Some people argue that the Internet—and the boundless cheap flights and hotels that it provides—has rendered travel agents unnecessary. But travel agents are better connected with the best airlines, hotels, and tour operators, and have expertise and experience unavailable anywhere else.
It’s true–not every trip requires a travel agent. But as trips become more expensive and luxurious, travel agents become critical. If your travel includes first-class tickets, multiple stops, local guides, and premium accommodations, a great travel agent can work with your airline to find flight ticket deals unavailable elsewhere, manage your reservations, and ensure that you enjoy VIP status wherever you go.
In the long run, a travel agent will save you money and greatly enhance the quality of your travels. Stik.com has client reviews of the best travel agents so it’s easy to do your research before you take a much-needed break.
We booked our trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2010 with the primary purpose of visiting Corcovado National Park. Once our airline tickets were purchased, we immediately began searching for a local guide who could not only navigate us through this natural wonder, but also help locate and identify all that the park had to offer in terms of flora and fauna. It soon became clear that if we were going to do the Osa/Corcovado and do it right, we had to go with Dionisio "Nito" Paniagua at Surcos Tours.
Soon after booking, Nito and his staff made all arrangements for us in regards to park permits, bunk reservations at the Sirena Ranger Station, food arrangements while there and suggestions what to and what not to bring on our hike. Living in the US, this was an invaluable service, as many of these items must be handled in person. Plus, just not having to deal with these details was a huge benefit for us.
During the 6 month period between booking our tour and arriving in Costa Rica, Nito gave us regular updates on recent sightings in the park (complete with an occasional picture/video), park conditions and suggestions that would make our trip more enjoyable.
One of these suggestions (after Nito found out one of us was a frog lover) was to extend the tour by one night on the front side to include a stay at La Tarde, a family run eco-tourism guest house on the outskirts of Corcovado National Park, in order to search for poison dart frogs. At La Tarde, Nito and Eduardo (the owner of La Tarde) took us on two hikes, one to locate the poison dart frogs (which we found!) and a night walk to see the creatures that come out after dark. This whole experience, along with the additional 2 hour hike we were afforded from La Tarde to Los Patos Ranger Station were an unforgettable addition to our trip.
Had Nito not taken the time to get to know us as clients, we would not have know about La Tarde, would not have been able to find these amazing creatures and we would have left Costa Rica not knowing what she fully had to offer.
During our time with him, Nito's wealth of knowledge of all things living became evident. Aside from knowing the names of the wildlife we saw and heard, he was also able to show or explain many practical applications that can be found in the flora and fauna in the rainforest, such as using ants to suture a wound!
Our time in Corcovado was amazing. Nito assisted us in identifying close to 100 bird species (that we saw or photographed), 25 amphibian/reptile species (including 3 species of poison dart frog and the infamous Fer de Lance, the most feared venomous snake in the country) and 20 mammal species, such as the tapir, tayra and both types of peccaries (this does not count the birds/frogs/snakes/lizards that came or went to quickly for us to identify prior to them disappearing). Each night at dinner, Nito took the time to go over each animal that we saw so that we could record it in our journals and explain any items of interest or peculiarities that we did not have time to discuss while on the trails.
We could sit here and go on and on about how great we thought Nito was, but please take this into consideration. Three days after hiking out of Corcovado and saying good-bye to Nito, we were walking down the main street in Dominical, a small surf town a couple hours north of the Osa on the Pacific Coast, when a young lady that we recognized from our stay at the Sirena Ranger Station in Corcovado approached us. She wanted to know if we could provide her with the contact information of our guide that we had while there. Although she and her travel companion had their own guide during their stay in Corcovado, she could tell that we had a much superior time with Nito than what they experienced. She thought it was amazing that Nito took time each meal to sit and discuss with us all of the wildlife that we had seen, the amount of time he was actually willing to be out exploring the park with us and the shear amount of wildlife that we was able to help us find and identify.
It was this level of attention that we received that did not go unnoticed by others who were paying similar amounts for their own guides, but receiving far less from them.
All in all our trip was exceptional, but it wouldn't have been this great if it were not for Nito. We can not thank him enough for all he did for us before and during our trip and cannot wait until the opportunity arises to return to the Osa and allow Nito to guide us once again.See MoreRead Less
When I decided I wanted to go to Europe, I had never been out of the country except for a couple of quick jaunts to Mexico. I knew where in Europe I wanted to go, but had no idea how to go about it. I searched online for travel consultants and was contacted by a few. After doing my research, I decided to go with Jamison Bachrach and Wandering Puffin. I told him what I wanted to see, how much I could spend, and what I was not willing to go. In addition, my son was going with me, and he had never traveled, either. Jamie took over and the result was a wonderful, month-long odyssey to all the places I had wanted to visit. In addition, it was within the budget I had set for myself. Never having been to Europe, there is no way I could have gotten us from Point A to Point B without a lot of effort on my part, and I didn't want to wear myself out with details. Jamie knew the places we wanted to go, had been to most of them himself, and was able to make recommendations that enhanced our trip and enabled us to have the trip of a lifetime. He never complained, never told us we couldn't go somewhere or see something, made changes without arguing, and I even had to contact him from Europe when a minor glitch happened with the airline. Nothing was ever a problem for him. In addition, he explained how much everything was going to cost, gave me a payment schedule, and there were no financial surprises. Jamie is without a doubt the person to help plan and arrange your trips. He knows what he's doing and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone.See MoreRead Less
I met Gary thru a family member and when he told us about a great deal on a cruise, my husband, who promised me a cruise for our 5 year anniversary, decided to pay up on that gift a few years early. We booked our cruise and had a fabulous time. We were fortunate enough to have Gary be part of our first cruise experience--which became a wonderful source of some awesome memories. I have encouraged others to call Gary when they talk about booking a cruise--and I feel that he is my very own travel agent! Gary delivers a high level of customer service and continues to stay in touch with us about upcoming specials.See MoreRead Less
I first met Judi on a Disney discussion board. She was very knowledgeable about Walt Disney World. I have asked several questions about Disney vacations and Judi has always been right there with an answer. She is willing to go above and beyond to get you the information that you need to make your vacation memorable. Judi is up to date all all the latest information coming out of the Disney parks and is always first to post about changes or new editions to the parks and resorts. Many other sites do not have this kind of information available until days later for their clients. Even on her own vacations, Judi is up and ready to help make Dining reservations or make changes to your vacation packages. I would highly recommend Judi if you are looking to book a Disney vacation!See MoreRead Less
Charlotte Lawson is head and shoulders above the average BDM in the cruise line business. I had the pleasure of meeting Charlotte when I was a newbie travel consultant in my first few months in the travel industry.
Charlotte's professionalism and attention to detail exceeded my expectations at every turn. One example of her going above and beyond was when she answered a cell phone call after hours on her birthday.
Charlotte has been a trusted business partner, and I respect her as a mentor as I grow in my position. She shares her knowledge to help others learn while achieving her goals regularly. Charlotte will be a true asset to any company fortunate enough to have Charlotte on their team.See MoreRead Less
Christopher Wigley has been an excellent travel consultant for us. He recently managed a cruise for six of us and took care many complications, including a travel agency that organized a group within the cruise, and the problems of three people dropping out of the cruise because one of them suffered a heart attack two months before the departure.
Christopher has managed several other trips for us, and we are very pleased with his care and attention to detail.See MoreRead Less
I have known Judith since childhood, we grew up in the same neighborhood. Judith has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and a dedication to success. Judith is a born leader her drive and abilities has always been her strongest asset, thus her efforts have produced high quality results time and time again. I feel her leadership abilities will become even more effective in her latest business challenge.
I recommended anyone who is thinking about a getaway or a vacation to use Vibes Vacation & Tours as their Number 1 choice, the company is run it with integrity and complete openness. Not only will you be taken care of but the professionalism shown is simply first class. Bottom line, you get your moneys worth.
U.S. Army SoldierSee MoreRead Less
We have traveled with Kanyezi on two occasions, most recently in November of 2013. We would give them six+ stars if given the option. A first class operation, with incredible attention to detail and client service. They return calls and emails within hours (sometimes minutes) night or day, 7/24, responding to every possible concern even before they arise. Knowledgeable, caring, entertaining, "clients always come first".....extraordinary facilities, staff, and concern with security and safety, We will cannot wait to do another trip with them. I should point out that we have traveled with other African safari guides, so we have some foundation for our praise. These folk also give back to their African communities, and we are proud to support them in medical and educational initiatives. Did I mention surprise Father's Day gifts on the one such date we were with them?See MoreRead Less
Mr. Jeff Cornett is a very professional owner of JC Concrete. He knows the job and has years of experience. He carries a friendly Christian disposition wherever he goes. His work is outstanding and treats his customer with the utmost respect. If you have a need for this service, do call Mr. Cornett. He will get the job done.
WebMistressSee MoreRead Less