advisors do , exactly? All sorts, from booking a cruise line or a hotel room to planning a multi-country journey that includes transfers, tours and unique experiences (and everything in between).

As a travel consultant, travel agents work with clients to tailor travel arrangements based on budget, taste and vacation vibe, and communicate with hotels to ensure each trip goes off without a hitch. And when it comes to getting paid as a travel agent, hotels and other travel providers pay advisors a commission on anything they book, at no additional cost to the traveler. For more intel, check out our post: what is a travel agent?

What are the qualifications to become a travel agent?

how to talk travel agent

Good news! There are no exams, accreditations or other hoops to jump through to start booking travel as a career path. Nor is a travel agent certification (or formal training, or experience at a travel agency) required. Anyone with a passion for travel, a problem-solving attitude and a little spare time can succeed as a travel agent. Solid people skills don’t hurt either!

Eager to learn more? Download our guide on how to turn your passion for travel into $$$ .

What are the benefits of being a travel agent?

Beyond talking about gorgeous destinations and cool hotels all day (hey, the topic could be worse), there are also tons of travel industry perks, like trips to develop your travel experience (called ‘FAM’ trips ), plus in-person networking events and hotel site visits.

Plus, you can hook your clients up with amazing perks and upgrades when they travel, becoming the go-to ‘friend with hotel benefits’ (see what we did there…). As a travel agent with Fora, for instance, you’ll have access to best-of-the-best partner programs , with perks at over 4,500 hotels around the world (more on that below). Say hello to room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, resort and spa credits for your clients.

Learn more about our partners .

How do I get started as a travel agent?

Step 1: find a host agency that gets you.

If you’re interested in becoming a travel agent, you’ll need to choose a host agency. Travel agents work with a travel agency, referred to as a host agency, that handles commissions and other logistics. A host agency like Fora acts as an umbrella organization, providing resources to travel agents, including access to booking systems & partner programs, marketing support and training. (And, in many cases, a host agency provides you with an IATA number, allowing you to earn commission.) Plus, host agencies give independent travel professionals leverage with suppliers, gaining better commission rates and overall credibility within the travel market. Why choose Fora as your host agency? As a modern host agency, we’re upgrading the travel industry by building tech tools to help you jumpstart your travel business. We’ll get you onboarded and teach you the ropes with training programs galore (more on that below). And when it comes to booking travel, our global community of experienced travel agents will help you get that first booking — and be on call for all the support you need. Learn more about what you get as a Fora Advisor .

Plus, unlike other travel agencies, we don’t require a hefty training fee, minimum number of bookings or quotas. Being a Fora Advisor is flexible, meaning you determine your own schedule and work as much or as little as you'd like. Ready to take the first step? Become a travel advisor today.

Step 2: Learn the ropes & get certified

As an independent travel agent with Fora, we’ll set you up with everything you need to become a successful travel agent, including a best-in-class training program developed by industry experts. 

You’ll hit the ground running — you can book hotels from day one — and get trained up with fellow advisors as part of Fora’s travel agent training . Advisors attend weekly live training sessions, receive 1:1 mentorship from industry leaders and get ‘Fora Certified’ to sell travel. (Fora certification isn’t required, but offered to equip you with all the knowledge you might need).

And it doesn’t stop there. We offer tons of formal (yet flexible) training so you can continue to boost your know-how, including partner webinars, tips on building your client base and tutorials on itinerary planning. 

Step 3: Market yourself

how to talk travel agent

Once you are officially a travel agent with Fora, you’ll be off to the races to boost your client base. To do so, we offer tons of resources for our independent contractors, including a dedicated profile page on Fora’s website and your own fora.travel email address. 

Thanks to our easy-to-follow marketing plan, you have all the resources to market yourself from Day One. Post on social media, send an email blast, ask your friends if they’re planning a trip — there are tons of ways to get the word out. Learn more about how to market yourself as a travel agent .

Step 4: Find your first client

As a travel advisor with Fora, you’ll get the tools, tech and marketing support to help you build your client base. First, we recommend planning trips for your personal network — your first clients can totally be your friends and family. 

Next, word of mouth will be your best friend. After a client returns from a trip, ask them to spread the word. Next, leverage content creation tools to make yourself more visible. And finally, take advantage of Fora’s Client Lead Program (learn more about our game-changing client lead program for advisors ). Learn more about how to get clients as a travel agent .

Step 5: Book your first trip

how to talk travel agent

Time to make the magic happen! And by magic, we mean booking hotels — not to mention itinerary planning & unlocking epic perks, of course.

As a Fora Advisor, you make money by booking hotels — but there’s tons more that goes into it. Your services can range from simply booking a hotel room to planning a multi-country vacation. And Fora Advisors have tons of tools at their fingertips to plan trips. Start by researching your destination and getting intel from fellow travel advisors on our community app, Forum, then make your first booking — and compare rates and perks in real time — with our integrated booking platform . Our most game-changing tool yet, our integrated booking platform is an all-in-one tool for advisors to browse, quote & book hotels directly from their Fora Advisor Portal.  

Step 6: Rinse & repeat — always on your own schedule

One of the best parts of being a travel agent? Being a Fora Advisor provides tons of flexibility, because we allow you to choose your pace, niche & schedule. And thanks to our booking platform, you can work from anywhere. 

Planning travel can be a side hustle to bring in some extra earnings. Or, you might also decide to transition into a full-time travel career with a larger client base as you build your own business. Fora doesn’t place quotas on bookings or earnings, either. Our objective is to teach you and support you when you need it. Beyond that, you’re free to choose the types of bookings you make, how often and when. 

Step 7: Get paid

how to talk travel agent

As a Fora Advisor, you’re eligible to earn commissions on most 3-star or higher hotels, along with other travel suppliers like villa companies or DMCs (tour operators). 

And the best part? If you book travel with Fora as your host agency, thanks to Fora’s integrated booking platform, we handle every aspect of getting you paid (and paid fast). You’ll receive your commission upon the completion of your client’s trip. Learn more about how travel agents get paid. Convinced? Sign up to take the first steps today to . Or, read on for more FAQS on how to become a travel agent.

Can I still become a travel agent if I’m not a travel expert?

Our community is made up of people who are passionate about travel. Beyond passion, travel experience and destination knowledge of any kind — be it the best beach resort in Florida, the top hotel in California or your preferred cruise line — is valuable. However, to become a travel agent, you don’t have to be an expert (i.e., know everything about everywhere). That's where our community comes in. 

At Fora, our advisors get exclusive access to our community app to connect with a network of travel experts. Planning a honeymoon to Japan? A family reunion in Hawaii? A girls trip to Greece? Your fellow travel advisors will be your biggest asset in travel planning — which is why you should choose your host agency wisely. Collective intelligence is a beautiful thing.

Learn more about our community app, Forum .

Define “best-of-the-best partner programs": what brands has Fora partnered with?

how to talk travel agent

We really do mean “best-of-the-best.” From to Hyatt Privé , Fora has partnered with dozens of reputable brands and groups — from boutique hotels in Europe to epic Disney resorts. And we’re not just in the hotel sphere. Our list of preferred partners has grown to include popular cruise lines like Virgin Voyages and Viking, along with on-the-ground experiences like Project Expedition and more. 

Plus, Fora is constantly seeking new partnerships our travel agents can benefit from, so their clients get the most out of their vacations.

How much do travel agents make?

Much like other sales positions, as a seller of travel, travel agents get paid in commissions. Your paycheck depends on how much, and what type of travel, you’re booking. (Learn more in our post on how travel agents get paid .)

For instance, if you book a family cruise in the tens of thousands of dollars, your commission will be substantial. You could also get the same commission by handling hotel bookings at a lower price, but at a higher amount. (TLDR: In general, suppliers commonly pay 10% commission, which is split between you and your host agency).

Check out our guide on how much travel agents make per booking .

Why should I choose Fora as my host agency?

Fora's Head of Travel Operations Leslie Overton coaches advisors at Live Forum 2023

From our inclusive global community to our super-fast commissions (looking at you, other travel agencies), there are tons of reasons to choose Fora as your host agency. 

From Day One, Fora Advisors benefits from A+ support and training, convenient tools and an all-are-welcome ethos. Because we get it: this is uncharted territory for many. Learn more about what you get as a Fora Advisor .

Want to know how to become a travel agent? Here’s the bottom line...

There is a lot to love about being a travel advisor, but one of our favorite parts is that it’s easier than ever to become one. As a Fora Advisor, you get all the support, training and community you need, at a host agency reimagining the industry.

Ready to start your own business? Take the first steps to become a travel advisor today.

Looking for more intel on how to become a travel agent?

Read our other articles on becoming a travel agent:

How to Become a Travel Agent from Home

How to Become an Independent Travel Agent

How to Become a Disney Travel Agent

How to Become a Luxury Travel Agent

Are you the go-to person for travel tips?

Transform your passion for travel into your dream job. We'll set you up with everything you need to succeed as a travel advisor. From training to top-notch tech, marketing assets, community, commission tracking & payments (and more), we've got you.

How to Become a Travel Agent—Because, Believe It or Not, the Industry Is on the Rise

By Scott Bay

How to Become a Travel Agent—Because Believe It or Not the Industry Is on the Rise

There’s a reason “how to become a travel agent” has been a continuously trending search phrase on Google—it is a career path that offers a flexible work environment and schedule, ample travel opportunities, and an immersion into a supportive world-wide industry. It's a surprise to some in 2023: Once the internet became widely available, it was largely believed that needing a travel agent was obsolete. However, even though the brick-and-mortar agencies with punny names in strip malls have vanished, the career is on-the-rise .

New software options are making it easier than ever for people to make money planning trips, either as a side hustle or as a full-time business. That’s why Cherikonda, India-based stay-at-home mother, Maya Kapoor-Miller, decided to enter the professional world as a travel agent this year, at 31. “I knew nothing about the travel industry prior to signing up,” says Kapoor-Miller, who decided to use San Francisco-based booking platform Dreamport to establish her online travel advisor business. “It is my first business in life, and the only one that you can start with no investment.”

But there's also a rise in demand. When people ventured back into the world after the pandemic, travel agents saw an overwhelming amount of business . And that momentum hasn’t stopped—when travel is complicated, like it was in 2020 and 2021, travelers turned to professional trip planners to create a seamless vacation. For better or worse, traveling has remained complicated and chaotic, with new rules being implemented (like Americans needing to pay a fee to visit Europe in 2024 ) and airline strikes and staffing issues. Offloading all of the nitty-gritty details to someone else is more appealing than ever.

For those entering the field, there's also the age-old motivator: a love of travel. 

Shelton Ellis, who is based in North Carolina, recently saw these opportunities and left behind more than 20 years in public relations and global advertising to turn his passion into a career. “I was born with a wanderlust that would wear Rick Steves out,” Ellis says. “I decided to take the leap and follow that lifelong yearning. Transitioning into this role was really about learning how to monetize what I'm passionate about.”

Whether you are looking for a new career path or a lucrative side-hustle—or simply curious about those taking the plunge—here’s how to become a travel agent, from the qualifications and education required, to anticipated earnings, according to those who have made the shift in the past year. 

What exactly does a travel agent do?

Travel agents, or travel advisors (the term is mostly interchangeable), manage everything that goes into a trip for their clients: the flights, car transfers, accommodations, restaurant reservations, and more—they even inspire the itinerary. The reason people turn to travel agents, aside from having a helping hand during any travel chaos , is also to tap into the travel agent’s first-hand knowledge of destinations, and their industry partnerships, which often lead to perks such as hotel upgrades, ideal airplane seats, and experiences that can’t be found on a search engine.

“You have to remember that as a travel agent, you will be a guide for people during their happiest moments—family reunions, weddings , baptisms, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that people have dreamt of,” says Kapoor-Miller. “It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of being a travel agent. You navigate people, inform them, and help them choose.”

So, how do you become a travel agent?

There are many ways to become a travel agent, from joining an existing travel agency , to starting an independent business from the ground up. Others are opting for one of the buzziest start-ups in the travel industry, Fora . When it launched in 2021, the software company, which trains and provides search engine-optimized profile pages to advisors—at one point had a waitlist of over 30,000 people eager to begin a part-time gig. Travel photographer and Condé Nast Traveler contributor Amanda Villarosa is currently in the process of joining.

“I'm the person that friends and family come to for travel recommendations, tips and tricks, and general travel advice,” says Villarosa. “After discovering Fora and looking into it, I realized that it could be the perfect side-hustle, considering I'm already so involved in the industry.”

With additional flexibility, Villarosa was able to move from New York City to splitting her time between Denver and Los Angeles . She says that the sign-up was quite straightforward. “You're given a dedicated Fora email and have access to advising tools and fellow Fora advisors,” she says. “The training is in the form of Zoom meetings and videos, which you have the option to watch at your own pace. Once completed, you take a certification quiz and you're on your way to advising.”

The other ways in are slightly more involved. To begin an independent practice, you go about it like many other businesses. You will have to create an LLC, establish a business name, cultivate marketing materials, build a website, find clientele, and more.

Ellis found something in the middle, choosing to connect with an established travel agency. “Don't be afraid to reach out to an agency looking to take on new advisors and is willing to mentor," says Ellis. "I was fortunate to learn so much from Annie Chambers, the owner of Crafted Escapes , who has seven years in the business.” He now knows the ropes on everything from using itinerary-building software to destination-specific training, to the sales and marketing aspects of the trade.

Is there required education or qualifications?

Ellis says that there's no certification, per se, required to become a travel advisor, but there are countless training courses available like Departure Lounge ’s classes on navigating the industry through hotels and tour operators. He said it’s also important to stay on top of travel trends. Ellis recently completed travel agent training programs provided by premier cruise lines such as Virgin Voyages , Ritz-Carlton Yachts , and Cunard to help agents sell their products more accurately.

How much does a travel agent make?

What a travel agent earns depends on how many trips they successfully book for their clients. The entire model is commission-based, meaning agents earn a percentage of the total cost of the vacation they orchestrate. Many travel advisors choose to charge a flat-rate planning fee in addition to their commission, but balance is key—if you charge a high planning fee, it could lead to potential clients going elsewhere.

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Fora ’s website states that “some of our full-time, expert advisors earn well into the six figures (or beyond).” So a lucrative career may be on the horizon, for those who are able to build a robust client base and excellent industry connections.

How much you make can also depend on where you live around the world. “I am being paid in dollars,” says India-based Kapoor-Miller. “So the currency fluctuations of the local exchange rate are not something I am worried about.”

What are the key skills required to become a travel agent?

“Travel agents need a mix of customer service, communication, destination knowledge, organizational, and problem-solving skills,” says Kapoor-Miller. “But I would say that adaptability, flexibility, curiosity, and cultural sensitivity top them all—you have to put yourself in other's shoes, and understand the requirements, hopes, and expectations of your clients along with any worries and questions they may have.”

It’s vital to have a passion for traveling, even the aspects of the process that aren’t as exciting, such as learning about new airline routes, train schedule updates, and industry news. “It can be an information-heavy hustle, and I believe it's important to be excited about it as that energy definitely transfers to your clients and partners,” Villarosa says.

Should travel advisors choose a specialization?

Many travel advisors have found success through becoming an expert in a few types of travel and destinations. “It's important to become an authority and learn as much as you can through personal experiences and continuing education,” says Ellis. “As a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community , an avid snow skier, and scuba diver, I know not only the popular destinations but others that are off the beaten path, equally safe and adventurous for all travelers.” This helps travel agents establish a competitive edge, and hopefully convince potential clients to choose them for their expertise.

What are the benefits of being a travel agent?

“Flexibility tops them all,” says Kapoor-Miller. “And the ability to start without industry knowledge. If you worry that you are too old for this job, the good news is that this is a job you can enter and enjoy at any age.”

Another great perk is the "Familiarization trip,” says Ellis. “Tourism boards and hotels invite agents to visit and familiarize themselves with a particular country and its properties. After all, any accomplished salesperson should learn everything they can about their products first-hand...even if they're in Bora Bora.” It's hard work, but someone's got to do it. 

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  • Oslo office Tel: 22 51 37 90 / Fax: 47 22 51 37 95 (Mon-Fri: 9:00AM-5:00PM) E-mail [email protected] FOR TRAVEL PARTNER ENQUIRIES Tel: 22 51 37 80 https://agent.royalcaribbean.no/contact/
  • Sweden office Tel: 0200 88 0155 (Mon-Fri: 9:00AM-6:00PM / Sat: 10:00AM-5:00PM) FOR TRAVEL PARTNER ENQUIRIES Tel: 08 22 54 00 https://agent.royalcaribbean.no/contact/
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  • Hong Kong, China office Tel: +852 3018-3463 / Fax: +852-3189-3277 (Mon-Fri: 9:00AM-6:00PM) E-mail [email protected] ATLASPACE, 16/F, Sun Life Tower, The Gateway, Harbor City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
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We are here to help with reservations, Crown & Anchor memberships and general questions.

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Protect Your Trip »

What to do if your flight is canceled.

Follow these steps in the event your flight is canceled.

Flight Canceled or Delayed? What to Do

Canceled flights

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Key Takeaways

  • Airlines will soon be required to automatically refund travelers for canceled flights.
  • You will be eligible for a refund if your domestic flight is delayed by more than three hours, or if your international flight delay exceeds six hours.
  • Using the airline's app or calling an international airline number is often the quickest way to rebook a flight.
  • The DOT Cancellation and Delay Dashboard shows what each major domestic airline will or will not provide in the event of a cancellation or delay currently.

In April 2024, the Department of Transportation announced a new series of protections for air travelers , including automatic refunds for canceled flights and, in some cases, flight delays. Airlines in the U.S. have six months until they will be expected to start implementing the new rule.

If your flight has been canceled or delayed, read on for step-by-step instructions on how to rearrange your travel plans and whether or not you are eligible for a refund at this time.

What to do if your flight is canceled

1. get on the airline's app – or make an international call.

First, pull up the airline's app on your phone. Most airline apps allow you to easily rebook your flight for free, provided you can supply your six-character reservation code. Getting in line to speak with an agent and calling the airline while you wait is also a good idea (albeit slower than using an app), and social media messaging, texting or WhatsApp may prove helpful. "During times of mass travel disruption, you should try all different avenues for getting help," says Nick Ewen, director of content at The Points Guy.

Ewen also recommends a lesser-known tactic: calling the airline's international numbers. Airlines have offices in Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and more. "While it can be costly, you can often get through to an agent more quickly," Ewen says.

Note that, depending on why your flight was canceled, finding seats on a new flight may alter your travel plans considerably.

2. Book a hotel

Next, determine if you need overnight accommodations. "If you were originally booked on the last flight of the night and there are no other options, grab a hotel room near the airport before they're all taken," Ewen advises.

3. Ask for a refund

If the airline cancels your flight and you're forced to change your travel plans, you are entitled to a cash refund per federal law . Unfortunately, getting a refund can be a lengthy and frustrating process. Most airlines will instead offer a credit for future travel, but before you accept, note that travel credits can come with restrictions, such as blackout dates

Soon, airlines will be expected to issue refunds within seven business days — either in cash or on the credit card you used to book your flight — if you turn down a travel credit.

4. Reference the DOT Cancellation and Delay Dashboard

While you're entitled to a full refund, other flight cancellation policies may vary by airline. Go to the DOT's Cancellation and Delay Dashboard to see what each major airline will and will not offer in the event of a controllable cancellation.

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What to do if your flight is delayed

Currently, airlines are not legally obligated to give you a refund for a flight delay unless the DOT determines the delay to be "significant," a term that's defined on a case-by-case basis.

The DOT's new rule defines "significant changes" for the first time, and when it goes into effect later this year, you will be eligible for a refund in the following scenarios:

  • Departure or arrival times for domestic flights exceed three hours
  • Departure or arrival times for international flights exceed six hours
  • There's an increase in the number of connections
  • Departures or arrivals take place at a different airport than the one(s) you booked
  • You're downgraded to a lower flight class than the one you booked
  • You have a disability and your connections are at different airports and/or on different flights that are less accessible

Research other flights

Investigate what other flights on that airline are headed to your destination and ask an agent if they can get you on one of them (without charging change fees). Also be sure to look into what's available on other airlines: If your original airline doesn't have any flights available on your departure date, an agent may be able to book you on a flight with a different carrier at no additional cost to you. Note, however, that airlines are not legally required to do this.

Inquire about other compensation

If you've been stranded at the airport for several hours, check in with an agent and reference the Commitments for Controllable Delays section on the DOT's Cancellation and Delay Dashboard – regardless of whether you're able to get on another flight. Some airlines may provide amenities such as vouchers for meals or overnight accommodations.

Frequently Asked Questions

"The main causes for flight disruptions are bad weather, understaffed air traffic control, and factors within the airline’s control,"  says Katy Nastro, a spokesperson at Going.com, formerly Scott's Cheap Flights. She explains the following:

  • Weather:  This is outside of the airline's control and is the single biggest reason for why we see flight disruptions. We saw this play out over the winter holidays in 2022, and even to some extent during the 2023 holiday season. Even if the weather is accurately predicted, it cannot be controlled, which means at times flight disruptions are unavoidable.
  • Understaffed air traffic control:  The U.S. air travel industry has made strides in pilot hiring year over year, but when it comes to air traffic control, we are still down roughly 1,000 fewer air traffic controllers from a decade ago. New York metro area airports specifically have felt the brunt of this deficit, so much so that airlines were permitted to reduce schedules without penalty from the summer until the end of Q4 in 2023. At its lowest, the decrease in flights in the New York metro area resulted in about 11% fewer flights per day. With less trained staff, current air traffic controllers are stretched to the limit, and schedule reductions only temporarily solve this problem. Even with aggressive hiring efforts, training takes time and will not be a quick fix.

It's almost impossible to avoid canceled or delayed flights these days. But there are a few things you can do when booking flights to lessen your chances for travel disruptions.

Keep tabs on your aircraft: On your departure date, check your flight information before heading to the airport. You can keep a watchful eye on the flight's status – including the aircraft scheduled to operate your flight – using the airline's app or a third-party app such as FlightAware Flight Tracker (which also offers a website ), FlightRadar24 or TripIt Pro.

"As an example, if you're flying from Orlando to New York, and your plane is flying in from Chicago, the initial flight from Chicago to Orlando might be delayed (or canceled) before yours is," Ewen explains. "Airlines will try to find replacement aircraft in that case, but if you can identify a potential cancellation before it officially happens, you may be able to get rebooked ahead of the other 100-plus passengers on your flight."

Consider an alternate airport: When booking your flight, you may consider flying out of a different airport than the one you typically depart from. For example, a small regional airport with limited routes may mean less travel delays and hassle overall – or it may be worth driving further to another international airport for a nonstop flight to your destination rather than opting for a connecting flight close to home.

Fly in the morning: While flight disruptions are unpredictable, historically fewer cancellations and delays occur in the morning.

Avoid weekend travel: Fly on off-peak days like Tuesday or Wednesday. You'll often find cheaper flights on these days, too.

Opt for longer layovers: If you need to take more than one flight to reach your destination, book a flight with a longer layover to provide enough time to make your connecting flight. Keep in mind that at some airports you may need to go through security or customs for your connection. For longer journeys, you can reduce the risk of missing connecting flights by planning a city stopover. For example, Icelandair offers Iceland stopovers for no additional airfare.

Consider a credit card with travel protections: You don't need to be a frequent traveler to take advantage of credit card travel protections and perks. Here are a couple options to consider:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred :  This travel credit card ($95 annually) provides coverage for delays and cancellations when used to book flights. It also provides other travel protections such as delayed baggage coverage. "Even someone who travels just once or twice a year can still get phenomenal value from this card," Ewen says.
  • American Express Platinum Card :  This card ($695 annually) offers travel insurance that reimburses some nonrefundable expenses like hotel accommodations, meals and other essentials as long as the trip was purchased using the card.

When choosing a travel credit card, you should also pay attention to other benefits. Even the most basic airline credit cards can offer travel perks like discounts on in-flight purchases and waived baggage fees, while premium travel credit cards (which require a higher annual fee) can include access to an airport lounge with food, drinks and Wi-Fi. Some also provide a concierge service to rebook flights or built-in trip insurance to cover unforeseen expenses.

Purchase travel insurance: If your credit card doesn't include travel protections, consider purchasing insurance with flight coverages – even a cheap travel policy can help protect your investment. Covered reasons include a travel carrier delay and loss or theft of travel documents, among other scenarios. If you're interested in purchasing a policy, you can browse the best travel insurance companies here .

Talk to a travel advisor: "Booking directly with your travel advisor provides more leverage and support if something goes wrong," explains Jessica Parker, founder of Trip Whisperer . "We can advocate for a better outcome should there be cancellations or hiccups in the itinerary."

Charlotte French, owner of Cavatica Luxury Travel , agrees, sharing this recent example: "My clients were booked on a nonstop United Flight from Tokyo (HND) to EWR (Newark) in business class, when it was canceled (due to technical issues). The clients were waiting in line to find other options for their return flight home; however, these were very limited. In parallel, I was able to speak to the United Airlines corporate desk (as a travel advisor) and was able to secure them in business class on a flight out of Tokyo the same day."

Avoid checking luggage: Travelers who only travel with a carry-on bag and/or personal item (such as a backpack or purse) that meet carry-on size restrictions will have the most flexibility in rebooking – and will also avoid the chance of lost luggage, another common issue. Some carriers will try to move checked luggage to a later flight for you and will make every effort to keep you and your belongings together. However, when airlines don't have interline agreements with other carriers, you'll have to allow enough time to retrieve and recheck your own luggage.

The number of canceled flights recently fell to its lowest rate in at least a decade — a welcome change for air travelers, especially following COVID-19-era travel disruptions.

Still, flight cancellations will always be inevitable, especially during the busy summer travel season. Summer 2024 is shaping up to be especially busy. "It was the busiest March on record for air travel according to the TSA," explains Nastro. "It also had the tenth busiest day on record, which is pretty significant since it is not a 'peak period' and is generally considered off-season in the Northern Hemisphere. If this trend continues, we are likely in for the busiest summer on record when it comes to air travel."

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Luggage Trackers
  • Is a Travel Agent Worth It? The Pros and Cons
  • Can I Use My Own Airplane Seatbelt Extender?
  • How to Get Airport Wheelchair Assistance
  • The Top Cheap Weekend Getaways

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  • # 4 Bora Bora

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Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Travel Insurance in June 2024

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

Traveling is an adventure, a leap into the unknown, a story waiting to unfold. But every story needs a safety net, and that's where travel insurance comes in. In this guide to the best travel insurance, we'll embark on a journey to help you better understand travel insurance and uncover the benefits that make it an indispensable companion for any traveler.

Our Picks for the Best Travel Insurance Companies

Best overall: nationwide travel insurance.

  • Runner-Up: AXA Assistance USA
  • Best for Cruises: Travel Guard
  • Best Reputation:  C&F Travel Insured
  • Best for Pre-existing Conditions:   Tin Leg Travel Insurance
  • Best for Digital Nomads:   WorldTrips Travel Insurance
  • Best Low-Cost Option:   Trawick International Travel Insurance

Best for Road Trips: Travelex Travel Insurance

How we rate travel insurance »

Compare the Best Travel Insurance Companies

The best travel insurance companies offer comprehensive coverage options for a wide range of people and needs. For this guide, we looked at coverage options, customizability, and the best companies for specific situations, such as pre-existing conditions.

Here are Business Insider's picks for the best travel insurance companies in 2024. 

Nationwide Nationwide Travel Insurance

  • Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of trip costs (for cruises) or up to $30,000 (for single-trip plans)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Three cruise-specific plans to choose from
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Annual travel insurance plans available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Strong trip cancellation coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Cancel for any reason coverage available
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. CFAR insurance not available with every single plan
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage is lower than what some competitors offer

Nationwide Travel Insurance offers many of the standard benefits you might see with a travel insurance policy. This can include things like trip cancellation coverage, so you can recover pre-paid costs or trip interruption in the event your vacation is interrupted by an unexpected event. There's also baggage delay coverage and medical coverage.

  • Cancel for any reason coverage available

Nationwide Travel Insurance is of the largest players in the travel insurance space, offering nearly endless options for any customer on the travel spectrum, including annual travel insurance plans which can offer frequent travelers the flexibility to "set it and forget it" on their travel insurance coverage.

Nationwide Essential also offers some of the most affordable policies in the market compared to similar plans from competitors, which makes it a great pick for just about anyone. Buyers can discuss bundling options as Nationwide also sells homeowners, auto, pet, and other insurance products. Its travel insurance quoting is just as easy as it has been with other Nationwide insurance products.

Read our Nationwide Travel Insurance review here.

Best Travel Insurance Runner-Up: AXA Assistance USA

AXA AXA Assistance USA

  • Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous medical evacuation coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1,500 per person coverage for missed connections on cruises and tours
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Covers loss of ski, sports and golf equipment
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous baggage delay, loss and trip delay coverage ceilings per person
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage only available for most expensive Platinum plan
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. CFAR coverage ceiling only reaches $50,000 maximum despite going up to 75%

AXA Assistance USA keeps travel insurance simple with gold, silver, and platinum plans. Emergency medical and CFAR are a couple of the options you can expect. Read on to learn more about AXA.

  • Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans available
  • Trip interruption coverage of up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Emergency medical coverage of up to $250,000

AXA Assistance USA  offers consumers a great option for no-stress travel insurance: low-priced plans, generous coverage limits on key categories including primary insurance on lost luggage, and up to 150% reimbursement for qualifying trip cancellations.

While add-ons are limited and rental car coverage is not included by default on cheaper plans, AXA is a perfect fit for travelers who don't plan to drive (or who already hold a travel credit card with rental car coverage), and don't need any additional bells and whistles.

Read our AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance review here.

Best for Cruises: AIG Travel Guard

AIG Travel Guard

Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of the trip cost and trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of the cost, for all three plan levels
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. CFAR covers up to 75% of total trip costs (maximum of $112,500 on some plans) 
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Medical coverage of up to $500,000 and evacuation of up to $1,000,000 per person
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Includes COVID coverage 
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Above average baggage loss and delay benefits
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. High medical evacuation coverage
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Premiums may run slightly higher than competitors

Travel Guard is a well-established and highly rated name in the travel insurance industry. It offers three main coverage options to choose from, and in general its policies have above-average coverage for baggage loss and baggage delays, plus high medical evaluation coverage limits.

  • Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Preexisting medical conditions exclusions waiver must be purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment
  • Annual travel insurance plan and Pack N' Go plan (for last-minute trips) available

Travel Guard is well-known insurance provider, and a great fit for travelers who want to ensure that they can get their money back in the event of canceled or interrupted travel plans.

While the company's policies can be pricey compared to its competitors, the high medical and evacuation limits make AIG a solid choice for older travelers who value peace of mind and simplicity over highly customizable plans that may be bolstered with medical upgrades.

Read our AIG Travel Guard review here.

Best for Reputation: C&F Travel Insured

C&F C&F Travel Insured

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers 2 major plans including CFAR coverage on the more expensive option
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Cancellation for job loss included as a covered reason for trip cancellation/interruption (does not require CFAR coverage to qualify)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Frequent traveler reward included in both policies
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage available
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage is only $100,000
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Reviews on claims processing indicate ongoing issues
  • C&F's Travel Insured policies allow travelers customize travel insurance to fit their specific needs. Frequent travelers may benefit from purchasing an annual travel insurance plan, then adding on CFAR coverage for any portions of travel that may incur greater risk.

While every travel insurance company has negative reviews about its claims process, C&F Travel Insured 's claims process has a consistent stream of positive reviews. One customer wrote that C&F processed a claim within 48 hours. Additionally, C&F regularly responds to customer reviews within one business week, making reviews a consistent way to reach the company.

Additionally, in C&F's fine print, it mentions that any claims that take more than 30 days to pay out will begin to accrue interest at 9% APY.

C&F's reputation isn't the only thing to speak highly of. It offers an array of add-ons uncommon in the travel insurance industry, such as Interruption for Any Reason insurance and CFAR coverage for annual plans. C&F also offers discounts for children on its Protector Edge plan and free coverage on its Protector plan.  

Read our C&F Travel Insured review here. 

Best for Pre-Existing Conditions: Tin Leg Travel Insurance

TinLeg Tin Leg Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Policy coverage includes most pre-existing health conditions
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous medical and evacuation amounts for peace of mind
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. COVID coverage included by default on all insurance plans
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers a wide range of plans for various budgets and travel needs
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Some plans offer CFAR, “cancel for work reasons,” financial default, and unemployment coverage
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Limited add-on coverage options
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Baggage loss and delay coverage is low compared to competitors

Tin Leg travel insurance offers eight travel insurance plans to meet the unique needs of travelers.

  • Tin Leg was founded in 2014 by the travel insurance industry experts at Squaremouth. Designed to meet the most common needs of travelers, these policies offer comprehensive Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefits, and a range of Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation limits.

Tin Leg Travel Insurance is a great fit for travelers with medical issues in particular. Seven of Tin Leg's eight travel plans include coverage for pre-existing conditions as long as you purchase your policy within 15 days of your initial trip payment.

Thanks to coverage for pre-existing medical conditions as well as for potential COVID-19 infection while traveling, this company offers some of the best financial investment options for travelers who are or will be exposed to higher health risks and issues.

Read our Tin Leg Travel Insurance review here.

Best for Digital Nomads: WorldTrips Travel Insurance

WorldTrips WorldTrips Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Affordable base plans that can be customized with add-ons including rental car, pet care, hunting and fishing, and vacation rental coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Insurance plans available for international student travelers
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip delay coverage benefit that kicks in after just five hours
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Pre-existing conditions waiver can be purchased within 21 days of initial trip payment
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Lower medical, evacuation and accidental death limits
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Limited, secondary baggage loss coverage although baggage protection can be upgraded at a low cost
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No special coverages for pets, sports equipment, etc.

WorldTrips has been a reputable travel insurance provider for more than 20 years. Unsurprisingly, it boasts an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and positive reviews from thousands of customers.

  • Travel medical insurance (Premium, Group, Annual, and International Student options)
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Trip protection insurance

WorldTrips Travel Insurance has affordable premiums, highly customizable add-ons, and generous coverage for core categories of travel insurance. All this makes it a great option for digital nomads, students studying abroad and backpackers.

However, travelers should keep in mind that plans are not particularly flexible, and coverage amounts are limited unless you plan ahead to pay for the areas and amounts that you need.

Read our WorldTrips Travel Insurance review here.

Best for Affordability: Trawick International Travel Insurance

Trawick Trawick International Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Useful for adventurous travelers headed to higher-risk destinations
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Affordable plans with varying levels of coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. 10-day free look option
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous baggage loss replacement policy
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip delay coverage kicks in after just six hours
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Some policies allow a CFAR add-on
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1 million medical evacuation coverage limit
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Baggage and trip delay coverages don’t kick in until after the 12-hour mark
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. International student policies available for temporary stints abroad
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Complaints about claims not being paid or involving an intermediary to resolve claims

Trawick International travel insurance offers plans customized to diverse travelers' needs. We look at coverage options, claims processing, pricing, and other important factors for savvy travelers.

  • Travel medical insurance
  • Trip protection and cancellation
  • International student insurance
  • Visitor medical insurance (for traveling to the US)

Trawick International Travel Insurance is another insurance provider with robust medical travel insurance  that can help higher-risk and anxious travelers find peace of mind while on the road. This company offers one of the most generous medical evacuation policies in the market, although travelers will need to remember to add on rental car coverage if they need it.

Read our Trawick Travel Insurance review here.

Travelex Travelex Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Options to cover sports equipment
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Option to increase medical coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Can cancel up to 48 hours before travel when CFAR option is purchased
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Affordable coverage for budget-conscious travelers
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Includes generous baggage delay, loss and trip delay coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Optional "adventure sports" bundle available for riskier activities
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Only two insurance plans to choose from
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage maximum is low at up to $50,000 per person
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Pricier than some competitors with lower coverage ceilings
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Some competitors offer higher medical emergency coverage

Travelex travel insurance is one of the largest travel insurance providers in the US providing domestic and international coverage options. It offers a basic, select, and America option. Read on to learn more.

  • Optional CFAR insurance available with the Travel Select plan
  • Trip delay insurance starting at $500 with the Travel Basic plan
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage starting at $15,000

Travelex Travel Insurance  offers three plans:

  • Travel Basic
  • Travel Select
  • Travel America

The Travelex America plan is meant for trips limited to the U.S., but it has the highest coverage limits in many areas compared to its other programs. If you're flying somewhere, the lost baggage limits are higher. Its natural strengths shine for road trippers, though. Travelex America adds coverage for roadside service and rental car coverage for unexpected accidents. It also covers pets should you be involved in an accident while on the road.

While your standard auto insurance does extend to car rentals within the U.S. for a limited time, any accident would affect future rates. Travelex would eliminate the risk of reporting to your auto insurance provider for minor incidents within its purview.

Read our Travelex Travel Insurance review here.

Introduction to Travel Insurance

Why travel insurance is a must-have.

The unpredictable nature of traveling – from flight cancellations to medical emergencies – can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. Travel insurance acts as a personal safeguard, ensuring that unexpected events don't drain your wallet or ruin your trip.

Understanding Different Types of Travel Insurance

Not all travel insurance policies are created equal. From single-trip travel insurance policies to annual travel insurance plans , from minimal coverage to comprehensive protection, understanding the spectrum of options is your first step in finding the right fit for your journey.

Key Features to Look for in Travel Insurance Coverage

Travel insurance for medical emergencies.

Imagine falling ill in a foreign country; daunting, right? A robust travel insurance plan ensures you don't have to worry about how much emergency medical care while traveling will cost, even in the most remote corners of the globe. This coverage will often come in tandem with emergency medical evacuation coverage.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Benefits

Life is full of surprises, some less pleasant than others. Trip cancellation and interruption coverage ensures that you're not left out of pocket if unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel or cut your trip short. You may also look for cancel for any reason and interruption for any reason options, which will reimburse you for a percentage of your nonrefundable fees, but expands the covered reasons you can cancel a trip. You can find our guide on the best CFAR travel insurance companies here.

Coverage for Personal Belongings and Baggage Loss

Losing your belongings is more than an inconvenience; it's losing a piece of your world. Insurance that covers personal belongings and baggage loss ensures that you're compensated for your loss, helping you to rebound and continue your adventure.

Support and Assistance Services

In times of trouble, having a lifeline can make all the difference. Look for insurance that offers 24/7 support and assistance services, giving you peace of mind that help is just a phone call away. Also, check websites that field customer reviews like Trustpilot, the Better Business Bureau, and InsureMyTrip , to see how well a company responds to customer requests.

Choosing the Best Travel Insurance

Reputation and reliability of the travel insurance provider.

A provider's reputation is not just about being well-known; it's about reliability, customer satisfaction, and the ability to deliver on promises. Researching and choosing a reputable provider is a cornerstone in ensuring your safety and satisfaction.

Understanding the Policy's Fine Print

The devil is in the details, and understanding the fine print of what your travel insurance policy covers is crucial. Be aware of coverage limits, exclusions, and the process for filing a claim to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Customer Reviews and Feedback

In the age of information, customer reviews and feedback are goldmines of insight. Learn from the experiences of others to gauge the reliability and customer service of the insurance provider you're considering. While the ratings are important, you should also look at whether or not a company responds to customer complaints.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Insurance

Knowing your policy inside out.

Familiarize yourself with every aspect of your policy – what it covers, what it doesn't, how to file a claim, and who to contact in an emergency. Being informed means being prepared. 

Steps to Take When a Problem Arises

If you face an issue during your travels, knowing the immediate steps to take can make all the difference. Keep important contacts and your policy details handy, and remember, your insurance provider is there to assist you.

How to Pick the Best Travel Insurance Company for You

There isn't a one-size-fits-all policy that works perfectly for every traveler. Young, healthy solo travelers can opt for much cheaper plans that offer bare-bones coverage, while families juggling complex itineraries will do best by investing in a robust policy that can help defray any costs associated with lost baggage, delayed transportation or other trip-impeding obstacles.

That being said, you can't go wrong with a travel insurance provider that boasts a reputable history and offers a wide range of customizable plans. In some cases, you may be comparing plans that are only a few dollars' apart from each other. In such situations, you should generally opt for the insurance company that offers the strongest customer service. It's also worth considering whether or not the travel insurance provider has been reviewed by other travelers with similar itineraries to your own. 

An insurance aggregator like InsureMyTrip or Squaremouth is one of the best tools for searching travel insurance policies. Once you input the specifics of your travel itinerary, you'll be able to see hundreds of search results to compare the ones that catch your eye. If the options are too overwhelming, use the filters to the left of your search page to eliminate as many irrelevant plans as possible.

How We Reviewed the Best Travel Insurance Companies

To come up with our list of the best travel insurance companies, we evaluated each insurer based on the following factors:

Guide Methodology: What We Considered

Policy Types

Travel insurance is essential, but often underused partly because people aren't getting what they want. Business Insider's 2023 travel study showed 10.65% of travelers surveyed bought cancel for any reason insurance. Cost may be a factor, but in many cases, the coverage is more affordable than you might think. Regardless, companies must offer a diverse range of coverage options. We award five stars to companies offering all standard coverages and additional options like pet and sports equipment protection.

Our 2023 travel study indicated the majority of purchases were made through the travel provider (ex: flight protection insurance when you're purchasing your airline tickets). While these may be sufficient for some customers, we look for companies offering a more comprehensive range of services.

According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, the average cost of travel insurance will be between 4% and 8% of total travel expenses. Anything beyond that price point should include additional benefits beyond the standard inclusions, such as CFAR protection or upgraded medical coverage. Anything below that 4% threshold may leave you lacking important or sufficient coverage in an emergency.

Convenience and Flexibility

Whether you're an infrequent traveler or a suitcase warrior, a good travel insurance company should have you covered. In many cases, you might not even have to talk to a person in order to purchase your policy.

Many people think of travel insurance in context with specific trips, but most of these top contenders sell both single-trip and multi-trip policies, also known as annual travel insurance. Some companies also offer plans specifically designed for cruisers, students abroad, and business travelers. (Read our guide to the best cruise travel insurance companies for more details.) Finally, all of these providers offer multiple options for getting the specific areas and amounts of coverage that you want.

Claims Handling

Most travelers never have a large claim. Premiums are low, and it provides peace of mind for the just in case situations. So they leave reviews based on their reduced stress levels. But what happens if you lose your luggage or have to stay a few extra days due to an unexpected accident? Will your insurance carrier cover your claim without all the hassle? We check real customer reviews to sort this out for you.

Ease of Use and Support

When purchasing, during your trip, and throughout the claims process, you may need extra support. Does the company have a 24/7 help line? Does it have an online or mobile system allowing you to self-manage? Essentially, what are the options when you need help? We look at the big picture to evaluate the average customer experience with each company.

You can read our full insurance rating methodology for even more details.

Best Travel Insurance FAQs

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every traveler. Determine the benefits that are most important to you, like baggage delay coverage, medical coverage, and trip delay coverage, then look for a company with solid customer ratings, especially when it comes to processing claims.

Travel insurance will pay out if you experience a covered event, such as a travel delay or delayed or lost baggage. If you're looking to get travel insurance for a specific reason, such as needing to potentially cancel your trip due to work reasons, make sure your policy will cover you in that situation before purchasing it. You should also check customer reviews to see other travelers' claims experiences, as it varies wildly from company to company.

The average cost of travel insurance is 4% to 8% of your total trip cost, so it could vary widely depending on where you're traveling and the length of your trip. Your age, the number of people in your group, and other factors can also influence how much you'll pay.

Most comprehensive travel insurance policies include travel medical coverage that can come in handy if an emergency occurs and you need medical evacuation. Some travel insurance plans offer more specialized coverage for travelers with pre-existing conditions , so shop around if medical coverage is a top priority for you. 

$100,000 should be a sufficient medical coverage limit for travel insurance. If you're planning on doing extreme sports or anything particularly risky on your trip, you may want to increase your coverage level. A high medical coverage limit is especially useful when you're purchasing cruise travel insurance, since medical evacuations are more involved at sea.

how to talk travel agent

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

**Enrollment required.

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