Do You Need a Travel Agent?

travel agency makes reservations and bookings for travel services such as flights, hotels, tours, yacht cruises, guides and rental cars. It may also arrange so-called “F.I.T” tours—private one-of-a-kind itineraries planned especially for you. A travel agency may also operate a limited number of small-group guided tours.

Do you need to use a travel agency for your travel arrangements in Turkey? Not necessarily, but it may be wise to do so. Here’s why:

In my consultations with travelers, I frequently talk to folks who like to make all their own travel arrangements. They’re good at it, and with the Internet, it’s easier than ever.

But inevitably, after making a few reservations, some travelers discover that getting responses from hotels and airlines, checking competing rates, and fitting all the parts of a trip together efficiently is much more work and confusion than they had anticipated.

So they finally contact a Turkish travel agency for help, but this puts the travel agent in a spot: unsure of exactly what arrangements have already been made, and how dependable these arrangements are, the agent is unable to visualize the trip as a whole, and to make everything fit together and work right.

If your trip is a simple one, and you have plenty of time both for planning before your trip and on the road in Turkey, and if your schedule is flexible, you may not need a travel agent.

But if your time is valuable, and you want to see a lot in a limited time in Turkey, you should seriously consider using a travel agency for at least some of your travel arrangements.

For the record, I use Turkish travel agencies for virtually every trip I take to Turkey. I may make a few reservations myself, but I leave most of the arrangements to the agents. It’s easy, cost-effective, efficient, and if something goes wrong I can call them and tell them to fix it. It’s the best use of my time.

Here’s an actual traveler’s message I received about his experience with one of my recommended travel agencies in May 2011:

“I would like to give a big wrap to Mehmet at Argeus Travel. We found Argeus on your website and Mehmet was very helpful with our airline and hotel bookings. However he really showed his mettle when things went wrong.

“The night before leaving Istanbul we emailed our Cappadocia Hotel to confirm arrival times. When we checked our email pre flight the hotel had replied by denying all knowledge of our booking for 2 rooms and said they now had no vacancies. Mehmet later told us the hotel had changed hands and the previous manager had scrapped all the reservation data before leaving.

“In hours Mehmet had found us alternative (and superior) accommodation. Admittedly it was broken over 2 hotels but it was no mean effort at such a busy time. When we had arrived at Kayseri he had also, as a courtesy, provided a driver for our rental car to make it easier to find our new hotel.

“Top service and we would recommend Mehmet and Argeus to any intending travellers to Turkey.”

This is a great example of the value of using a good travel agency. I would like to think that any of my recommended agents would be able to help in a similar way.

If you plan to use travel agency services, it’s best (if possible) to ask only one agency to do everything you want done, rather than asking various agencies to arrange various parts of your trip. You become a more valuable client to the agency, they can afford to provide more help, and they’ll have a better grasp on all aspects of your trip and can often make it run smoother.

Here’s how to get the most for your money from a Turkish travel agency.

Here are my recommended travel agencies.

Here’s how to check a Turkish travel agency to see if it’s legitimate.

—Tom Brosnahan


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