First you may be wondering what the difference between the Consolidator and the Travel Agency is. Well, in simple layman's terms, both are used for getting airfare and accommodations at a discounted rate. However, the consolidator is often times the best resource for a cheaper fare. Consolidators normally handle flights abroad and specialize, just like the travel agency, in getting their clients the best deal.
Typically, the Travel Agent discounts fares, allowing a savings to their clients. However, the Consolidator normally marks up the fare a fraction of what the travel agency does, allowing the client an even larger savings. And, the package is normally purchased cheaper than that of the travel agency, so the deals can be unheard of.
Now, both are flexible with travel dates. And, when you plan early, you can get excellent rates from both! However, the Consolidator gets the best deals on the market. But, the Agency normally has the deals come to them, whereas, the Consolidator looks each day for the best deals to offer his clients. Meaning, he is presenting the best fares available. Sound enticing? It is. One click on a Consolidator's site and you will see the tremendous savings.
With both the Travel Agency and the Consolidator, rates are subject to the available space and will not be guaranteed until ticketed. Well, you may find a Travel Agency that will lock in your rate, but not likely without a credit card. With the Consolidator, fares require an advance purchase.
Travel Agencies offer the client insurance. Well, there is no need to worry, the Consolidator will also have insurance available and this is often times discounted over that of the Travel Agency.
Your next thought may be refunds and penalties, especially when it seems as though it is already too good to be true. Well, both the Agency and the Consolidator do differ a bit. Just as the Travel Agency, the Consolidator has many fares that are non-refundable and some that are non-changeable. Consolidator's may charge a penalty for a change in flight, but this will depend on the Consolidator.
So, if you are looking for really cheap flights, definitely consider the Consolidator, where cheap doesn't have to do with a lack of quality.