Although online travel booking resources can be great for certain vacations, they’re not perfect for all. For trips that require transfers, foreign currency, several different hotel and activity bookings, travel insurance, connecting flights, and long periods of travel time, I strongly encourage you to book your entire trip through a trusted travel agent or tour operator—especially when that trip is an African safari vacation.
When you attempt to use travel resources online to plan your trip to Africa, you end up . . .
- Spending hours upon hours researching various destinations to find the right one for you (and with dozens upon dozens of countries in Africa to choose from—all different from the next—you’ll definitely soon find out that booking your trip to Africa has just become a full time job!).
- Printing dozens of pages of reservation and policy forms and end up with a huge (and most likely unorganized) cluster of papers.
- Ripping your hair out, trying to coordinate international and domestic flights, and the transfers you have to take to get to and from the airports.
- Getting confused on current visa and passport requirements.
- Increasing your stress level.
Booking with a travel professional who has acquired years upon years of knowledge about Africa compared to doing your own research and booking activities, flights, transfers, and accommodations can help save you time and frustration, and cut down tremendously on your stress levels.
So why choose to book a trip to Africa through a travel professional? Here are our top 10 reasons why:
1. Renowned agents and operators that specialize in Africa have visited the accommodations and destinations that they send their clients to, ensuring that standards and expectations are met for their valued clients. Travel professionals can also inform you if an accommodation is right for you based on your specific needs. For example, if you have physical disabilities (or you’re not as fit as you once were), an agent or operator knows if a property will be too difficult for you to access as many properties are located on hills or have steep design elements.
Also, some accommodations are constructed primarily out of canvas. An agent would be able to speak with you to understand your exact standards and comfort level and would be able to then advise you on the best accommodations for your personal preferences and needs.
2. Reputable African safari specialists have booked hundreds of trips to Africa so they know all the necessary steps in planning a successful and enjoyable African safari vacation for their clients.
3. Luxury agents and operators provide you with an organized travel journal or document holder that contains all necessary travel information and documents, as well as FAQs, contact details, and so much more. And, it’s all organized so that you never feel overwhelmed!
4. African safari travel agents stay up-to-date on visa and passport requirements, as well as exchange rates, political and social climates of each destination, and accommodation and activity pricing.
5. An experienced Africa specialist can ensure your hand is held through the travel process every step of the way. Anytime you travel outside the country, it can be a bit stressful and cause some discomfort. It’s always nice to know that someone reputable will be waiting for you at a foreign airport, ready to escort you to your accommodations. Also, if you plan on traveling to various countries during your African safari vacation, there will certainly be domestic air and road transfers involved. An agent can book those all for you to ensure that you are on time to your next destination and are taking safe travel means.
6. You can spend your time getting excited for your trip (and shopping for it!) as oppose to stressing over the finite details of planning it.
7. A travel professional who has spent their time building strong relationships with properties can transform your trip from fantastic to phenomenal with VIP status upgrades!
8. Tour operators and agents can include some delightful surprises in your African safari itinerary, such as a private dinner for two in the bush, or a private game drive that ends with sundowners on the river’s edge. If you booked your own trip you wouldn’t be able to add any little surprises—because that would defeat the whole purpose of a surprise!
9. High-end tour operators and safari specialists ask clients detailed questions to get a feel for what they’re looking for in a trip to Africa. This ensures that the client gets EXACTLY what they want.
10. African safari specialists know when the best times of year to go to certain destinations are and will inform you on where to travel during your travel dates window.