Post # 1
So we are interested in going to Istanbul/Greek Islands for our honeymoon. Other places we are considering are Paris/French Riveria. I found a travel agency that specializes in Turkey/Greece trips, and they sent me a quote.
Just for land + inter-place transportation they quoted us $2500 per person (so not including transatlantic airfare). Now they sent us a list of 4 hotels. I went to each hotel website and looked up the room rates for the rooms he quoted us. I added everything up (including some higher-up rooms and always choosing the high end high season price just in case) and it came out to $2900 TOTAL. I calculated the transportation online and it comes to $500 total for the two of us, again choosing everything on the high side. So that comes to $3400 for 2, vs $5000 for 2.
The travel agency told us that “Our close relationship with hotels and other travel suppliers has enabled us to negotiate special rates and offers for 2011 – many times on an exclusive basis.” So what gives? Why am I finding such a discrepancy in pricing? Am I missing something? Should I just book the same itinerary on our own?
Post # 3
Yes you’re being ripped off! $2500 a person just for driving around Greece? I’ve spent weeks in Europe for less than that (and that included airfare and hotels and food).
Book it yourself and don’t go through a travel agent. Are you staying in one place? Is this a group tour or something?
Post # 4
When you use a travel service, you pay a premium for their sevices, that’s how they make a profit and stay in business.
Post # 5
It is generally cheaper to book your own hotels, transportation etc. It just depends if you have time to do the required leg-work and if you’re interested in doing all the research that goes into a European vacation – if not, then others can do it, but they will charge a premium.
Did you make sure that when you compared the online rates with the hotels with the rates provided by the travel agency that you were comparing the same thing? As in, were they the same level of rooms (i.e. deluxe, superior, suite etc.) and did they have the same cancellation policies? Often you can get cheaper rooms online, but they are rates that you pay up front and aren’t able to cancel – the rates that do allow you to cancel are always more expensive.
Just to give you a ballpark though, Europe is expensive: we are doing two weeks in Portugal and Paris and excluding airfares, we are looking at about $6000-$7000 (including hotels, our apartment in Paris, car rental in Portugal, and food/incidentals).
Post # 6
Oh yeah, that is not a good price at all. I feel like travel agencies may be able to get you some extra perks if they have good relationships with places but their prices are not going to be very good. You can find MUCH better rates than that.
Post # 7
I can’t answer your question, but I wanted to tell you I love your username!!
Post # 8
As others have said, you’ll always get a better deal organizing it yourself (after all, you’re paying for the convenience of the package). That’s true for any continent and any package deal. Anything with “land, taxes, hotels, some meals” etc included will always be like double of just booking it yourself. They are selling you on the fact that you don’t have to do the research, make the reservations, find the bus fares, etc etc.
I don’t think it’s a scam as much as a) you’re paying for their time b) you’re paying for them to do all of the above for you and c) there are some incidentals that might actually cost extra (like them chartering a bus for the tour instead of taking a public bus).
Do it yourself, my friend!
Post # 9
Here’s the thing…
When hotels set their pricing, they set it knowing that they’re going to have to pay someone-whether it’s a travel agent that you meet in person, or an online agency. So when you book online yourself, you’re paying for a service that you’re not getting. Your hotel shouldn’t cost more to book it yourself than it does with an agent.
I often find that when you are comparing a package that you’ve found online to one that is given to you by a travel agent, that it may not be an exact apples to apples match. Are the room categories the same? Are the dates of travel the same? What about the transportation? Are you looking at ferries while they’re quoting inter-island air? Are they including meals that the online site isn’t? 9 times out of 10, when someone says ” I found it cheaper online” the packages are not truly the same.
I wouldn’t assume the worst. Most agents will offer a price match if you ask. But it does have to be the same rooms, dates, etc.
Post # 10
I actually chose rooms NICER than the ones he chose for us (he put standard, i chose deluxe), and the exact same dates. No meals included by him or by us. I actually looked at inter-island flights while he gave us ferries! That’s why the whole thing baffles me.
Post # 11
DON’T USE A TRAVEL AGENCY, at all! Seriously. That’s crazy. I’ve traveled extensively all over Europe, including Turkey and Greece. That price is insane. It does NOT cost that much to see Europe. PM me if you’d like some tips, info, etc.