10 things to ask a tour operator

We have compiled a list of posers that you must forward to your travel facilitator before you reach for your credit card.

Whether you are booking a holiday through an online travel portal or are relying on a tour operator, being a sceptic can save you a lot of money - and remorse. As it is more important to ask the right questions than to obtain correct answers to the wrong queries, we have compiled a list of posers that you must forward to your travel facilitator before you reach for your credit card.

Answer the following questions in 'Yes' or 'No' to know whether your travel agent is giving you a fair deal or if you are being shortchanged.

Price of the package

  1. Are taxes and surcharges included in the quoted price?
  2. Is booking fee applicable separately to components like tickets, hotels, etc, instead of a single fee for the entire package?
  3. Is there a transaction charge applicable to credit card payments?
  4. Is there a fee for plan modification in addition to cancellation?

Fine print for low costs

  1. Will I get a hopping flight as it’s cheaper than a direct flight?
  2. Will I be put up in a hotel that is under renovation?
  3. Can I choose my hotel room’s location, away from public areas?
  4. Will I have to pay entrance fees at tourist spots while sightseeing?

Pricing structure

  1. Does my package fall under the transparent pricing plan (which allows the choice of airlines and hotels, among others)?
  2. Can I negotiate for more information under the opaque pricing plan (where hotel and airline is revealed after full payment)?
  3. Can I modify my travel dates Illustrations: RAJ s under opaque pricing?

Reaching the destination

  1. Does ‘direct flight’ with a single flight number mean a non-stop flight to the destination?
  2. If I have to change flights and miss the connecting flight, will I be compensated for it?
  3. Will I be remunerated if my baggage is lost?

Deal with meals

  1. Can I choose between a buffet and a la carte service?
  2. Will my religious culinary preferences be taken care of?
  3. In a Modified American Plan package, where I get breakfast and my choice of lunch or dinner, can I switch the meals?

Sightseeing trips

  1. Can I choose the places of tourist interest that I want to see?
  2. Will an air-conditioned vehicle be used for sightseeing?
  3. Will I be assigned a trained guide instead of a chauffeur-cum-guide?

The paperwork

  1. Will the agency help in submitting and collecting travel documents?
  2. Given that visa/vaccination requirements vary for different countries, can you guarantee accurate and updated information?
  3. Do I need a valid passport for at least six months after reaching the destination, irrespective of when I plan to leave?

Travel insurance

  1. Am I adequately covered for medical emergencies while on a holiday?
  2. Does my insurance plan also cover baggage and passport loss?
  3. Can I pay on a per-day basis and not for a pre-defined tour period?


  1. Is there a 24x7 toll-free helpline number?
  2. Do you have a representative at my holiday destination?
  3. Can you guarantee a refund within 5-10 working days?

Agency’s speciality

  1. Will a niche agency give me a better rate than an ordinary operator?
  2. Have you personally tried the activities or been to the places you are recommending to ensure a problem-free vacation for me?