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BBB Tips: Booking your holiday travel with a travel agent

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the busiest travel times of the year. Many people use professional travel agents to make reservations, handle trip details, coordinate documents and serve as an intermediary between them and airlines, hotels, cruise lines and tour operators.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there are more than 69,000 IATA-Accredited travel agencies in 200 countries.

“In the U.S., there are more than 200,000 travel professionals working for IATA-Accredited agencies who adhere to IATA’s strict standards of accountability and professionalism,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “Travel agents can be great resources to help you plan and book everything from hotels to cruises.”

If you are booking travel through a travel agency, BBB has these tips:

  • Do your homework and check the agency out with BBB or with IATA before you pre-pay for travel expenses.
  • Be sure to keep records of payments made and obtain required documents in advance.
  • Confirm your travel plans directly with your airline, hotel or cruise line prior to departure.
  • Pay with a credit card that offers buyer protection if you do not get what you purchased.
  • Consider buying trip insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that could result in losses.

“If you are considering trip insurance, the BBB recommends that you read the list of exemptions so that you understand what is covered and what is not covered,” said Bartholomy.

For more information, visit the BBB website or call 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in N.C. and S.C.

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