Travel Agent? Help, please!

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I have used American Express travel agents frequently in the past, but it’s been a few years.  I don’t recall if you need to have a card with them or can just use them but they charged a small fee (like $25-$50… no more than that then).  They would try to find the best deals and always notify me if something changed (before the airlines!… sometimes airlines didn’t notify me at all).  I would have to tell them I was looking for budget or they wouldn’t look at the cheapest fares though.

For our honeymoon I booked the hotel, but used my work travel agent for flights.  A division of a local bank and they only charged $25.  They also have a personal travel division, which is what I asked my usual work travel agent for, but she said the cost is the same and she’d be happy to do it for me instead of sending me to someone else… since we had a several year working relationship I was more than happy to work with her and not stress about hunting down airfare

I’ve never been able to find better than the travel agents and sometimes they have access to deals I don’t, as in if I tried everything I knew I couldn’t find the price they could.

Sorry I don’t have any advice on how to find the good ones, I’ve been super lucky and only used American Express and our local bank travel agent (who of course I only knew about because of work).

A good travel agent should search and find what best fits your needs (price, times, etc), they also usually have travel insurance that comes with using them, and they are supposed to check for reduced prices on your flights and you can get a refund if the cost goes down more than $X.

 

Post # 4
Member
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

@iheartcake:  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 stuf* … 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 (ie Mexico) 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.

 

Post # 5
Member
42522 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@iheartcake:  Do a search on websites like Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, etc for all-inlcusive vacations. The resorts on the west side of Mexico will be less expensive because they are closer to you.

Sort the results by price. Then look up reviews of the resorts on Tripadvisor.

Post # 6
Member
3280 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

FI and I went in to a travel agent to book our honeymoon and they quoted us $6,000. I booked the EXACT same trip on Expedia for $4,000 (same room and flight). We are also going to Mexico but for 6 nights. The only difference was that there would be an Apple associate at the hotel, but I wasn’t going to pay 2K for that! Both trips included full insurance and roundtrip transfers. For $3,000 you’re not going to get top notch hotels in Mexico for 10nights. I’m sure there are plenty of 4 starts, maybe a few 5 stars that you could find for 10 nights at that price. I would start with the top travel sites, expedia, orbitz, travelcity, cheapcarribean, etc. Then take those prices to a travel agent and see if they can beat them. 

Post # 8
Member
457 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Mabye all the fun honeymoon research will help ease some of the wedding planning stress!

Definitely do the planning yourself; with, I’d suggest, the help of TripAdvisor Destination Experts.

For $3,000, you’ll first want to figure out where in Mexico you can go for the cheapest possible airfare. Get a couple of possible destinations in mind, and then go on the TripAdvisor forums for those destinations and start asking your questions. Give them your nightly accomodations budget and also ask about most interesting activities and best-value restaurants in the area.

If you’re in California, Baja or the west coast will probably be the cheapest flights; but yuo won’t really know until you start looking.

Here’s a helpful article about Baja:

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-best-of-baja

Zihuatanejo would be an awesome (and not so crowded!) honeymoon destination:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g150795-Zihuatanejo_Pacific_Coast-Vacations.html

Anyway, have fun planning!

Post # 9
Member
219 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@iheartcake:  We are doing a 5 night all inclusive stay in Mexico this February and our total is $2,783.08. We went through a travel agent who didnt charge us anything. Im assuming she gets commision of the booking. Our travel agent is a local lady who runs her own business. We chose a not too nice but not trashy package and resort but id say you may have to move your bugdet up to about $3500 if your wanting something decent for 10 nights based off of what we found. Try going to http://www.expedia.com/All-Inclusive-Vacations and searching through some different areas. This is what we did and the prices we found were equivalent to what the travel agent came back with.

Post # 10
Member
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@iheartcake:  Check out CheapCaribbean.com if you haven’t already, too. They’ve had the best deals of anyone I’ve seen, and they offer trip protection.

Post # 11
Member
457 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@iheartcake:  OP, too funny! Just reading about Zihuatanejo when I was answering your question got me all excited. I haven’t been to Mexico in 30 years, but this spot really intrigues me now!

Check out this totally cool resort – prices are around $109-$139 a night, the reviews are great, and the rooms look awesome:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g150795-d156770-Reviews-Casa_Cuitlateca-Zihuatanejo_Pacific_Coast.html

http://www.casacuitlateca.com/

 

 

Post # 12
Member
2823 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@iheartcake:  If you have an AAA membership definitely check with them as well. I’ve used them multiple times to book trips. Some trips I book on my own using sites like Expedia and sometimes I use AAA. It really depends who I can get the best deal with. Our AAA travel agent does not charge a fee and allows you to make a deposit on your trip $150 per person and then pay the balance 30 days before the trip.

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