Before choosing an agency for a group trip , ask the travel agent the following questions:
Is there a guide from the agency who leaves with the group to take care of the technique on site?
Otherwise, a traveler of the group will take the direction of the group, or the local guide at destination who mainly serves the interests of the wholesaler at destination, and not yours!
Make sure the agent is telling the truth about the maximum number of travelers. Many agencies are tempted to add travelers even if they have reached the maximum. Extra travelers are very lucrative for a tour operator.
Are there free times during the tour?
Some group circuits are rolling lights, and require many hours of transport. Sometimes it’s better to see less, but better.
Because of the strong accent of the guide, it is sometimes very difficult to follow the information. And it can get very exhausting!
Does the destination guide follow the group throughout the trip?
Otherwise, it will be different local guides in each city, and it costs less to the agency which does not need to pay for the travel and accommodation of a guide. These local guides are often of uneven quality and have no attachment to the group. A guide who travels with the group becomes a full member, and this allows travelers to have privileged contact with a local.
What is included and not included?
It is very important to know that! Some group trips are very inexpensive and very attractive, but then you realize, when you get there, that the majority of visits are optional.
How much time will be spent shopping?
Some travel agencies sell their group tours at very low prices and then force you to shop under pressure on the spot, almost every day. On all your purchases, they will make a commission of up to 50%. On this type of trip, it is known that each traveler buys for an average of $700. On a group of 35 people, it is certainly a very lucrative way to design group circuits…
What will the climate be like during the trip?
Some tour operators will announce departures in less interesting periods in terms of the weather, because they obtain services at their destination at a lower cost (low season). But without necessarily reducing the cost for travelers! (For example, several agencies offer Vietnam in October when the center of the country is flooded by typhoons every year at this time or a safari in Tanzania in November when it rains almost every day)
Is there a pre-departure meeting?
Otherwise, the travelers in the group will not have had all the same information at the same time. This inevitably causes some conflicts or misunderstandings later during the tour. “I didn’t know…I didn’t expect…I wasn’t aware of…I thought it was included…I didn’t know what luggage I had to bring…etc. »
Do we eat at local restaurants?
If you are part of a trip of more than 20 people, you will probably be confined to the buffets of your hotels. Which is pretty boring after a while. But even groups of less than 20 people often have to have their meals included in their hotel buffets because the tour operator pays less this way, by including meals with the hotels. There is also less on-site coordination for the tour operator and the group guide.
Is the group leader paid?
Does this surprise you as a question? You will see that your travel agent will be too! A paid coach is a professional. And we expect more from a paid guide in terms of knowledge, security and animation. Many tour operators rely on a team of volunteers, often former customers, to accompany their group tours.
And finally… does the agency hold a permit from the Consumer Protection Office ?
Otherwise, buying a trip from an agency or a presumed travel agent that does not have a license, could cause you serious damage in the event of problems. Agencies or travel agents who do not have a license work illegally.