Pros and Cons of using a travel agent to plan your next safari
Well, travel agents come in handy when planning a safari to different countries in Africa. However, depending on your budget it can become quite pricey. At times, your demands might not match the tour packages that are being availed by the agent.
Below are some of the things you need to consider before using a travel agent.
Pros of using a travel agent
You get a checklist of all the necessary documentation needed
Once you contact the travel agency and work out which countries you intend to visit, it is their duty to advise on all documentation needed for each country. This can include visas, travel insurance, health certificate etc.
This saves you a lot of time trying to research and find information on each country on your own. Some countries in Africa do not have much information online unless you reach out to people who have been in the country before.
You get the best tour packages
Since you choose which travel agent to work with, there are high chances of also getting the best tour packages well in advance. This is because travel agents have this information first hand. They can advise when is the best time to book your travel to get the best flight prices, best hotel packages etc.
You get value for your money
The travel agent is responsible for getting you the best out of your safari based on your budget. After all, they expect you to give a good review and even refer them to your friends. They will go out of their way to ensure that you get the best deals that your money can buy.
You are not a risk taker
If you are not the kind of person who wants to take risks with your money or holiday plans, then a travel agent is the way to go. This ensures you get exactly what you paid for and in case of a delay or cancellation, there is someone to handle and do all the necessary follow-ups.
You get a well detailed itinerary in advance
Once the travel agent has booked your safari covering all the areas you are interested to visit, they always send you a full detailed itinerary. This gives a well-detailed plan of how you will spend your safari days, hence is no need to do a plan of your own.
Note: If your travel agent does not provide you with an itinerary, kindly ask for one. Otherwise, your safari may luck a flow and good use of your vacation time.
Ideal for group travel
If you are planning a trip as a big group, it is convenient to use a travel agent. This is because travel agents are able to curate affordable and exclusive safari packages for groups. This includes both backpacking packages, overland travel or even booking 5-star hotels.
It is also easier to get affordable transport services including flights when a travel agent books for a big group as compared to booking for one person.
Cons of using a Travel Agent
Your budget may be too stretched.
The price packages are normally determined by the travel agent. They only ask how much you want to spend, then curate a package based on that amount.
If you plan the safari on your own, there is room for negotiating and even changing at the last minute if the offer doesn’t suit you.
You can opt to pay especially for accommodation on the day of travel giving you a chance to flip itinerary if what is on offer does not suit you. You also get to weigh in on cheaper options or even skip some activities to save yourself some money.
Limited variety of options and offers.
Some travel agents only work with particular companies. Hence, they might only offer safari packages from these companies. This might not be flexible according to your need.
You might need to take up different offers from different travel agents just to weigh in the options provided and find what best suits you. This might take up much of your time and difficult to make a decision on the appropriate safari package to take.
You have discounts and travel points to utilize
If you travel a lot, you could have accumulated travel points and earned some discounted offers along the way. By using a travel agent, you may not be able to utilize such accumulated points. Most hotels and airlines allow customers to use such discounts when they book directly.
There are also hotels and accommodation facilities that offer discounts to clients when they book directly rather than using an agent since an agent needs to be paid commission for every booking.
You are a non-traditional traveler
At times it is not easy to put on paper what exactly you want to accomplish in a given safari. Maybe what your travel plans entail cannot fit in any travel packages provided by the available travel agents.
Hence it would be ideal you do your own research and plan your own travel. Rather than having a travel agent try to fit you in one of their packages. The resulting safari might not be what you anticipated it to be.
You love doing your own travel plans
Well, if you have the time, love researching in this internet age, why not curate your own safari package. Take your time and research all the places you would want to visit, check out various packages, any discounts.
You can even go the extra mile and contact various hotels, airlines for better discounts. If your schedule is flexible, you can choose to travel during off-peak times when the prices are favourable and the places are not congested or overbooked.
Also read: Planning as African Safari