From natural disasters and terrorist attacks to a global pandemic, safety and peace of mind when travelling has never been more critical.
While no one organisation or destination can guarantee visitor safety, don't allow fear to stop you from having the enriching experiences only travel can bring. Instead, maximise your peace of mind when travelling and minimise risk. How? The answer may surprise you.
Travel and hospitality company MMGY Global reported after its 2018 study that 33% of Millennials' will use a travel agency in the next two years'. Travel agents are 'back' - if indeed they ever 'left'!
Here's why, more than ever, you want to be dealing with a Travel Expert:
Specialist advice and expertise
When you are unwell, you visit a doctor. When you need a lawyer, you consult one. And in the same manner, when you need to travel, consult a travel specialist.
Consulting a travel expert ensures you're getting specialist travel advice and first-hand knowledge from experts.
For example, travel experts can advise you on the best options for your travels with regards to coronavirus. If you are unsure what your options are regarding changing your trip dates, or what is the best choice for booking a future trip, travel experts will assist you with all the necessary travel arrangements. If you book travels on your own, you're also on your own when something unforeseen happens too.
Essentials you may not even have thought of
It's never been more vital to travel with travel insurance. Regardless of where and when you are travelling, coronavirus or otherwise, travel insurance is a must.Travellers often buy travel insurance begrudgingly. On their own, travellers usually skip this grudge purchase. But trust us. You don't want to take the risk of travelling without it.
Whether it's delayed or (perish the thought) lost luggage or a twisted ankle, insurance is there to cover the unexpected. Travel experts can help you understand the best options for you and in the long run, should the unforeseen happen, save you money.
Here's more on the importance of travel insurance.
A helping hand when you need it most
No one wants to think about something disastrous happening on their trip. Whether it's the inconvenience of your suitcase gone missing or a real emergency, having a human contact to communicate with during a worrying situation is reassuring. In a foreign country, where you may not have data or signal, face language barriers or struggle to get hold of your embassy, a travel advisor is contactable.
Travel Experts will all have emergency numbers and after-hours contacts that you can call. Be sure to save those details in multiple places before departing. Just don't call your travel advisor at 3 am wanting to change your flight in three days when it's not an actual emergency.
Not only will a good travel expert take the time to get to know you and your needs so they can genuinely offer the best specialised and unique advice for your dream holiday, but they've also carefully developed a network of preferred relationships with suppliers around the world. They can advise you on the best deals and negotiate on your behalf should something go wrong.
True travel specialists
In a recent Skift poll, 54% of respondents identified 'transformational travel' as a priority when they travel. To avoid things going wrong (booking a hotel in a different area from where you wanted to be, travelling to see a natural event at the wrong time or arriving at the wrong airport), a travel agent's expertise and itineraries tailor-made to your interests and priorities trumps D-I-Y planning.
A travel expert is a real expert and travel specialist, offering you much more than just a cookie-cutter holiday.
The best deals for the best value
Thanks to that network of preferred relationships, travel agents have quicker access to more types of travel inventory, including differing airfare classes, hotel upgrades and value-adds (such as that bottle of champagne in your honeymoon suite or transfers included). These deals are also often specially negotiated based on volume and the relationship between the travel agent and the supplier, be it an airline or cruise company. That can mean a lower price or a better value experience.
And don't be caught out when it comes to pricing. An offer you find online may appear cheaper at first glance but compare apples with apples. The deal probably doesn't include essentials or extras, and you'll end up paying more.
Most importantly, peace of mind
For peace of mind and to avoid falling for scams by fraudsters, don't just book with any travel agent. The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) represents, vets and promotes professional service in the travel industry. More than 95% of South Africa's travel industry belong to ASATA.
While even a travel expert can't guarantee your complete safety when travelling, peace of mind knowing that you know what to do should the unexpected happen, and that you've got the best possible value from your trip, goes a long way when you're thousands of kilometres from home.