Post # 1
I’ve been wondering this question for a while. Fiance and I always kind of argue about it but I have no idea who’s right 🙂
Does it cost us more for a trip if we go to a travel agent? I say no… I’ve heard they get paid by the the other sourse (travel website maybe?). Fiance thinks that by going to a travel agent, it costs us more for the trip.
I feel more comfortable going a travel agent then booking online myself. Fiance has no problem booking online.
What are the benefits of going to a travel agent? And what are the benefits of NOT going to one?
Post # 3
We’re wondering the same thing! Can’t wait to hear feedback, but I’d like to piggyback on another question – if you did use a travel agent, how in the world did you find one? We’ve never used one, and don’t know anyone who has, so I have no clue how to find a good one, and I don’t want to end up with some random person who’s just using expedia!
Post # 4
I don’t think it necessarily costs more to go through a travel agent. I think the main advantage of booking through a travel agent is that it’s a “one-stop shop”- if you need plane tickets, train tickets and hotel reservations, for example, you’d be able to get those all through the travel agent and they’d take care of finding you the best places and rates.
We ended up booking our honeymoon through the travel agents at AAA, and I had a good experience with them. We priced out the whole thing, and I think in total it was about $9 more to go with them than to book it ourselves, but they found us a really good flight deal that I would not have been able to find and I consider that hugely beneficial. Plus, they do offer travel insurance, so if you’re interested in that for an extra charge it is a plus.
Post # 5
We went to Mexico in November with 11 other people. We went through a travel agent because there were so many of us and we wanted to make sure we were all on the same flight, etc… One of the couples we went with use her all the time so thats why we went with her.
Now if we decide to book our honeymoon thru a travel agent, my mom has recommended one in our city that she knows thru her curling team.
I THINK you could just go to a mall and find one. I think most are pretty good… or ask around? I really don’t know 🙂
Post # 6
for our specific honeymoon, in the US, it ended up being cheaper for us to book it ourselves than to have a travel agent do it. I did get a consult with one, but I was able to find better deals online. We also didn’t use her because she didn’t quite get the feel we were going for for our trip (I mentioned we wanted to try and stay in B&B’s for most of the trip – she recommended the Travel Lodge; whaa?). If you are going for an all-inclusive or a cruise though I understand that you can get great deals through a travel agency that aren’t available other places. I also think that the convenience of travel agent works well if you are uncomfortable with doing or not as skilled at all the hours and hours and hours of research that online booking requires. It sounds like you’ve used a travel agent before, and if thats what you are comfortable with and it’s worked for you, I’d say use an agent. If its a matter of convincing your fiance, maybe you can do some research with a travel agent and he can look online and whichever looks like the better deal for what you want, go with that.
Post # 7
It really depends. When we were trying to book our honeymoon we talked with two different agents to see who could get us the best deal. The one was quoting prices that were essentially what we were seeing online, or even slightly to moderately more expensive. The second was quoting us cheaper prices on some things and the same as online on others. The second one was able to charges us lower prices for things like resorts because she has affiliations with them and when she books a trip at those places she gets paid by them, so that is why some things were cheaper, because she had an “in” with them. So it really depends on how your travel agent gets “paid” and what ties they have.
Post # 8
We used a travel agent for our Honeymoon. The benefit is you may be going to an unfamiliar place and they are the experts and can give you feedback on the properties. For example, we wanted an adults-only all-inclusive. One of our top picks appeared to be child-friendly, but the travel agent was able to inform us that they have a sister property that is adult-only, something we coudln’t find on the website.
ALSO, if you’re a budget bride like me.. the travel agent is a good option, because you can put down a deposit and then make payments on that like your other wedding items.
Post # 9
There is no simple answer to this. I decide whether or not to use one depending on where I am going. I always use a travel agent the first time I visit a foreign country. A travel agent can arrange safe transportation, provide you with local customs information, arrange tours that will pick you up at your hotel, etc. These are all things that would be difficult to arrange without knowing how things work locally. A travel agent is also good in case you are visitng a place where there is a lot of corruption or mismanagement because if something goes wrong, you can call the agent and they will be on your side and try to fix things.
For example, in some cities the taxi cabs are safe and relaible, and in others they turn off the meter and try to charge tourists 5x the normal fare. A travel agent could tell you not to take a cab and to take a shuttle bus instead. This could save you a lot of money.
As for cost, it really depends. If you are planning on a budget but you hire an agent called “Luxury Vacations” then they probably have certain level of vendor that they work with and will not go below. Like, they won’t arrange overnight train tickets below Gold class, even if Basic class is what you can afford. So if you want to save money then be sure to hire a budget travel agent.
Post # 10
Pertaining to cost, it’s about he same. I used to work in the travel industry and I learned that, just as airlines and hotels set aside a specific number for seats/rooms for expedia/travelocity/etc., travel agents have access to the same type of offers (although they are coded differently). So, you may be able to find something cheaper if you look on different websites long enough but you may never see the same flight the travel agent is offering. We booked through the agent at AAA. We looked up the vacation ourselves and found a price within $10 (I think she was like $7 cheaper). Basically we went there for the insurance option and she was able to offer us better flight times than I could find online at the same price point. This is not always true but we are going to the Carribean during hurricane season so we wanted a third party to handle our booking and confirm that we have the right insurance in case someting happens. Also, some agents have been to several of their top selling properties so it is nice to get a first hand account and recommendations on where to stay, what to do , etc. I am sure they are rewarded by these properties but they can also call in favors like a top floor room or early check-in at some places as well so it all balances out.
Post # 11
I’m a bit biased because I never use travel agents, but I prefer the flexibility that booking yourself allows. Travel agents often promote those resorts, companies, etc that they’re affiliated with rather than giving you all the options. The price is similar to what you can get yourself.
I think a lot of people are intimidated by doing travel research themselves. But it’s not hard at all, I promise. Forums like the ones at Fodors.com are superhelpful (like weddingbee, but for travel planning!) and there are a ton of resources on the web.
I think there are only two situations in which a travel agent is preferable: 1) you have no time to do research 2) you don’t like planning vacations.
Post # 12
Wow thanks for all the info.
I’m still leary about booking a trip myself. I’ve only traveled once and that was to Mexico in November with 11 other people. Most of the people we went with have travelled before so we were able to just follow them.
I dont want to forget anything by doing it on my own :-s…. if that makes sense.
Post # 13
totally understandable. I’d book it with an agent then for the ease and convenience. Navigating all the travel research websites can be intimidating if you aren’t familiar with them or aren’t familiar with the some of the common travel details to remember.
Post # 15
We booked our honeymoon through a TA and it was actually cheaper then anywhere else we found it! She’s also been extremely helpful and I’ve been much less stressed because of her. We are going to Hawaii and I can’t wait!