Usually travel agents are reputed, professionals, experienced and well-trained. However all travel agents are not the same, there are some exceptions to the rules. Therefore, we need to be careful and should know some basic things before choosing a travel agent.

Do check out the few things, which can be helpful while seeking a reliable travel agent.

First and the foremost thing is be careful of the hidden fees. A reputable travel agent will never come up later for any hidden fees. The agent will tell you up front whatever the fees including taxes, fuel charges, docking fees and booking fees. When you request for a quote, check that the agent has included all these fees. Ensure to ask before signing any paper if it includes everything. If the travel agent asks for booking fees after you agreed to purchase a vacation then better to stop here. Also stay away from travel agents that try to charge you more than one booking fee per person. The usual charge for a booking fee per person per vacation is around $20 to $ 40. If the travel agent tries to charge each person a separate booking fee for the flight, the hotel and any other excursions then it is better to avoid such agents.

The next thing is if your travel agency only deals in cash then it is better to stay away. A professional and legitimate travel agency will give you several options for payment. In fact, it is advisable to use credit cards when dealing with travel arrangements. The reason that it would be better off paying with a credit card rather than a cheque or cash is because if something happens with the travel company you are booked with, such as the airline files for the bankruptcy; your credit card company will reimburse you. If you pay with cash you have no protection. Any good travel agent will know this and therefore accept payments through credit card as well as recommend it. If you find that your travel agent does not accept credit card then stay away.

Your travel agent should be very knowledgeable about where you are going. You should ask them certain questions in order to find out whether they are experts in some ultra exotic destination. But if you are going to some fairly common destination then they should be able to give you some information on things such as transportation, activities, past client reviews and your hotel. It is also quite better to check around the several other travel agents and find an agent who has been to the destination you are planning to visit. They can even be able to tell you the best places to eat and places to visit while you are there.

So be choosy! I rely on BenTours (a travel agent from Australia) for my travel plans.