10 Things to Know Before you Book your African Vacation
Here are the 10 most important things to look for when choosing a travel agency to handle your trip to Africa. Whether you book with Ultimate Africa Safaris or another travel agency make sure you work with a company that:
1) has hands on knowledge. Make sure that whoever you book with has extensive personal travel experience in Africa. We know Africa intimately. Each of our professional safari consultants has lived and worked in Africa. We spend a 1/4 of every year in Africa inspecting safari properties. Managing director Ian Proctor has personally stayed at over 250 hotel / lodge / camp properties in east and southern Africa and inspected hundreds more! Our consultants spend 6 to 8 weeks each and every year in Africa; not only to insure that each property meets the high standards we demand for our clients (it is our policy to regularly, and personally, visit every property we recommend, and many others besides), but also because we love Africa and its wild areas.
2) is prompt and reliable. Are calls answered? Are emails and phone messages replied to in a timely manner? Does the company offer toll free number? We are best known for our attentive service, attention to detail, and honesty. Our Seattle office is open between 10 AM and 6 PM weekdays and we look forward to discussing the various travel options with you.
3) can handle all of your travel arrangements including accommodations, air tickets and travel insurance. We can and it pays to have one agency watching over your entire trip from start to finish.
4) does not charge a booking fee or a fee for changes to your itinerary (and these can be numerous). Ultimate Africa does not require an upfront deposit and we do not charge any booking or change fees. We do charge a US $50 person air ticket ticketing fee when issuing air tickets (we then handle all schedule changes / updates, seating, routing changes and so on - and these can be numerous).
5) accepts credit cards for payment. Charge cards provide better consumer protection than payments made by check or wire transfer. They also make payments simple. Ultimate Africa Safaris accepts payment by American Express, Master Card and Visa. Client's paying by check will receive a 2.5% discount on land prices.
6) is USA based / licensed / registered. Only 14 states license or regulate travel agents Of these states, there are currently only 6 states which require registration. Washington is one of these states. Ultimate Africa is licensed and registered in Washington State.
7) carries liability insurance. The world is not a perfect place. Therefore Ultimate Africa carries a US $1 million dollar “Errors and Omission” insurance policy.
8) is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) which is recognized as the leading symbol of travel professionalism and integrity. This is the affiliation most often endorsed by the media when recommending how to find a reliable travel agent. All ASTA member agents must abide by ASTA’s consumer oriented ethics. Ultimate Africa is an ASTA member.
9) is endorsed by the International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN). To be endorsed by IATAN a company must show a multiyear record of annual sales exceeding US $250,000, must have approval letters from industry leaders, and must carry an US $1 million liability insurance policy. Fly by night companies cannot meet these requirements. Ultimate Africa is endorsed by IATAN.
10) is friendly! Planning a trip to Africa is an exciting process, made even more so when you are working with a travel agent who is both friendly and passionate about what they do! Call Ultimate Africa toll free 1 800 461 0682 (we are in between 10 AM and 6 PM weekdays in Seattle) and start planning your dream safari today!