Travelling and using a tour agency?
Remember to ask this very clearly and get firm answers:
• Can the tour agency finalise and give you the completed air ticket, hotel room reservations and transport arrangements from airport to hotel - immediately, right now, if you pay in full? Maybe you can place a tape/digital recorder on the table and tell them you are recording this and will take action against them if they renege.
♠ There are actually good tour agencies that can deliver this excellent service for travel to certain countries. eg. Sunny Travel can do this for short tour to Bangkok, flying by Thai Airways. They are a big enough player for that route to have the authority/connections to do this.
♦ Don't accept shifty answers from the lousy tour agencies.
♦ Beware of suggestions that they want you to pay now in full or a large deposit and they will call you and ask you to come down 1 week from departure date to finalise arrangements.
• Beware of tour agencies that take your money and then tell you that they cannot give you any air tickets or hotel accommodation or airport transfer arrangements until literally the very last 30 minutes before you check in at the airport. The tour agency tells you to go to the airport on departure date and 2 or 3 hours before flight time.... and wait for their representative - who will bring the necessary air tickets and hotel room booking documents. The so-called representative is obviously not the tour agency staff - but is an independent travel broker of sorts. This bad arrangement makes for anxiety.
• Why do some tour agencies do this? (I know at least one tour agency at People's Park Centre basement has done this before)
It may be that:
♦ they are a very small player and have no pull with the airline/s and hotels.
♦ they are in deep financial trouble.
♦ they want to take your money first, use it for various other things (e.g. gamble on stocks, casino, lend it out on loan shark basis and earn high interest, etc...) until the very last moment. This is known as rolling other people's money.