1. Belongs to a good network of air carriers, tour operators and hotel partners:
Travel agents these days are connected and networked in a way that they could not have been before the age of the Internet. However, having a computer and an Internet connection are not sufficient qualifications for being a travel agent that can get the best deals. For starters, good agents belong to networks of airlines, tour operators and hotels that offer them (and their clients) the best rates.
2. Speaks both English and Japanese:
It is a huge benefit if your agent can fluently speak your own language, as well as Japanese. This way, they can handle your planning needs while staying in touch with their own network of operators in Japan on a daily basis.
3. Is knowledgeable about your travel insurance options:
You may or may not require travel insurance, but it is a good idea to find an agent who can offer you travel insurance coverage options and who can competently recommend a customized plan if asked.
4. Has offices in your home country and in Japan:
Many of the larger agent networks have offices internationally. Once you have actually arrived in Japan, it would be convenient if your travel agent’s company had offices in Japan that you could call for help or advice in a pinch.
5. Has personally used the services they recommend:
Travel agents who actually have been on the tours and use the carriers they recommend are the ones you can trust. They know from experience what they are talking about.