How did you book your last trip? Did you sit online for hours, trawling through booking agents that all seemed the same, getting confused with all the options? Did you go through a global tour operator, but felt like a number rather than a free man or woman? Maybe you even suffered a busy Saturday in your crowded local travel agent. The stress of booking your adventure can detract from the fun, so if you’re planning to come to Tanzania this year (good choice!) here are 5 reasons why you should book with a local Tanzanian agency.

1. Local knowledge

There is no substitute for the people who really know Tanzania. The people on the ground have authentic local knowledge; the stuff you can never find online or in a guide book. They’ll know the best places to go and things to see – and when to see them. For instance, there’s no point booking an August vacation to check out the Great Migration in the Serengeti – you’ll only find the wildebeest have pushed north. A local agency can advise you correctly about where and when to see the things you want. They’ll know the great campsites, the amazing lodges – and the places to avoid. They’ll know the best restaurant in Arusha for Thai food; they’ll know whether your B&B in Moshi has a washing line and they’ll know the place to go for a decent pair of sandals, if you’ve managed to lose yours.  They’ll also be able to advise you on safety, manage your expectations and they’ll have vetted all the guides and tour operators they work with.

2. It’s Easy

Online communication makes booking with a local Tanzanian travel company as easy as booking with an agent at home. Global barriers have come down and technology allows you to email, Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook message Tanzanian booking agents. You’ll be able to chat, to ask lots of questions and to find out about your adventure all from the comfort of your own squishy sofa. There’s no language barrier for all the more common languages, either. Secure payment isn’t a problem but cover yourself even more by booking with a credit card rather than debit card.

3. It’s Personalised

With a local company, the person you’ve chatted with on Skype or by email will be your contact when you arrive. You’re not a faceless holidaymaker, but a flesh-and-blood traveller that they already know. They’ll know your preferences and you’ll feel like you‘ve met a new friend.

4. It’s Sustainable

We all know that we have to travel as sustainably as possible and one way to do this is to book locally. Unlike booking with global tour operators, the money you spend with a local agency usually stays local and has a ripple effect on the local area, more than you’d know. Yes, the agency will take their profit but it’ll go straight back into the local economy through buying local goods and services, and into the wages of employees.  Research shows that there’s a profound impact on keeping money circulating within a community, rather than it leaking outwards towards a non-local organisation. The money you spend with a local agency will strengthen job safety and make families more secure; which means education for the kids. So it’s not just your holiday that’ll make you feel good!

5. It’s Cheaper

Local booking agencies can afford to charge lower prices for safaris, Kilimanjaro expeditions and beach holidays in Zanzibar because they don’t have to pay any middle men. They buy all your treats and trips at source, rather than a global or non-local operator who would usually have to go through at least one level of middleman, who will take commission. Some package deals sold globally might include expensive add-ons that you just don’t want or need, that are factored into the price. Local booking agencies can be more flexible with what you want.

So if you’re thinking of a trip to Tanzania, with its stunning safaris, laid-back beaches and breathtaking mountains (Kilimanjaro, anyone?) then try booking direct with a local operator for a personalised adventure that won’t cost a fortune.