I value independent travellers, all-inclusive package travellers and everybody in between. But I want to share some thoughts of why it's wise, economical and most sustainable to use a local travel agent or an international agent that uses local companies.
For local knowledge and a true cultural experience it makes sense to turn to the locals! You will have better access to places and you will get info of local customs. This is also the best way to get off the beaten track, as your local agent is the one who can arrange you to visit almost anywhere if you just ask them. The ready-made tours and packages are more like suggestions, but many other things can also be arranged.
2. It's economical
Cut the middle man! Big agencies might have even three different organisations that handle your travels – and also need to be paid. If you buy a whole package from a local agency, you might save money compared to doing it all on your own. Prices are fixed and if you by the whole package, there will usually be a discount in service prices.
3. Profit goes to local communities
A local company that is committed to sustainable development is always the best option. They will make sure you get a local hotel, local guides and also local knowledge. Making educated choices independently takes a lot of effort, and booking through big agencies you are most likely to end up in foreign owned big chain hotels.
4. Get the best value for your money
A local agent knows exactly who they are dealing with and can recommend the best hotels and services for your needs. They also know which ones are the best value and use them.
If something unexpected happens, you will have someone to call. Someone local, who knows how to handle situations in that environment and who speaks the same language with you.