When booking a dream vacation to some exotic location like a hotel in Phuket for the week, many people search through their local or national newspapers to grab the best deals. Sometimes these deals are not deals at all, with their hidden fees and add-ons that can end up costing you more than you bargained for. The truth about travel deals – what the travel agents don’t want you to know, is exactly this: a deal is not always a deal.
Sometimes travel agents post too-good-to-be-true ads to lure customers in. Sure that deal may exist if you travel only during a particular week of the year, but such deals are rarely bargains at all times. Once the agent has planted the seed, they can then sell you something else, usually with a much higher price tag.
Travel agents work on a commission basis, so even though it often makes sense to book through these experts, they do not always offer the most cost-effective answer. Many times you can book directly through the hotel, cruise ship or touring company of your choice and get a better rate, as no additional fees for commission will apply.
Another thing travel agents don’t want you to know is that cancellation fees are usually a fraction of what they will charge you. This means that they make big bucks off someone that has an emergency and needs to cancel a trip. With a little research, you will find that the cost is less than what your agent will tell you. The BBC travel clinic have a useful video with advice on cancellation fees here.
Often agents will sell a customer a package tour or daytrip, claiming it is the cheapest and most convenient way to guarantee transfers and top-notch tour guides. This is a complete hoax, as the majority of the time it is much cheaper to book this on your own once you arrive at your holiday destination.
Trust is a major thing when it comes to booking a holiday, and travel agents thrive on this. Most of their clients are repeat customers. Agents have a knack for knowing exactly what they want and will go so far as to say it is the best deal around. Make sure you always shop around first, going both direct to hotels and via daily deal sites which list some of the best genuine discounts on travel you’re likely to find- aggregators like Deal Zippy are a good way to keep track of the best travel deals from deal sites like Groupon because this way you don’t have to sign up to annoying daily emails from 20 different sites just to try and find a good deal.
By shopping around and contacting hotels and airlines directly, you can be sure you are getting the best deal possible. Of course, your travel agents will not want you to do this, as in the end it means that they will lose out. Also be sure to get a breakdown of what exactly you are paying for; don’t just accept the travel agent’s total price.
Last-minute deals are the biggest fraud, and this is a classic travel deal that is actually a myth. In many cases, these ‘deals’ are the same price as the trip would have been two-months earlier. Sometimes they cost even more than the original price! Consider the time of year you are travelling and think about it rationally. If it is peak time, then this deal is not a deal at all.
Some great deals can be had for destinations that are experiencing their off-season, but travel agents will tell you every story in the book to steer you away from these authentic deals and get you on a plane to the trendiest destination at the biggest expense. This, of course, means a big commission for them.
If a travel deal is too good to be true, then chances are it is. This is the biggest truth about travel deals – what the travel agents don’t want you to know, and it is a golden rule when planning a holiday. Vacations are not cheap, so be sure to do your research and get the most out of your hard earned pounds.