You had me. I confess, I am not the typical hardcore backpacker. Sometimes, I just want a stress-free vacation, what I mean is, I want a laid back travel at times. I don’t want to think where to go, what places to see, what mode of transportation to ride, where to eat, those sorts of stuff. That is why I still hunt for Travel agency promo tours and I do it online. Though I need to consider the price about not being be too high, we can actually find those “value for money” tours if we are just patient enough, just like booking a promo airfare, it needs a lot of patience. There are times where you can also get “super” good deal/s just like my 5day South Korea trip last February 2016 where I got it for P29,988.oo /person with the following inclusions:
- Round trip Airfare (MNL-Incheon-MNL)
• 15 kilos check in baggage, 7 kilos hand carry luggage
• 1 Night Hotel accommodation @3starhotel in Mt Seorak
• 3 Night HotelAccommodation@3StarHotel in Seoul
• Tours and transfers as per itinerary
• Meals as per itinerary(4B/3L/2D)
• English Speaking Guide
• Terminal Fee (PHP550)
• 1 bottle of water per pax/day
• FREE VISA PROCESSING
• Assistance at Naia airport before departure
• Guide Tipping
the only PACKAGE EXCLUSION was:
*PH TRAVEL TAX: PHP 1620 PER PERSON—–and of course your personal expenses.
Definitely a real buy, right? Since, I like doing things online, not to mention that its convenient, you don’t have to actually scout every travel agency that you could find in your area that makes it more hassle,but I also need to consider the possibilities of being scammed. Be wary, though there are legit online travel agency that you see in the internet (like: Facebook or when searching through Google), there are those that are scam! There’s an increasing number of illegitimate online travel agency that is now surfacing due to its demand that many people nowadays loves to travel,they make a living in scamming innocent travelers.
So, I would like to share you these tips that I gained through experience when booking a travel agency online:
1.Ask for documents related to their business to ensure legibility of the agency.
– a Certificate of Accreditation from these following agencies would help you determine there legitimacy:
- IATA (International Air Transport Association) which is a trade association of the world’s airlines that supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards.
- DOT (Department of Tourism) – a primary government agency charged with the responsibility to encourage, promote, and develop tourism as a major socio-economic activity to generate foreign currency and employment and to spread the benefits of tourism to both the private and public sector.
- Business Permit, S.E.C. (Security and Exchange Commission), D.T.I. (Department of Trade and Industry) – these are other documents that you might want to ask from them.
- Sales Representative Identification – ask for the representatives full name, if possible ask them to send you their ID via email, viber or whatever means of commuincation.
2. Facebook online reviews
– while most online travel agency can be found in Facebook. You may be able to see on their page about their client’s reviews. There may be other agency that will try to manipulate their reviews on their online page by putting in their own personal reviews but you can always instinctively read those that are genuine.
3. They will have additional tours like making you go to factory shops etc.
– It is true that most Travel Agency will add this to their itinerary, with one purpose, they make profit by commission to tourist who buys in the factory or rather they’ll have commission by sending tourists to the factory. In my experience, I advise you not to buy anything in the factory or anything of similar types, chances are most of what they sell are fake. Even if they force you to enter into that factory, they cannot force you to buy it, though they can be very persuasive and persistent. Hong Kong tours and China Tours,to name a few, often have these kind of tactics that you will be driven by their very low priced tour but they will bring you to these factories. Just take the bait, it will be really cheap. There is no harm in going after all, just go but don’t buy, that’s it. However, if you buy something from the factory,it will be the buyer’s full discretion. If they’ll get angry at you, just don’t take it personally, besides they don’t know you and vice versa. There is also a little chance that you will be meeting with them again.
Aside from what I mentioned above, they will have gimmicks like having them take your pictures and later on,made you a frame then sell it to you for a very expensive price (based on my experience). Again, you have the option not to buy it. Do not be intimidated nor feel ashamed in refusing!
Make sure that your agency will give you full information with regards to your itinerary. Print it if necessary.
4. Ask for a receipt after you book your desired travel agency
– after paying, most of it through bank payments, demand an official receipt to send you via email or sent it to you via mail. This is a proof that there’s a transaction that has been made and may be use for legal actions if there will be a contraband that will happen.
5. Do your own research to avoid scam.
– Lastly, it would not hurt you if you will do your own research about that agency. Due to wide range of information that you can find online, it is also not that difficult to type the agency’s name through google.com and look for its authenticity.
There you have it, my 5 Tips that you need or should know when booking a travel agency online.