A travel agency can make or break your trip. When you book a tour, you not only purchase a package of destinations and transportation but you also entrust them with your hard-earned money and your leisure time – one of your most valuable assets.
Sunset in Vietnam (Source: Internet)
In contrast with its charming natural beauty, rich exotic culture, and honest residents; some Vietnam travel agencies will not scruple at ripping you off by applying dishonest means; which has driven a large number of travelers away from the country. Many good travel agencies in Vietnam suffer from this, since trust once lost is difficult to regain.
However, honest operators are still out there, you just need to know how to find them and tell them apart from the rest. Here helloVietnam have piled up a list of what to do to find the perfect agent for you:
Stay local to give back to the community (Source: Internet)
There is no substitute for a local touch, especially when you care about making your trip responsible toward the environment and the area you are visiting. A competent travel agency will provide you with local tour guides who know every nook and cranny of their hometown. For example, the best travel agency in Ho Chi Minh City will hire someone who was born and raised in the city to guide you around, who is passionate about it enough to know exactly where to head to for an authentic dish of com tam.
On the other hand, it is impossible to fulfill your dream of immersing yourself into the local culture without a middleman as a connection, since people don’t usually open up to someone who looks different from them and doesn’t speak their language. In addition to benefitting from insider tips and information, staying with a local travel agency also means using local hotels, services and reducing your impact on the local environment, an ideal way to give back to the community who will welcome you in their home.
Avoid the copycats
Copycats are somehow rampant in Vietnam. Legitimate Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Danang Vietnam travel agencies tend to be copied by several others with similar names to confuse first-time travelers and cheat them out of their money with hidden charges and opaque pricing schemes. This is a must-take step to picking the best Vietnam travel agency.
Make sure you are hiring legitimate travel agencies by taking some time browsing their official websites and head to the address that is shown on the web. While you are on the sites, read carefully the tips and guides they share on their blog. Are they informative, well-written, and updated regularly? If so, this is a good sign of a legitimate agency to entrust your money and your time.
Research the costs
Even if you are willing to splurge on your vacation, being overcharged or nickel-and-dimed is intolerable. To avoid this, ask your travel agency to give you detailed information on how your money will be spent. A legitimate company will definitely have lists of what is included and what is not for each and every tour they offer. The best Vietnam travel agencies will be absolutely transparent about their costs.
Another thing to remember is to make sure you know about all the additional costs if there are any. Many companies will require you to pay added fees when you have already been on their buses or standing in front of some attractions that charge entrance fees. This is a common trick that the dishonest companies in Vietnam usually apply to squeeze more money out of you.
Be aware of the group size
Travelling by tours has many pros: less hassle, insider information, and a chance to meet other like-minded travelers. However, these benefits are harder to gain if you are in a group with too many people, say 50 or 60. In this case, your needs will likely be neglected since your guide has to care about so many other people. On the other hand, there are travelers who love big groups. Their motto is the more the merrier, so it is important to figure out your preferences. Do you fancy being on a big bus with cameras clicking around or a quite holiday with friends and family only? Knowing exactly what you want from the outset will help maximize your every penny and lasting memories.
When you have figured out what type of group you would like to be in, it’s time to find out which company offers such group size. Legitimate Vietnamese travel agencies usually state this kind of information on their websites. If you cannot find it, call the hotline number to find out.
Find out how they handle troubling situation
See the way they handle troubling situation (Source: Internet)
The best Vietnam travel agency will put their clients first, which means they will go out of their way to make sure you have a memorable vacation and will compensate you if, for some reason, you don’t have one.
Browse some forums or websites to find reviews about the company, ask people who had run into trouble what the company did in their case. Were they helpful when their clients’ flights were delayed or when their insurance claims were not being honored? Or did they just put them on hold and direct them from one department to another? However be careful with reviews online, some people down vote a company for very petty reasons like it was raining when they were in the city or they didn’t like their guide’s accent.
The last thing to remember here is that competent Vietnam travel agencies do exist, and they are delivering memorable experiences to thousands of visitors to the country every year. You just need to do your homework to find out about them.