(Closed) To use a travel agent or not??

posted 6 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Depends on where you’re planning on going and how complicated the travel will be.  If you are flying into one city and staying there or using a tour group then I would say “meh” to a travel agent (*unless they specialize in travel to a specific foreign country.)  If you are trying to do a whirlwind tour of an area where you will need multiple hotels and transportation arranged or the place where you are going has a drastically different culture, there is nothing like having a travel agent to make sure things run more smoothly and you have someone else to argue and iron out any issues you may run into.

Post # 4
Member
1304 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am a control freak who likes to do her own research, so I try to avoid using travel agents.  Two exceptions: India and Zimbabwe, where local expertise was essential to plan a good itinerary, and ground transfer arrangements were critical to a smooth and safe trip.

Post # 5
Member
5956 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

I find that when travelling internationally, a travel agent is invaluable and worth the cost.  There are local practices and laws that they will know, which you do not and any consierge service they offer is worth the money after an international flight.

Post # 6
Member
1227 posts
Bumble bee

Most of our holiday travel is to all-inclusive resorts. We always book through an agent.  The only time we haven’t was last year when we traveled by airmiles and stayed in a vacation home rental.

A year and a half ago, we had booked a trip to Cuba and had to travel to Montreal for our flight. There was a seat sale for the domestic flights on, so we had her book those for us, as well as our vacation package. All of this we could have done ourselves online, and the price we paid was exactly what we would have paid online.

About 3 weeks before we left, the vacation company changed the flights to, and returning from, Cuba. Our agent was able to notify us right away, as well as adjust our domestic connections (which were no longer suitable). She also filed paperwork to try to recover our change fees for us (unsuccessfully, but she tried). Anyhow, i’m not sure how or when we would have found out about the change in departure and arrival times, and without our agent it would have probably been quite stressful.  It’s nice to have someone there to take care of things if anything goes wrong.

We don’t pay a “fee” to our agent. The agents get their commissions from the tour companies and the airlines. I assume it works this way for most agents now.

Post # 7
Member
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

We decided to go with a travel agent.  Have you traveled out of the country before?  That was the main reason we went with one.  We are going to St. Lucia, an island we could probably have planned a visit to ourselves, but the agent really helped (answered all of our questions, gave us feedback she had had from other clients that took the same trip, and made sure we knew what we needed and when to get it by.)  It means you have one less worry while planning your wedding, because you have a professional working with you.  I recommend it.  I don’t remember what the fees were, but they must not have been much, because we wouldn’t have paid anything ridiculous.  For 6 days it’s a little over 5,000 for an all inclusive resort (thats with plane tickets.)

 

Good luck!

Sarah

Post # 8
Member
2715 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We went to Moorea and Bora Bora for our Honeymoon and used a travel agent.  It was honestly one of our best decisions.  He took care of everything for us.  We gave him a budget and an idea of what we were looking for and he booked the hotels, coordinated our flights, arranged all of our other transportation, got us travel insurance, and booked us some lagoon and reef tours. He also saved us hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars when compared to booking by ourselves online.  He did have a fee, but it was only $100.  Well worth it.

It was also VERY nice not to have to worry about planning a Honeymoon while also trying to plan a wedding.

Post # 9
Member
4439 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

I vote no, but I’m a big DIY-er when it comes to travelling, I want to know EVERYTHING about where we’re going so I’m fine with doing the work.

If you have an idea of where you want to go that helps, fellow Bees have lots of good advice too and then I searched on Tripadvisor (LOVE TRIPADVISOR!!) to find hotels and things to do.

I went to a travel agent and the only plus was she found us a GREAT deal on a rental car and a better flight TIME… but then kinda ruined it with a $40 booking fee.  I had found a flight for the same amount less the booking fee on my own (Expedia).

Post # 10
Member
11747 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@megabrooke:  I’d only use a travel agent under a few circumstances:

1. international travel where I was visiting a number of different cities/countries

2. international travel to a dangerous country (middle east)

3. if they could get me a better rate which I find this to be rare

Post # 11
Member
1227 posts
Bumble bee

Out of curiosity, for those who say they won’t use travel agents, have you ever tried showing them the price you found, and asking if they can meet it? Our agent gives us the same price we find online. I research the locations and watch the prices myself (because I like to do that stuff), then I send my Fiance in with the destination, date, and price. She can always book it for the same rate. 

I dunno, I just appreciate if anything at all goes wrong, or if we aren’t happy after the fact, there’s a real live person that I can call and deal with directly instead of getting trapped in some kind of automated 1-800 customer service hell.

Post # 12
Member
3267 posts
Sugar bee

I don’t find them to be that useful, and they have never been able to beat the price i can find on my own. 

Also booking hotels from North America is almsot always more expensive in my experience then booking directly there.

Though I don’t typically book anything before I go.  I like to be footloose and fancy free on holiday.  If I get to a city, and it’s awesome, i want to stay there, not have to leave in 2 days cause I booked a bus ticket 3 months ago.

Even in places like India it is not necessary.

Post # 14
Member
10 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2012

My husband and I just booked our delayed honeymoon, and we went through a travel agent. We haven’t international travelled before so we both felt more comfortable going through a travel agent. She was knowledgable and worked really hard to find us what we wanted in our budget! We didn’t have to pay a fee either, which was a bonus.

Post # 15
Member
418 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@megabrooke:  we don’t have a very “involved” trip- we’re just going to mexico for 7 nights to an all-inclusive resort- but i did find using a travel agent to be beneficial.  our agent was able to give me about the same rates as i found on my own, but i had to literally scour the internet for days to find those great rates.  what really made it beneficial was that because he had some kind of “preffered agent” status with the resort we liked, he was able to give us some great perks like an instant room upgrade and a free couple’s massage.  many resorts will provide those things to honeymooners upon check-in, but you have no way of knowing if you’ll be able to do it until you get there.  it’s nice knowing that we won’t have to beg for an upgrade when we get there!  also, our agent is familiar with several resorts in mexico and was able to share his experiences and give us personal input, tips, etc.  for example, before finding him, we were very close to booking a trip at a resort that we came to find out will be doing construction during the time we will be traveling.  i am sure we wouldn’t have been able to find that out without an agent and the sounds of drilling is not something i want to hear on my honeymoon!

it can’t hurt to speak to an agent to see if they can offer you a better price than what you’ve found, or to see if you can get any perks!  we used http://www.tripology.com, which is awesome because it’s free to use and you just fill out where you want to go, your budget, and agents will bid for your business.  then you can just see what these agents come up with and decide if it’s better that what you found.

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