“There are [Bolivian] national elections on the 15th of October…”: what makes a great travel agent

The Rapid Traveler enjoys the challenge of DIY travel so rarely works with travel agents. But there are cases whether by regulation or obstacle it is expedient for him to work with an agent. This week he is reminded how helpful a competent agent looking after the best interests of customers can be. On Saturday he departs for his two week South America trip thanks to BA miles, and for Bolivia the itinerary is typically tight and dependent on flight, bus and tour all working without a hiccup. Booking online was not easy and waiting until arrival seemed dicey.

So, after careful research The Rapid Traveler connected with Vivian Blanco at Bolivia Travel Site. Vivian is everything that an agent needs to be: responsive, knowledgeable, fair, and caring. She met all requests at reasonable, transparent prices, and even made sure to caution against altitude affects. But where she really excelled was the email that began, “There are national elections on the 15th of October, according to Bolivian laws no vehicles circulation and commercial activities are allow. I spoke with Todo Turismo manager yesterday and confirmed that they won’t work 15th and 16th of October. For your way back you can take Panasur Bus instead, they will work normally on the 16th.” And Panasur is cheaper and she duly lowered the price, though the $16 savings is a pittance compared to being stranded in Uyuni.

La Paz

La Paz, Bolivia, photo by Phillie Casablanca

The Rapid Traveler never mentioned this blog to Vivian but for being proactive and considerate she deserves special mention. Those considering a trip to Bolivia, and from the pictures Bolivia looks awesome, would do well to consult her.

Readers, what travel agents have made your day or saved your bacon?

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