Travel Agency Fresno

We are a full-service travel agency that focuses on Customer Service. Our business travelers appreciate our attention to detail when issuing tickets and dealing with airline, hotel and car programs. We are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, after hours by appointment.

ALTOUR is the largest Travel Agency in Central California with offices in Visalia and Fresno. Our award winning agents have an average of 25+ years in the travel industry and we are justifiably proud of their expertise and experience in the field of travel.
We specialize in individual, group and multi-generational travel working with the best Cruise and Tour companies. We will customize your vacation requests to meet your family’s needs. We pride ourselves in finding the unusual, like finding a private island in the Caribbean for a once in a lifetime honeymoon to renting a turn-of-the-century historical estate in Ireland for a family reunion to doing community service in far off lands.

Hilda was very kind and patient with all our questions, requests, and concerns. She answered my concerns about this virus. She was very good about printing all the needed forms for my traveling buddy who doesn’t have a printer. She was a joy to work with and we would do it again.
The ship was amazing, and also everything that went along with it~crew, ports, excursions, food (on and off ship). It was magical every night when the sails went up! We had a blast -aside from a day of motion sickness for Michelle and Mary on the day we were at sea. Thanks also for bottle of wine! The hotel in Athens was perfect. It was a great spot to get acclimated, and with a stunning view of the Acropolis!…. It truly was a Mamma Mia experience! The only Greek word we learned was “Efcharisto” (THANK YOU)! ….~EFCHARISTO!!Register to a once in a lifetime vacation from The Travel Shoppe. Entering is easy, only taking a few seconds, and can lead to a vacation of a lifetime!Send us a note with what you’re looking for in a vacation, with as much detail as you can, and we’ll research your best options and get right back to you.

We know you seek first-rate offers. Not only do we have access to the best prices, but when you plan your vacation with us you’ll instantly receive added perks like a free massage at your hotel, after-hours access to museums and sites around the world during your group tour, exclusive savings for children and shipboard credits for your cruise. We had a wonderful trip! The tour was really first class in all ways. We stayed at gorgeous hotels and had the best of everything, including German history and the most amazing guides in the business…. Everything went smoothly and we loved it! A full service travel agency located in Fresno California. Travel Shoppe has a commitment to the highest level of service as evidenced by our growth. As an independently owned and operated travel management company, we have access to complete, worldwide travel management resources.

Is it expensive to use a travel agent?
How much does a travel agent cost? The cost of using a travel agent is generally marginal, and often, they won’t charge you at all. Much of their money comes from commissions the hotels and wholesalers pay them. Before you decide to book with a travel agent, inquire whether or not they charge fees.
We had an absolutely incredible time. Undoubtably the best vacation we have had. Incredible scenery, great people, lots of fun. No issues at all. Thanks so much for your help. It is greatly appreciated. We will stay in touch. Already discussing plans for next year.

Travel is our passion and we want to share that with you. Let us help create your ideal vacation enhanced with exclusive benefits. From complimentary meals and valuable upgrades to expert guides and behind-the scenes access, we’ll handle all the details for you each step of the way.
First, let’s take a look at online travel agencies for leisure travel. These are websites used by the everyday user to book their next big holiday or family vacation—whether that’s to New York or the Caribbean.You can also use one account for all your different travel planning, saving the hassle of entering details over and over again. Remember: a good OTA is an intuitive OTA—you want to be able to easily navigate your options without the need for constant support.If the airlines and hotels are the sheep, OTAs are the shepherd—they gather and present all the necessary details for consumers to make a travel decision.Another benefit to booking through an online travel agency is the review system, whereby users leave ratings and written reviews for future customers. The option to leave a review is usually only available after a user has booked a service, so they’re a reliable source of feedback.

Who pays when you use a travel agent?
The travel agent makes the booking and is credited with the booking via their accreditation number. The commission is paid to the travel agent. For most trips, the vendor pays a commission to the travel agent after the client has traveled.
SAP Concur is a great tool for organizations looking for a traditional approach to business travel. However, it requires patience–the platform takes 6-8 weeks to implement and user onboarding in order to make the most of it. Plus, some users report that the UI is outdated, making it a less enjoyable experience for business travelers.

Is it cheaper to book online or through a travel agent?
Contrary to popular belief, booking through a travel agent won’t necessarily cost you more than booking online. While some travel agents charge a nominal fee for planning your trip, many agencies don’t charge anything extra, instead earning commission off the airline, hotel, or tour they book for you.
Hotwire is another long-standing online travel agency—it’s been around since 2000. It’s known for its ‘secret deals’, in which travelers get a great deal on a trip they know very little about. It requires some flexibility, but it’s a great way for adventurous types to travel on a small budget.

See our platform in action. Trusted by thousands of companies worldwide, TravelPerk makes business travel simpler to manage with more flexibility, full control of spending with easy reporting, and options to offset your carbon footprint.

Is it better to use a travel agent or do it yourself?
However, using a travel agent still has some unique benefits. Travel agents can find you exclusive fares, offer specialist expertise, and help you plan and coordinate your trip. Even today, many people seek them out for a more personalized travel experience.
Online travel agencies can be used by the general public for leisure travel, and by organizations for business travel. The platforms differ in what they offer, but the premise remains the same: to facilitate travel and its associated admin and costs.TravelPerk gives employees access to the information and the security they need to travel with peace of mind. It gives organizations and travel managers access to the best corporate travel rates that you won’t find on the market.MyCWT is CWT’s corporate travel management solution. Its dedicated industry and country specialists ensure your employees are well looked after wherever they are. There’s plenty of money to be made in the travel industry—meaning travelers have a wide variety of travel tools and solutions to make their trips simpler and easier. Lots of online travel agencies offer reward systems, such as and Expedia. These offer frequent users access to special deals and discounts—much like the rewards programs you get with an airline or hotel.Thes benefits are why OTAs are so popular with travelers worldwide, and why you want to consider finding the one that works best for you. Here’re the details you need to have in mind before considering the corporate travel services of an online travel agency:

Skyscanner is trusted by millions of people to find the best deals with the most flexibility. It essentially gathers all the offers from every OTA to present customers with the best deals available.
Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure; from Hawaii or Peru or wherever business or your fancy takes you—we hope these tools help you find the best deal available. The convenience of OTAs is unmatched, it’s up to you to make the most of your travel options. TravelPerk makes managing business travel a lot simpler for admins and travel managers. Offering an all-in-one platform to book travel, stay in control of spending with simple reporting tools and integrated travel policies, plus 24/7 customer support from a real human. is an innovative OTA—perfect for city-hoppers and the travel-hungry. Be wary, though—some reviews claim that cancellation is tricky and customer service can be unreliable.First, let’s separate our top ten online travel agencies into leisure travel and business travel solutions. They offer different solutions to different customers so there’s little point in grouping them together. Here’s who we’ll cover: specializes in finding flight-and-hotel packages and all-inclusive vacation packages at great prices for last-minute travelers. If you’re brave enough to play chicken, is where you’ll find the golden egg of travel experiences.
Expedia has been providing travelers with access to flights, hotels, and cars since the nineties–and they’re still a strong contender today. In fact, they’re the biggest travel agency in the world., trivago, Travelocity—they’re all owned by Expedia, so you know you’re unlikely to find a better deal is the new OTA on the block—and it’s doing things differently. is an aggregator site that finds the best multi-city deals available and covers you in the case you’re unable to make a connecting flight.

Travel’s back–and it’s better than ever. A turbulent couple of years for international travel has allowed the industry to bounce back with new and improved processes for helping you get from A to B.Again, some platforms—mainly aggregator sites—will send you to a third-party website for booking. This means you’ll need to liaise directly with the third-party for any changes. is one of the top three travel companies in Europe, where geographic proximity makes city-hopping a popular choice. This OTA is a mix of what we’ve seen before—hotel bookings are made through an OTA, and flights are booked through an aggregator site. Take note: not all OTA’s have their own cancellation and changes policy—some, like Skyscanner, take you to the vendors website to confirm your ticket. This then means your subject to the vendor’s cancellation and changes policy, which may not be all that flexible.This is a great OTA for travelers who prefer to leave things to the last minute in pursuit of the best deal. You’re sure to find it here, plus a wide selection of other flight and hotel deals.

OTAs personalize things like measurements and currencies to improve the individual user’s experience. Consequently, independently run establishments that may not have the resources to adapt their website internationally are unable to compete.
This means the customers can request the operators for changes and work on an itinerary that best matches the needs of the travelers. Furthermore, their customer care team acts as a bridge between prospective travelers and tour operators.That’s a wrap on the ten best travel agencies to help you secure the best online bookings. Please make your way to the nearest exit and make sure to enjoy the rest of your trip.

SAP Concur has been around for years—since 1993—and is trusted by many businesses to provide comprehensive business travel solutions. Its technology is self-owned and managed, meaning there’s no back and forth with third parties for changes or updates.
We’ve compiled the top ten best online travel agencies to help you make the most of your next trip. Whether you’re traveling for leisure or for business, we’ve got you covered.MyCWT is a great solution for companies with a bigger budget and big corporate travel needs. They do, however, use third-party software to deliver deals to business travelers and organizations—meaning updates and changes to the software can take time. There’s lots of back and forth that slows down progress and platform development.This platform is more than just an OTA, it’s a comprehensive corporate travel management tool that helps your team book, manage, and report on business travel. TravelPerk ensures employees are traveling stress-free on the cheapest flights available, at no sacrifice to experience.

TravelPerk is a modern solution for modern corporate travel. Its easy-to-use OTA is a refreshing change from the clunky UI often associated with business travel. TravelPerk enables you to make flexible bookings for employees, and even offers the option to offset your carbon footprint.
OTAs work by providing a streamlined approach to all things travel. It involves the customer accessing a website or platform on which they’re offered a wide variety of travel options from a number of different travel and accommodation providers.The main advantage of using an OTA is that you can quickly and easily compare the prices of accommodation, flights, and more. Most have search filters and comparison tools so you can target your search and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Bookmundi is a fast-growing travel booking platform with tours to an excess of 130 countries around the world. They provide travel solutions to customers based on their accommodation preference, budget, preferred duration, and an option to customize preferred tours.
Skyscanner is an aggregator site—it uses a metasearch engine to compare prices from all OTAs, airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. Skyscanner often finds the best prices and helps travelers make big savings on flights and accommodation.Examples of online travel agencies include Expedia,, and Agoda. Some OTAs—such as—specialize in one single service. Others—like Skyscanner—do it all.Find hundreds of resources on all things business travel, from tips on traveling more sustainably, to advice on setting up a business travel policy, and managing your expenses. Our latest e-books and blog posts have you covered.

What are the disadvantages of using a travel agent?
You’re Not The One Planning Your Travel. While not planning your travel is a pro to some, for other travelers, it’s a major con. … You Add Another Person To The Equation. … You Actually Have To Find The Agent. … They’re Not Great For Spur-Of-The-Moment Changes.
To be featured on an online travel agency, hotels, airlines, and other service providers often must adhere to the OTA’s cancellation policy. All of the information is clearly laid out for the customer in an email or on the website upon booking, which makes it very user-friendly and customer-centric.

Hotels, airlines, and car hire companies pay online travel agencies to appear on their website. On the other hand, the advantage for the service provider is the added visibility that OTAs can provide.
Overall, is a comprehensive online travel agency with hotels and flights anywhere in the world. That being said, you’ll need to concentrate—it often gets criticized for its overwhelming UI.Once you make your decision, you’ll be taken from the Skyscanner website to the third party’s booking form to complete the booking process and secure the airfare.

An Online Travel Agency (OTA) is a website that sells services related to travel. It enables customers to make hotel and travel reservations from one single platform. They’re the digital equivalent of a travel agent.
Agoda is a fast-growing OTA that’s especially popular in Asia—and for good reason. The platform—which specializes in providing accommodation—employs Market Managers dedicated to ensuring the best deals for the markets Agoda serves. is the world’s largest accommodation booking website, and it also offers customers the chance to book their travel and car rental, too. It enables travelers to explore different accommodation types, destinations, and deals. It’s a comprehensive OTA for the everyday traveler.Your travelers might love the convenience of consumer booking sites, but relying on these sites can cause a lot of confusion. You’ll have to manage everyone’s bookings individually, and there’s no way to make sure everyone books within company policy.

Travelers will have access to the world’s largest travel booking inventory, and can make all their bookings themselves. They’ll only be able to book within policy, so there’s no need to worry about enforcement. Your company will have access to exclusive deals and discounts, and travelers can access our seven-star customer support at any time, getting a response within 15 seconds.Today, travelers are more likely to start their trip planning process by researching destinations online, and then head to an online travel aggregator to make the bookings themselves. A recent survey has shown that 41% of travelers now prefer using online travel agencies or aggregators to book hotels, with a further 29% booking direct, and just 29% using a traditional travel agent.

The answer depends on your main travel needs and goals. Some people prefer to have more control over their travel plans, while others prefer to have a trusted partner take over the work. But did you know there’s a way to get the best of both worlds?

With a travel management platform like TravelPerk, you’ll get the autonomy and fare options you’d find on a consumer site, combined with the personalized service and money-saving deals that a travel agency would provide—all in one place.Using a travel agent has many perks, but there’s a reason so many people are switching to self-booking—there are some things a travel agent just can’t provide. Here are some of the cons you’ll find with travel agencies:

So which option is really better: using a travel agent, or booking your own trip? Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each booking method.However, using a travel agent still has some unique benefits. Travel agents can find you exclusive fares, offer specialist expertise, and help you plan and coordinate your trip. Even today, many people seek them out for a more personalized travel experience.

Travel management platforms are designed for frequent travelers who’ve “outgrown” the DIY tools on consumer travel websites, but still want a modern, convenient solution. Many of these platforms are geared towards business travelers and travel managers at companies.
On the other hand, travel agencies understand your needs, and can offer a personal touch. But they often use out-of-date technology, have limited fare options, and don’t offer 24/7 support.A few decades ago, if people wanted to book a trip, they’d wander down to their local travel agent’s office. After brainstorming some ideas and perhaps having a look through the travel agent’s catalogs, the travelers would express their preferences to the agent, who’d organize hotel and transport bookings for them. If you’re a travel manager, you’re probably familiar with all the challenges of booking business travel: managing expense reports, arranging VAT refunds, trying to meet your corporate sustainability goals… all while staying within budget. Clearly, there are many perks to using a travel agent, but there are also some seriously convincing arguments for self-booking on a consumer travel site (like, Expedia, or Airbnb). So which option should you choose?Even though I am an independent traveler, I find group tours super fun, a great way to meet people, learn more from an informed guide, go to places you normally can’t, and wet your feet in travel. My first trip overseas was on an organized tour. I didn’t know the first thing about travel and that tour gave me the confidence to travel on my own. It was the taste test I needed to become hooked on travel. Tours give a lot of people time to adjust to the “travel lifestyle.” Moreover, make sure you ask if there are added fees to pay when arrive. Many companies require you to pay additional money when the tour starts or don’t include park or attraction entrance fees. That cheap tour won’t be so cheap if you have to pay for everything while you’re there! Guides can make or break your trip. They are going to explain everything to you and keep the flow of the tour going. I don’t want them hiring some young kid, non-expert, or someone who doesn’t know the place well. I’ve been on tours where the guide was a walking encyclopedia, and on somewhere the guide was a glorified timekeeper. Is the tour geared toward older couples? Young people? Families? You don’t want to end up on a loud Contiki tour full of drunk twenty-year-olds when all you want is a quiet holiday. Make sure the company follows all the proper safety requirements and is accredited by the local government, the government where they are registered, and any other appropriate trade organizations.These days tour groups have become more adept at the changing landscape. They feature smaller groups, more authentic experiences, a better environmental impact, and more local guides.

Remember that MOST people only write a review if something goes wrong. Someone might give a tour company one star just because their eggs were runny. Find the average. Someone might hate a tour because the weather was hot. Seriously. These are actual negative reviews from the tour operator company, Thomas Cook:
In this article, I am going to tell you how to find the best tour company so you get one that is inexpensive, eco-friendly, provides local guides, and gives back to the local community:You’re paying for them to fill most of your day. How do they do that? Are they doing that? Do they have a lot of activities organized, or do they leave you to your own devices?

These itineraries were crafted by me and use my local connections around the world to introduce you to friends and favorite tour guides, destinations, experiences, and restaurants so you get a sense of what it is really like to live in each destination.
Make sure the company uses knowledgeable, local guides. The guide should be a local or at least a long-term resident, know the local language, have travel experience, and know life-saving techniques.Unlike in the past, today’s tours are eco-friendly, cater to all travel styles, over cheap, and make a point to use local transportation and guides. And many destinations (like Halong Bay, the Galápagos Islands, the Serengeti, Machu Picchu, Antarctica, Everest) are virtually inaccessible without an organized group tour!

Tour companies that have smaller groups tend to be much more mindful of the environment and the impact they are leaving. It’s a lot easier to meet people in a group of 10-15 than it is in a group of 60. I don’t like to go on tours with more than 15 people on them. However, I have friends who love Contiki tours with 40-50 people. Know what you are getting yourself into, so you don’t find yourself with a group too small or too large for your tastes.You can also tell the audience based on accommodation: if it’s hostels or guesthouses, it’s usually for backpackers and budget travelers; if it’s fancy digs, it’s for older travelers and families.With tour companies, it’s not always true that you get what you pay for. Many tour companies nickel-and-dime you, while some are really good at maximizing value for your every penny. Ask how your money is spent to find out if you are really getting the best value for your money. How much of your fee is their overhead? Are you paying for top-notch hotels but staying in two-star guesthouses? You want a company that is transparent with why prices are the way they are.TNN takes you way beyond the typical tourist traps. You’ll get to do bucket-list-worthy activities, have meals in locals’ homes, and see hidden, out-of-the-way spots not normally found on other group trips. There’s a tour company for everyone — just make sure you don’t end up on one that isn’t yours. Most tour companies list their guest demographics on their “About” page, and you can usually see from the photos of their tours who goes on it. I love tours. They are a great way to meet people, get a local to add value and knowledge, and see places you can’t get to alone! I don’t take them often but I do take them. And, since I follow the above rules, I always have a good time. Some of my favorite travel memories were when I was on a group trip. If you follow my tips above, you’ll never go wrong either.“When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

That said, you don’t want a schedule that is crammed with things to do. Make sure you get a schedule of all the activities and pick a tour that is balanced. Running around will leave you wishing you had a holiday from your holiday, but you don’t want to be sitting around all day, either.
Just remember larger groups tend to stay at bigger, more impersonal accommodations (they can only accommodate the numbers), eat at more touristy restaurants, and tend to travel to more destinations quicker.

How do I choose a travel company?
8 Ways to Choose the Perfect Tour CompanyResearch the costs. With tour companies, it’s not always true that you get what you pay for. … Make sure you are the audience. … Get local guides. … A balanced schedule. … Environmental impact. … Group size. … Check their reputation. … My Recommended (Best) Tour Companies.
How have other travelers enjoyed their time? Look for online reviews to see what a company’s reputation is. It might not always be what they claim, and it’s important to find out the truth before you book.I love taking small group tours because they generally have a good balance. Any tour that requires you to be on a huge bus and hits 6 cities in 5 days is not a tour to take!

I think it’s important to pick a company that provides great value and gives back to the place you are visiting. After all, did you go there to ruin it for others? Doubtful.
Check with groups like the International Ecotourism Society for a list of companies that have been certified “eco-friendly.” With so much money pouring into the industry now, you have a lot of companies fraudulently saying they practice ecotourism but end up being involved in terrible labor practices, animal abuse, and waste.

This is very important because these are the people you’ll be traveling with so you want to make sure it’s the kind of people you are traveling with. I’m still friends with the people from my first tour in 2003 because they were people like me. The tour in Japan that was filled with older families? Not so much. We didn’t have much in common. Wonderful people but we didn’t connect.
There’s a growing trend among travelers called ecotourism. It’s about more responsible travel, not only toward the environment but also toward the locals in an area. This means using local guides, hotels, and services, and making sure to reduce waste and your footprint on the local habitat.“We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”

We work with busy time-starved couples, families and groups who don’t want to spend hours frustrated by online research and reviews without knowing who or what to trust. We save you hours of time and stress and provide the best advice and value for your vacation budget. We match your travel dreams to the right destination, resort, or cruise line. Our Fresno Travel Agency serves clients in California and across the country. We work via phone, email, Zoom, FB Messenger or in person within Central CA.
Our travel experts in Fresno, CA design vacation & cruise experiences all over the world. We are experts in travel to Hawaii, Tahiti, Mexico, the Caribbean and Western Europe because we travel extensively throughout these areas to have first-hand knowledge and experience hotels and activities. Our clients get expert advice, convenient payment plans, and 24/7 assistance while traveling.

Do you think the online travel sites always give you the best options and prices? Is using a travel advisor more expensive than booking yourself? (Answer to both -NO!) For the best value and advice, contact your Fresno Travel Agent, Kristi EmoWe start with a detailed consultation to learn about your travel dreams. We ask lots of questions to get to know what is important to you. Then like Travel Match Makers, we take what we learn about you and what we know about destinations, resorts or cruise lines and create custom vacation itineraries. We include complete packages with tours and activities, destination information and insider tips. We offer advice that isn’t biased by any resort or cruise line as we work for you! We are available to our clients before & most importantly during their vacations! The thought of using a travel agent to book your travel, versus doing it yourself, has given some travelers pause. After all, what’s to say that you won’t end up in a Thomas Cook-type situation where you’re left stranded after your travel agency collapses? But for some, this risk of trusting someone else to plan all your travel is a minimal worry when they can avoid all the stress of travel planning. An airline or a hotel brand might not care that you rebook. There will always be another traveler in line to take your place. However, with agents, they often have a limited number of clients. They want to earn your repeat business.

Do people still use travel agents?
National Geographic looks into whether or not people still use travel advisors, and the answer is a resounding yes!
For the first few decades of my life, my exposure to the world outside of Massachusetts was limited, sparking a desire to experience life beyond New England. This longing brought me overseas, leading me to live in Nanjing, Singapore, The Hague, Bogotá, and Hawaiʻi Island before making the move back to the Bay State (for now). My goal today is to seek out compelling travel tales, all while highlighting the local citizens that make these experiences possible. There is no destination too remote, too undeveloped, or too inhospitable, I believe every corner of our earth has something valuable to offer to travelers. Alongside travel, I’m fascinated by geopolitics, world history, and natural history, and I often work to incorporate these subjects into my writing.On a more dire scale, travel agents can also help you in the instance of a natural disaster or some other type of event that would require you to evacuate a destination quickly.

While not planning your travel is a pro to some, for other travelers, it’s a major con. Some travelers thoroughly enjoy the planning part of the travel experience. Everything from reading travel blogs, searching for inspirational destination photos on Pinterest and flipping through guidebooks can be an exciting part of the process.
I’m a travel and lifestyle authority and a content strategist. In this column, \”Transformative Travel,\” I look at how travel can change lives. I profile the doers and the disrupters and cover the trends and the destinations that appeal to modern travelers. I have been writing about travel since the early days of my career, when I started off as a honeymoon editor, even though—ironically—I was single at the time. Since then, I have written for a number of publications, including Food & Wine, Wallpaper and The New York Times. I have been the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Travel, which was named the top online travel magazine under my leadership. Before that, I was deputy editor of Travel & Leisure. Throughout my career, I have appeared regularly on television, including Good Morning America and NBC Today. Journalism is part of my heritage: My great great grandfather was a Civil War correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Follow me on Twitter (@laurabegley) and Instagram (@laurabegleybloom).If you’re traveling somewhere that’s entirely brand new and completely foreign, having a travel agent can make things easier. They can recommend the best places to go, stay, eat and play, and often they have first-hand experiences with these places. This way, you’re not relying on internet research or a potentially out-of-date guidebook.

Angelina Villa-Clarke has been a travel journalist for the past 20 years, writing on new destinations, luxury hotels and travel trends. Read more on her blog at \r\n\r\n
Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture at Forbes, and writes the newsletter Fresh Take. Her book Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat published on Dec. 6th, 2022 with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. Since joining Forbes in 2015, Chloe has reported at In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, drought-ridden farms in California’s Central Valley, burnt-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, a 100-year slaughterhouse business in Omaha, and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in Northern France.I’m a value maximizer always on the hunt for the next great deal. I specialize in rewards travel and travel products. I’ve earned and redeemed millions of rewards points over the last few years. I’ve created multiple consumer guides that inform readers about rewards redemption, travel maximizing and consumer value opportunities. Since starting my own rewards travel blog in 2011, my work has been featured on,,, Yahoo Finance, and

If you’re the type of traveler that really likes to just fly by the seat of your pants while you’re traveling, that’s not going to be so easy when you have a travel agent. See a cool restaurant that you suddenly want to try? Calling your agent, just for your agent to call the restaurant where you already have a reservation to get your reservation switched to this new restaurant, can be a pain.
With no travel agent involved, you can cancel your old reservation straight from your phone and walk right into the new restaurant. Or, just skip reservations altogether and go with the flow.I’ve been an award-winning travel writer and editor for 20 years – including several as a senior editor at ForbesLife – and I’ve written about nearly 800 luxury destinations and hotels in 104 countries (and counting). I know the difference between what’s merely expensive and what deserves its high price tag. I’m discerning but not jaded, and I appreciate the hard work that goes into crafting experiences as well as crafting luxury goods. (I’ve written about those, too.) I’ve shared that wisdom with readers of Forbes, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, Robb Report, Afar, National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Hemispheres, Brides, Modern Bride, Luxury SpaFinder, Well + Good, and other publications. In the name of lifestyle journalism, I’ve gotten a tattoo in Bora Bora, been bitten by a massage therapist, and flown small aircraft above three continents.

One nice thing about booking your travel experience yourself is that you can literally do it anytime, anywhere. When you have a travel agent, you have to consider someone else’s schedule.
Shopping for a travel agent is a little like shopping for any kind of assistant. You want to find the perfect one for you and your family. You want someone who preferably specializes in the type of travel you like, someone who makes you feel comfortable and someone with good references.

This one can go either way. Some travel agents can snag you great bundled deals on your travel. Other times, the cost of using a travel agent means you won’t actually save any money.If you decide you want to go to Bermuda at 2 p.m. on a Sunday and you want to book it right that second, your travel agent won’t be able to help you until Monday morning. If you’re booking things yourself, you can secure your travel plans right then and there. There’s no waiting around for a returned call or email.

To do so, you’ll find that agents will go out of their way to make sure you’re pleased with your experience. That might mean throwing in something for free or upgrading your experience.

What is the best agency in travel?
OTAs for leisure
One great thing that a travel agent can provide is advocacy. They’re always on your side. If an airline cancels your flight or a hotel suddenly doesn’t have your reservation on file, your travel agent can help things get sorted, fast. Though, this doesn’t really help when they also own the hotel or airline, as was the case with Thomas Cook.

Geoff Whitmore is a value maximizer always on the hunt for the next great deal. He has created multiple consumer guides about rewards redemption, travel hacking, and consumer value opportunities.
I am a journalist based in Venice and originally from Scotland. I have been writing about my adopted country since I moved here five years ago after completing a degree in History of Art from Cambridge University.For some people using a travel agent, it’s all about the convenience. You tell your agent where you want to go and what kind of travel you like, sit back and relax and then hop on a plane. Easy. This kind of shopping around for the perfect travel agent takes time and patience, something you may not have. And, even if you do find a travel agent you think you like, you could always get burned in the end. Growing up in one of those beach towns between San Diego and LA, I was a weird kid. While my brother surfed, I collected maps and spent hours poring over them on the living room floor, wondering what those strange places and foreign peoples were like. A year after college, I quit my job as a sports magazine editor, sold my Ford Pinto, drained my bank account, and bought a one-way ticket to South Africa. That was the start of 13 years overseas as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, freelance journalist, and sometimes novelist in Johannesburg, London, Hong Kong, and Singapore. One of those novels got optioned as a movie (that never got made) and an invitation to write for a TV production company in Hollywood. But I longed to hit the road again. And it was National Geographic that gave me that chance, a book about traveling the Pan American Highway from Texas to Argentina. While I’ll basically write about anything that involves travel, I’m especially keen on wide open spaces, road trips, and wandering aimlessly through new cities. I spend half of my life in hotels. I know the difference between true luxury travel and what’s merely overblown and expensive. Follow me on Instagram: @abeltotravel That’s why costs vary from agent to agent. Some travel agents don’t charge you anything for their services, instead getting commission from the flights, accommodation, and tours you book. Flight commissions have been dropping steadily for some years, so if you’re just booking flights with an agent, they may charge a fee, but may waive it if you’re also booking your hotel, cruise, or activities with them. At the same time, in most cases, you can access the same flights and accommodation as a travel agent. Some airlines, hotels, and online booking services also often offer price matching to a rate you find elsewhere and lowest price guarantees. Travel agents have relationships with providers that they can use to leverage better deals for their customers. That’s why if you have a complex itinerary and a big budget (or if you’re celebrating a special event) where you’re looking to splurge on flights, accommodation, and things to do, then travel agents can sometimes offer package deals that pass on more savings to you than if you had booked all the separate components yourself.

How do I trust a travel agent?
One of the best and most reliable ways to decide on a travel agent is their reputation. Word of mouth is still a good way to find out about a travel agent. Personal recommendations from friends and family are a good source. But you can also look at what other people think about them online.
Whether you’re booking online or through an agent, check the fine print to see what you’ll be charged. Airlines will typically charge you to change or cancel flights (unless it’s COVID-19 related and you have travel insurance that covers this cost), but some providers, such as certain hostels, let you cancel up to a day before your stay.If parts of your trip are up in the air, then booking yourself will probably let you pocket more savings. If you book with a travel agent and there’s a change of plans, you may also have to pay a cancellation fee to the travel agent, on top of paying to change or cancel a flight. These fees – if any – sometimes follow a sliding scale, depending on the trip.

However, if you’re enlisting the help of a travel agent to plan a complex trip that requires extensive planning, they may charge a service fee. Some travel agents, however, may not charge a service fee for taking care of big bookings, because they’ll have a reasonable commission coming out of it.
Generally speaking, booking online works out to be cheaper than using a travel agent, but only when you know what you want to do and your itinerary is fairly straightforward. While sometimes you’ll have to fork out a service fee for a travel agent, you do often get 24/7 support during your trip, and that may be worth the cost for many.

Is it a good idea to use a travel agent?
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.
Travel agents know what to look for and when the best time to book travel is (and go travelling) is. If you don’t want to keep on top of price changes and still have plenty of time before your trip, then it will likely be worth using an agent who can do that work for you, as you’ll probably get a better deal than if you had just booked on the spot.