There seems to be a fair bit of confusion around the Internet about what exactly a travel consultant does and how her duties differ from those of a travel agent.
Truth be told, it is a reasonable question.
L.A. Times Travel Editor Catharine Hamm covered this last year but it also has a lot to do with business model and area of expertise.
Still, in today’s Internet age, travel consultants aren’t for everyone. If you are wondering if you should hire a travel consultant, here are five questions you should ask yourself.
1. Am I traveling to a well-known destination?
If the country or region you plan to visit is well-known, then you will likely be able to find guide books, blogs and websites that can help you plan your itinerary. Maybe you have friends or family members who have visited or you have read about the area in newspapers or magazines. If you are traveling to a very well known region, you might not need a consultant.
2. Is the destination too well-known?
On the other hand, if you are visiting an overly touristy country, your risks are equally as high. More tourists mean more tourist trap hotels, restaurants and one-size-fits-all tours. And that’s not good, either. An expert travel consultant can steer you from the crowds or recommend less-traffic areas for your vacation.
3. How much time do I have before my trip?
Time is money and if you are spending all of your time in the office, you likely don’t have the time-or energy- to properly research your trip. If you have less time than money, then it’s a no-brainer-as a travel consultant will save you both. Hire an expert.
4. How much time do I have on my trip?
While it is true you always want to maximize your time during a vacation, if you are planning an international trip and only have a week or two, you can’t afford to waste precious vacation time. A travel consultant will tell you which trains to take, where to rent a car and which days are better spent for various activities on your itinerary.
5. Do I speak the language or will the locals speak mine?
If you are traveling to a less-touristy area where they don’t speak English a travel consultant will be able to help you secure your hotel bookings and reservations. If you speak the language or can find a hotel or B&B that speaks several languages, you are in luck.
There are many benefits to hiring a travel consultant that I didn’t list in this post-these five questions are listed to help you decide if a travel consultant is right for you. If you are traveling to southern Italy or Calabria and are considering hiring a travel consultant, click here to see how I can help you plan your itinerary.
Until next time … Buon Viaggio.