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See Colombia like a local. Work with a local to plan your trip.

Using a Travel Agency to Go to Colombia: The Pros & Cons

ViaHero
Updated November 16, 2020

Working with a travel agency can help relieve some trip planning stress—but working with a travel agent isn't always the best way to create your ideal Colombia itinerary.

Here, we look closely at the pros and cons of using a travel agency to go to Colombia, measured by price, experience, personalization, safety, availability, & authenticity.

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

#1: Price

Pros: Since travel agencies have connections with airlines, hotels, and tour groups, they're (theoretically) well-positioned to get you discounted rates. 

ConsMany travel agents work on commission—the more you spend, the more commission they receive. That means your dream Colombia itinerary might turn out to be a cookie-cutter trip, as agents will lean towards working with the companies that they know. As a result, your three days in Bogota might be filled with, well—filler activities. 

Ideally, trip planners who aren’t paid commission are the way to go here—especially if they can also help you budget your itinerary.

#2: Experience

Cartagena | Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash

Pros: Travel agents are known for their experience with trip planning. Generally, they're experts when it comes to Colombia tourism

ConsMost travel agents rarely travel to Colombia—and far fewer have actually lived there. Experience with trip planning simply can't replace local knowledge.

When you have a local plan your trip, they can share their experience and personal recs—whether you're hoping to explore Medellin or enjoy the beautiful Rosario Islands.

What kind of traveler are you?
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Enter your travel preferences below and we’ll connect you with a likeminded local in Colombia to help you plan your trip based on your specific interests.

#3: Personalization

Ráquira, Colombia | Michael Barón/Unsplash

Pros: Agents will generally provide travelers with a list of experiences to choose from—including day trips, lodging options, and different guided tours. However, these lists are limited to the agents' connections in any given country. 

ConsYou're effectively choosing from a list given to everyone else. If you want to spend 10 days in Colombia or if your Colombian itinerary spans 2 weeks or more, an agent will likely plan a trip that’s rigid and narrow in scope.

You're unique—and your travel style is, too. Maybe you want to embark on exciting day trips from Bogota. Or maybe you're hoping to travel to Colombia as a familyIf you really want to customize your Colombia experience, travel agencies may not be the best fit for you.

#4: Safety

Pros: Travel agents can give well-researched advice about staying safe in Colombia. 

ConsYou simply can't beat local, insider knowledge. Trip planners who live in Colombia can give plenty of advice on Colombia safety—drawn from their personal experiences.

Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.

#5: Availability

Woman in Bogota | Jorge Gardner/Unsplash

Pros: Of course, travel agents will be available to answer all your Colombia questions as they plan your trip. They can offer valuable insight and advice. 

ConsThis can be a different story once you arrive in Colombia. When you work with a local to plan your trip, they're more accessible. They're in your time zone—and will be available via phone if you run into issues during the course of your Colombia itinerary.

#6: Authenticity

Painting in Medellin | Willypomares/Pixabay

ProsIf an agent specializes in Colombia, then they'll be an expert about Colombian travel.

Cons: Nothing can replace local knowledge. If you have an agent plan your trip, you might get a good map to Colombia's big cities. But you'll miss out on the hidden gems that only locals know—coffee farms and islands that take some local know-how to find.

Conclusion: Have a local plan your trip

If you want to see Colombia like a local—not a tourist—work with one to plan your trip. Locals can create a unique itinerary customized to your interests and budget. 

A local trip planner can design a guidebook full of Colombia's unmissable highlights and incredible hidden gems. Plus, they'll be available with phone support in case you run into issues during your trip.

Welcome to traveling Colombia like a local.

Still have questions about travel to Colombia?
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

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