Post # 1
I’ve never used a travel agent before so I’m not really sure where to start, has anyone used a travel agent for their honeymoon or was it DIY? I am thinking of doign a St. Lucia Honeymoon? Stonefield Estate Villas and Ti Kaye Village have been recommended to me, does anyone else have any suggestions?
Post # 3
I have used a travel agent before for another trip, it was really easy and they did everything for us we just decided time to fly out and time to fly back. It was good they do however charge you a fee or a certain percentage to use them. With all the websites and resorts now a days it is just as easy to DIY. We are going on a 8 day southern carribean cruise and we are going to book everything our selves, we want to eliminate the middle man and skip the extra charge for their help. Hope this helps good luck!!
Post # 4
The advantage to an agent is if you have really complicated reservations, maybe multiple destinations, things like scheduled transportation from place to place. A group of us do a trip every other year to Europe, and we always use an agent – because that way if the bus doesn’t show up, or we get to the hotel and the reservations are a mess, you just call the agent and they work it out. They can recommend the style of hotel you want, or a convenient location, which is nice if you are winging it making reservations in Barcelona. And especially in smaller towns in Europe, where you maybe can’t make your reservations by internet, the agent gets to stay up until midnight to make the phone calls, and has to deal with the Turkish hotel owner who speaks really oddly accented English.
If you are going on a pretty straightforward trip, one or two destinations, lots of information on the internet, and the people there speak English, I would just book it yourself. Generally a good resort hotel will be able to set you up with activities and tours in advance (if you want to scuba dive, for instance, or sea kayak) without charging you a fee.
Post # 5
I really think it depends on how much you are willing to research and how complicated your trip is. My best friend and I have researched and coordinate whole trips with buses and trains and flights in between by ourselves, so it can be done. If you think you are going to be trying to do mulitple destinations in one country then perhaps one might be helpful to you. At the same time, it seems you are looking at one country and very specific places to stay. I would look online to see if there are any specific deals you can find and also look at the resort’s website to see if they are sponsoring any deals directly through them. I booked a package from a resort once and it included lodging, most of my meals and a few activities.
Post # 6
Travel agents are the way to go, and will be the most flexible option. You will pay a nominal fee for them to book your airfare (usually $30-$50 per ticket), and that’s it. The hotel & car companies will pay the agent a fee for the reservation, so you’re not stuck with it.
The majority of resorts/hotels have travel agent-specific deals that are almost always lower than what you can find on the Net, so by using an agent, you’ll get a good price.
The best thing about an agent is that if you have any changes for any reason, your agent will be easier to get a hold of and will make all the changes for you. Also, they have access to all airlines, hotels, etc. so they do the research for you to provide the fares/options avail based on your parameters.
If you book on one of the travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, etc., they are acting as the travel agent, so they get you the cheaper price, but the miserable part is if you have to make any changes, they are impossible to get a hold of, and you talk to someone at some call center in India.
The other safe bet besides booking through an agent is to book directly through the resort’s site or the airlines site. Sometimes you get better Internet deals that way. If you opt for this route, use Expedia, etc. to search for the flights/hotels that would work for you, then go directly to the resort/airline to book or see if they have an even better fare if you book directly. Good luck.
Post # 7
I concur with pp’s opinions above. We normally book everything through Expedia or Orbitz, even flights to HK and thailand.
But for our honeymoon, we’re planning on going to Bora Bora, which is an area we are not familiar with, plus we have to fly into a main city first (Papette) and then stay one night, then fly to the island. We didn’t want to deal with all the little transfers and fees and VATS, so we just turned everything over to a travel agent.
If you are going to St. Lucia only, you may have to stop in San Juan or Barbados (http://stlucia-guide.info/getting.there/air.travel/) before you reach the island. But I think this is relatively straightforward to book by yourself.
I believe Mrs. Ant had posted about her minimoon to St. Lucia so check that out! http://www.weddingbee.com/2006/12/01/st-lucia-minimoon/
Post # 8
We went the DIY route. My FH did the leg work and got non stop flights from Newark to Honalulu for $650 a piece and that was after taxes! He went the non conventional route and booked bunglows rooms in B& B rather than going to hotels. So far he has booked the flights (two to/from Honalulu and the other from/to Honalulu to the Big Island, our rooms, 2 cars rentals and our snorkel gear) for under $5k. Not to shabby!
Post # 9
Travel agents do not charge a fee or percentage — they are paid by the airlines, cruises, and resorts they book. The are NOT allowed to charge the customer directly. A close friend of mine (and one of my bridesmaids) is a travel agent and I booked my honeymoon through her. Anyone who has been charged a fee from their travel agent was ripped off.
Post # 10
Let me correct calicoteach on something-actually, some travel agents do charge fees and there is nothing wrong with doing so. The airlines no longer pay commissions, and hotel commissions are not very much. You aren’t being ripped off. Calicoteach’s friend probably works for a large agency in some way-perhaps she’s an extension of Amex or Navigant, and they get paid differently. She might also do what I do, which is corporate travel-but is allowed to do stuff for friends on the side. Just because an agent is charging fees does not mean they’ve ripped you off.
Having said that, it depends. If you aren’t familiar with the area, and don’t feel like spending a lot of time doing research, or you’re planning a complicated itinerary, an agent may be the way to go.
Post # 11
Ninanina is right, the arilines no longer pay commissions, so it’s definitely fair for a travel agent to chage a $30-$50 fee for their services, especially when they are doing all the work and getting you a good price on your trip. They do make a small commission from hotels/car rentals.
Travel agents are in the service biz. We pay for other service oriented products, they have a right to get paid, too!
You can always talk to an agent and see what itineraries & prices they come up with, then do your own research to see if you can get a better deal or just confirm that your agent is getting you a good deal.
Post # 12
We are going to St. Lucia on our honeymoon in June. I have never been there, but am excited to go. We are staying at TiKaye Village and I thought the rates were reasonable. We are totally splurging though and if you are looking to stay under a budget, it may not be for you. Thats where I think travel agents can be helpful. And there is always the reassurance that if something happens, you may be able to do something about it. We went the do-it-ourselves route and I am not the least bit worried about it. We will just roll with it. But maybe a travel agent can reccommend other places that you havent thought of that are also in your budget. I am sure they get really good deals on stuff. And you have the piece of mind that you arent going to be sent to a dump.
Cant wait for St. Lucia!