Thoughts on the good-better-best travel agencies to work with

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi @asb983:  Travel Nut here… in so much as I am semi-retired, and Mr TTR & I travel quite a bit.

I just did a very lengthy reply this past week for another Bee on Travel Agents, for your convenience I will copy it here:

== cut & paste ==

Once upon a time the average joe (or jane) didn’t have access to all the info we have now at the touch of our fingertips with the Internet… if you wanted to book a vacation to a far off Destination you had to use a Travel Agent.

Travel Agents sell you products, and make a commission off the sale, or sales volume (ie they sell you a spot with an AI they get a kick back… they sell so many seats with Amerian Airlines in a month, they get a kick back etc)

So altho they may know a lot of stuff* … they are also just as likely to point you to specific products that give THEM (not you) the best deal

The internet is great, if you have a bit of time, you can research and see a lot of things at once and compare at your leisure.

And more often than not the best deals can be made when you book yourself directly with a seller… be it an Airline, Hotel, etc.

I don’t use a Travel Agent for bookings… I do all my own.  And I’ve found that to be quite reasonable for me…

Online services like Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Priceline etc… these are all “electronic” Travel Agents… 3rd Party Resellers.

IF you find a good deal with one of them, I highly recommend that you call Airline, Hotel, etc directly to see if they will MEET or BEAT the deal you’ve found.  Most often they will.

IF they don’t… more often than not it is because they’ve sold a block of “slow moving” product to the 3rd Party Reseller to move for them… so example, their worst rooms… like the ones next to the elevator, or over the loading dock etc.

Then you have to make up your mind… is ANY room in the $ 400 a night hotel worth $ 150 a night… even if it means the room is crappy, but the Hotel is great.

For some travellers that is a good deal / trade off.  For others not so much.

The thing is tho, if you don’t buy direct from the Airline / Hotel etc, and go thru an Online Reseller, you usually have little to no recourse.  The front desk will most often tell you… “Sorry we have no other rooms” (even if they do)… because you have been sold an AS IS product.

Most customers using these online Resellers aren’t aware of that.

Personally… I think $ 3000 is a decent budget for Mexico… I think you will most certainly find something that works.  Whether you do so on your own or go thru a travel agent is up to you…

But now you know the facts on how it all works.

* PS – Every Travel Agent will know different things depending on how much travel they’ve done or what their Agency specializes in.  There are Agencies that focus on Cruising, Europe, or Caribbean & Winter Getaways.  And there are Agencies that do it all.  Truthfully finding an individual agent that is going to know a lot about any one specific place on the planet (ieMexico) is going to be hit & miss.  My best advice is do some reading & research on your own own on where you might like to go… Cabo, Cancun, Mayan Riviera etc… good places to start are Wikipedia (general overview) – and Tourism Websites (every Country, Region, City etc has one) – and websites like TripAdvisor.  TONS of info to be found on TA.

Then at least if you do decide to go with a Travel Agent, you’ll not be going in cold, and have some basic info… or with a little more time you’ll be quite easily prepared to do it all on your own (and probably save some bucks too).

After you have an idea of WHERE… you can always post a Question here too… lots of Bees with great Honeymoon Experiences to share.

== end ==

My reply was # 3 in this topic = http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/travel-agent-help-please#ixzz2kzE3xn3Z and thre was also input from other Bees as well.

Your budget of $ 2500 is less than that of the previous poster… but then again you are looking for a shorter amount of time than she was.

Is $ 2500 do-able ?  Well it depends on WHERE you want to go, WHERE you are starting from, and WHAT your expectations are, as well as WHEN / time of year

Info I cannot really comment on at this point in time, as your WBee Profile doesn’t reveal that info (ie Your Location & Wedding Date)

AIs are popular choices for Honeymoons… but they are all not created equal.

AIs are most popular in places that otherwise have issues attracting Tourists… be that because of Political, Social or Economic issues (including Personal Safety, Medical, etc)… so remember that CHEAP is CHEAP for a reason… the best deals are to be found in Cuba – Dominican Republic – Jamaica – and Mexico… and it is because as I said they all have “not ideal” situtations going on with them.

Can you still have a good time ?  Sure, just be aware that there can be issues… my current ranking would be:

  1. Cuba (if you aren’t living in the USA, this is a great inexpensive Caribbean Destination)
  2. Mexico (I personally give this one a YELLOW FLAG… go with caution)
  3. Jamaica (YELLOW-RED FLAG… I won’t go here anytime soon… too many issues)
  4. Dominican Republic (RED FLAG… I won’t be returning… too many serious issues)

Other Countries / Islands in the Caribbean will offer up more opportunities… a mix of both AIs and regular Holidays that you can buy for a flat price (without food) from a Travel Agent… or organize on your own.

There are more options in these other places cause the Islands have less “issues… BUT because they are more progressive, they will also be more expensive.  And in some cases VERY EXPENSIVE (ie Barbados is super expensive because it is one of the few 1st World Countries in the Caribbean… it doesn’t need tourist dollars as desperately as say a 2nd or 3rd world country does).  People naturally go to Barbados cause it is Politcially stable, Safe, has a good supply of Clean Water etc.

If you are a US or Canadian Bee looking for warm and cheap, your best value may very well be found in the USA (particularly so in the Wintertime).  Flights to Florida can be ridiculously inexpensive… and Florida is an AMAZING STATE with TONS to see and do.

Plus there is the common element that counts for a lot (and also means saved money)… English Spoken – US Currency – Familiar Food – Culture etc.  And Florida is really very safe.

Florida is a vibrant state… and offers up everything from Historic Landmarks (St Augustine… the oldest settlement in the Continental USA) thru to Big Cities (Tampa & Miami)… to Sporty Relaxation (Golf at the World Golf Hall of Fame – Boating / Yachting)… to the HUGE Entertainment Parks (Busch Gardens – Disney – Universal) … to Adventure (Ocean Sport Fishing – Hovercrafting in the Everglades)… to “a touch of the Caribbean” in the Florida Keys.

You could spend MONTHS in Florida and not see it all !!

OR you could take a Caribbean Cruise of of one of the many Florida Cruise Ports (Jacksonville – Port Canaveral – Tampa – Port Everglades in Ft Lauderdale – or Miami).  A cruise can be the best of BOTH worlds… the “familiarity” of the USA, and the chance to see a bit of other Destinations.  (ie although I am not a fan of Jamaica to go to for an extended vacation, I would go there on a cruise, and take a Cruise Excursion for the day in so much as I know the Cruise Line has vetted everything such as the Transportation being relatively safe & reliable … I would also make sure to take a few necessary precautions… like leaving my jewellery locked up on the ship).

So… lots to think about.

Hope this helps,

 

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