Travel agencies can be started up by just about anyone, so it’s important to find one that will handle your arrangements in a comprehensive and competent manner. When looking at travel agencies, you should consider the following aspects to make sure your travel planning is a good experience.

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In October I purchased an airline ticket to fly to Germany in January providing COVID cleared enough for international travel. I was told this was 100% refundable by Vernon @ 877-585-**** - vernon.j@***s. On December 7th I sent an email since he would not return my calls telling him I needed the refund because I had been advised that I would not be able to pass customs and enter into Germany and go to the air base I was traveling to. He finally told me he would start the process. Never received the refund. Attempted to contact him multiple times to no avail. I have since spoke to Edwin, Cartman, Grant, Benjamin and Storm and all have stopped all contact once they promised the refund. I paid extra for the 100% refund if needed for a total of over $900 USD. I have since found out this place has multiple names it uses ITN - ASAP Tickets - Solution Providers, Casting Services and multiple phone numbers. I traveled last November and had absolutely no problem, but trying to get this ticket refunded has been a massive headache. Starting December 4th I asked for refund, as I was told it would be 100% refund no matter what the reason with the travel insurance. That apparently was not true as this is January 3rd and still no response from anybody. I have also emailed Hannah at Special Services at ITN Corp no response. I have contacted my credit card holder, BBB, FTC,, and AGs office in California and Delaware. I want my money refunded as promised when this all began. If I were to travel as planned at this time, I would be stuck in the airport not being able to get past customs my entire trip due to the severity of COVID. I will not stop until my money is refunded. I will never as long as I live use ASAP again and nor will I stop with the negative reviews until ALL money is refunded. Good to know that travel insurance is NOTHING to this bunch of mean, liars. I would give zero stars if that was available on reviews.
Three different agents have promised me such things as 'I'll look into it and get back to you," then "They will pay your money back" and then "The money was credited back to your account." None of that was true. I am in the process of suing them over breach of contract.
Hello, Ivan, I would like to know why ALL other customers can call and get the reservations that they need for cheaper prices, but I can not use my voucher credit for 1807.95. I will attach all documents and I want to speak to a supervisor!!! I have reservations with my name on it, AND it is only because of a friend calling.My old reservations number is LPDDBS, Please honor this new reservation with my 1807.95 credit voucher. YOU CAN NOT TELL ME THAT THE SEAT IS NOT AVAILABLE. I was not able to go this summer due to the pandemic, now that I am ready to use the voucher that you promised me. YOU GUYS ARE NOT GIVING ME THE AVAILABLE. I HAVE BEEN CALLING YOU GUYS SINCE YESTERDAY MORNING AT 10:00. , .. NO ONE WANTS TO HELP ME ( one more thing every time I call your agents LOVE to tell me that you won the dispute. Your customer service is a negative zero. I also have several recordings of your representatives calling me names . Stubborn THIS IS HOW YOU TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS? THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT NEW SALES. I HAVE SEVERAL RECORDING OF THEM LAUGHING AND PLAYING WITH ME!! THIS SYSTEM ANT SUPPORT THE RECORDING FILE.Every agent says the same thing to get me off the phone, they say I need to get permission from my supervisor to get your file.YOU SAY THIS AND NO ONE EVER CALLS ME BACK. WHEN I CALL BACK THE AGENTS SAYS THE BEST I CAN DO FOR YOU IS GIVE YOU TICKET FOR 2600 AND YOU PAY DIFFERENT.

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How to Compare Travel Agencies

Travel agencies can be started up by just about anyone, so it’s important to find one that will handle your arrangements in a comprehensive and competent manner. When looking at travel agencies, you should consider the following aspects to make sure your travel planning is a good experience.

Types of Travel Agencies

If you’re looking for a travel agent, it helps to know what types of agencies are out there. Below you can read what each of them are, and pros and cons of each.


These agencies are independently owned and are sometimes one-person operated. The agent can have employees, or not. An independent agent may also work remotely as an online travel agency or online travel agent.

Pro: Independent agents have more freedom in how they work, meaning a more personalized travel planning experience for you.

Con: Due to their smaller size and more limited connections, being independent could limit the deals they are able to offer.


These are businesses that affiliate with home-based travel agents as part of an independent-contractor agreement.

Pro: These relationships mean that the agent is still the owner of their business, but they have the resources available to them through the host, meaning more favorable travel deals are available for you.

Con: The agent must pay fees or commission to the host, which could mean a higher cost to the consumer.


This is where an agent buys into an established travel agency brand or name.

Pro: Sometimes an agent can have a greater access to or requirements for accreditation to be part of the franchise, meaning more expertise in the agent. They must also keep up the standards of the franchise.

Con: Working with an agent that may be under more requirements from the franchise can mean a less personalized experience. Fees also go back to the franchise, meaning a possibly higher rate for you.


This is one large organization made up of independent travel agents and agencies.

Pro: Together these groups can offer more deals and amenities to the consumer.

Con: Agents in a consortium must meet a threshold sales volume to be in the consortium. That may make the sales end feel pushier.


This is more of a slang term for very large travel agencies with nationwide operations.

Pro: Having such a large presence can mean more deals, connections and knowledge that can help you have a better trip.

Con: The experience can feel more industrialized, as the mega agency may specialize in a certain type of travel or have distinct rules to follow to maintain location consistency.

How to Check a Travel Agent’s Background

It’s not as hard as it may seem to find out about an agent’s background. Simply research the following points.


Some states require agents to be licensed and some don’t, so your local travel agents may or may not have this requirement. Though licensure can be a sign that the agent takes their business seriously and is one of the top travel agencies. Call the agency directly and inquire if they are licensed.

Professional Organizations

You can also check to see if the agent or agency is listed with any professional organization, like the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) or the Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). This means they highly value their training and contacts.


Check to see if they are accredited with the Airlines Reporting Corporation, or if they’re an international travel agency, with the International Air Transport Association. If they are, they can typically print a blank plane ticket in the office, which means more convenience for you.


See if the travel agent operates under an umbrella travel agency organization such as Global Travel Group, as these may help the agency get better access to travel resources.


While talking to the agent, ask about any specific training or education the agent may have had. They may have taken courses through ASTA or ARTA, have certifications through groups like The Travel Institute or have even completed travel agent training through a college. One of the most popular certifications is being a Certified Travel Associate (CTA) through The Travel Institute (requiring 12 months industry experience, completed courses and a passed standardized CTA exam). Travel company reviews may mention these as well.

How to Compare Different Travel Agents

When it comes to finding the best travel agent, you’ll want to spend some time on comparison shopping. Read on to learn how to compare travel agents.

  1. Find out about services. While researching the agent, check their operating hours, if there’s a toll-free office number and if you can contact the agent directly over email and phone. You can often find the best travel agency by looking for one that meets your needs and schedule.
  2. Assess how they are at handling customers. When talking to them, do they seem rushed, or are they friendly, helpful and easy to understand? Go with your gut feeling. Never work with someone you have a bad feeling about. Also check any online travel agencies complaints and travel company reviews to see how they are with people.
  3. Tap your network. You can also ask different friends, coworkers and other people about which travel agents they like. It’s a great way to find local travel agents and real-world travel agency reviews.
  4. Search Online for Reviews. You can check travel agency reviews on consumer advocacy sites or look on database sites to find an agent that specializes in the destination or type of travel you do. 
  5. Ask what each place has for fees. Get an outline of the agent’s fees. Make sure they provide all fees upfront. Agents typically charge for the basic trip expenses, and some may require a security deposit, a la carte fees, travel designing fees and research fees etc. Always ask an agent about their fee structure upfront. The top travel agencies will not have hidden costs. Check online travel agencies complaints to see if people are reporting anything fishy as far as fees go.
  6. Know Their Background. While talking to the agent, you can also ask them about past success stories, as well as mishaps and how they solved it. They should be willing to give you some success stories, as well as what they’ve learned over the years.
  7. Be aware of what makes a good travel agent. The top travel agencies will learn your personal travel habits and preferences, find deals through comparison shopping and be on top of new updates in their industry to save you money. They should also know a lot about local attractions and culture you might not have heard of otherwise, so be sure to ask what they know about the places you tend to travel to the most.
  8. Keep in mind the appearance of the office. When visiting the office, if the agent has one, take note of what you see. Is the office clean and does the technology look up to date? These signs will denote that the agent is keeping up on trends and cares about the details of their business.
  9. Check the attitude of the agent. When talking to the agent, does he/she seem to be passionate about travel? Or is this “just a job” and the person has the dull, bored attitude to match? Online travel agencies complaints can reveal this attitude as well.

Gustave Flaubert said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”  Nothing makes you feel tiner than trying to navigate the bureaucratic world of hotel booking, airfare and the other necessities of travel, despite online access. A good travel agent can take your travel plans from stressful to a thing of joy and anticipation of a good time. And if you’re looking for top travel agencies, compare the best travel agencies using the expert ratings and consumer reviews.