You aren’t a travel agent

by Lisa Kadane, Calgary Herald

So, you think you’re a travel agent? You’ve got a computer, high-speed Internet and a burgeoning library of websites that promise the best deals on airfares and accommodations, from to Plus, you googled “African safari” and found a slick site selling off Big 5 tours for next to nothing. Now, all you need is seven hours on a Saturday to research and book your trip.

If that sounds about as much fun as a day spent pulling weeds, you’re not alone. Some trips are easy to book on the web — a round-trip flight from Calgary to Vancouver to visit a friend, for example. Others are more complicated affairs — Galapagos Islands, anyone? — that illustrate the need for travel counsellors in an electronic age.

“The myth is that everything is cheaper on the Internet,” says Steve Gillick, president and COO of the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors.

In reality, Gillick says travellers often don’t understand the time it takes to DIY their trip, nor do they realize the invaluable insider information to be garnered from travel agents. Forget to factor in crucial details, from visas to travel insurance, and being your own agent could become one big mistake.

The Herald talked to travel counsellors across the country and rounded up four scenarios where it pays to use an expert.

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Categories: Travel agency, Travel agents, Travel Scams

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