Planning your travel can be a great thing and an exercise for you in terms of organization. You need to know what to pack, where to go, what to do, and how to get there. You need to know the best travel deals, the best and the worst in dining, and the best in the worst in bargains of things that you want to buy for people back home. You need to get the best deals in not just going to and from a place, but in staying there. Some travel agencies can help you out, while others are just plain nasty. How can you weed out the bad ones and get yourself the travel experience of a lifetime?
First, if you are looking for a travel agency, look at the deals that the travel agency posts, especially when it comes to your travel deal of choice: last minute travel. Many travel agencies will naturally not favor last minute travel. It can be taxing on resources as they scramble to get you a good deal on plane fares and hotel accommodations. They will be panicking the same way that you are, with your packing and your planning. They will not like to be harassed! But if they offer some discounts already for last minute travel, it means that they have planned their company well and already foresee your needs. Pick this kind of company: the kind that anticipates travel problems.
Second, pick a company that is up front about its fees. You will get a lot of fees for last minute travel, from the hotel to your tickets, from the travel agents to your taxes. Some travel agencies can keep these fees a secret by showing you discounted rates, and then mentioning hidden fees but never telling you how much you are going to be charged. Do not be afraid to ask your travel agent about these hidden fees, and do not be afraid to walk away if your travel agent never gives you details on what these hidden fees are. Your travel agent should have nothing to hide!
Third, pick a company that actually has a reputation. In other words, do not be ashamed to consult with your friends. You need to get a company that has worked for a lot of people, not some travel agency that seemed to pop out of nowhere. A travel agency that has a reputation will also have a reputation to uphold, so they cannot simply take money from you and make your last minute travel horrendous.
Fourth, always scout around for a lot of travel agents. There will surely be many travel agencies in your area: some big travel agencies may have a lot of clients and they might not be able to give you the attention that you need for last minute travel, but they could also be used to catering to people who are on last minute travel quandaries. Smaller agencies can give you the personalized service that you need, but they might not be used to handling last minute travel arrangements. Look for many travel agents and then have an agency that exclusively handles your last minute travel needs.
These are only a few tips that you can use to help you get the travel deals that you want. Last minute travel can be a big hassle, but if you know what agencies will work well for you, you won’t have too big a problem.