Travel agent vs. booking yourself

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Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby lpiper76 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:37 pm

After much hesitation about traveling alone, I’m finally decided to just go for it and do a tour. Plus the 15% off the Absolute Egypt tour in May seemed like a sign I should since I was eyeing it for awhile.

My initial question is whether booking the trip through a travel agent is better than doing everything myself off the internet. I did a search for airline tickets and I was able to find some ok deals but with very long layovers (6 to 10 hours). Since this is my first time booking, would it be advisable to go with a travel agent? Or am I just worrying too much?
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby sinecure » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:43 pm

We've done everything from booking all our selves to booking half with a travel agent and half with GAP directly.

The biggest bonus is if you book your flights with an agent you have another person on your side should something go wrong. Generally agents will have numbers they can talk to and expedite things along with. Compared to your self trying to get a hold of live body at cheaptravelcompany.xyz

Your best bet is compare your options and see what configuration will work best for you.

Have a great trip!
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby TravelFun » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:22 pm

lpiper76 wrote:Or am I just worrying too much?


If you're prepared to do some research then it's pretty easy to do it yourself...just make sure you have the right travel insurance that covers cancellations, delays etc.. Also for flights do check out the airlines website too, sometimes they do have some great promotions and deals.

If you get stuck or need more information then just post your concerns here and we'll help you out.

Egypt is just amazing, so vibrant, hectic and peaceful but not necessarily at the same time :wink:

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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby Zuleika » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:25 pm

Book the trip direct with GAP online - this is easy!
Also you get all the paperwork, vouchers etc emailed to you direct and not through a third party. And any problems you can deal with GAP direct too - very preferable in my book (My friend booked a trip through a third party and when the tour company cancelled the tour, the third party forgot to tell her - she got all the way to Addis Ababa before she found out - yikes!)

When the trip is guarranteed book your flights.

As for the flights, scout around online, - I have used Expedia and Opodo often - and also ring a couple of travel agents - Flight Centre are good - see what comes up best - usually the travel agents have greater or easier access to info than you, so for flights this is often the best option.
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby DanielBMe » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:58 pm

I usually find the cheapest trip I can online, usually through flyforless.ca and then print it out and take it to a flight centre and book through them. I prefer having someone I can talk to should I have any problems.
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby ballu » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:10 pm

I believe GAP still will book airfare for North American travellers. I don't know where you're from but I've always found their prices to be as good as any I find online.
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:21 pm

First off, congratulations on taking the plunge and doing some solo travel (I say solo because when you get on a GAP adventure, the only way you're alone is if you want to be). You'll more than likely have the time of your life and wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Your mileage may vary but I personally prefer to book my airline travel with my local travel agent but I have her work with my GAP agent after I book the GAP tour so I know they are exchanging info on flights and accommodations. My agent is very good about calling me if there's any change at all -- and I'm usually so keyed up before a trip that I'm monitoring the status of the tour a month or so in advance.
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby seasons_wanderer » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:12 am

I always book through my personal travel agent. She has been the family agent for ages and I find their to be a couple of benifits.
1) when booking the trip they know all the right questions to ask of the company reps.
2) I hope it never happens but if you get stuck somewhere or in a bind you have an indepedent agent who's top priority is to secure more business from you in the future and will normaly try and move mountains to get you home.
3) My agent always finds and matches any flight cost I can find on the internet. This is because they deal with the consolidators that provide these deals. They also work on getting you the best connections and flight times (I hate 5am-9am international flights)
4) the travel agency I deal with gives air loyalty points on all transactions.

On another point when you are booking a package tour a comission is given to the booking agent and personally I rather know that the commision is being paid out in full andgoing to someone I know and have chosen to get that money rather then whoever picks up the phone at the company(I do not know if they are even earn the same commission
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby cappy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:32 am

Many times travel agents can get the same or even better rates that the internet, especially larger companies like Flight Centre because they have bigger buying power. It is also a good idea to have someone working for you to make sure you have no problems plus it should not cost you more to do this so why wouldn't you?
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby 2loula » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:10 pm

Generally, I book holidays on my own, as they often work out cheaper than the package deals travel agents tend to push. However, I booked my GAP trip through STA Travel in the UK. They are a student-based travel organisation, and the staff have all travelled, so I felt more comfortable talking to people who had undertaken similar trips. They booked my GAP tour for me, and my flights.

I think, as long as you go prepared. Know the trip you want and the price, and find the best deal of flights you can find. Armed with this information, I found that often you get a slight discount on the overall price, or freebies (such as the travel cash card), and also they have better deals on flights, and can often find you better times to fly, or cut down on long layover times.

Its worth checking around before you book, you never know what you'll find out.
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby realestate » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:28 pm

Booking most things yourself is usually cheaper but if you're looking for safety go with the travel agent. When looking for flights I've found that you can get some good deals if you contact the companies directly instead of going through a comparison website (such as flightcentre in Oz). That's how I organised my trip to europe after working for ages
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby lpiper76 » Sat May 01, 2010 12:54 am

Thanks for all the replies. I actually went ahead with a travel agent. In some ways I'm glad I did since work got really hectic. I didn't have time for any research and the agent was able to find me a great flight with a reasonable layover. However, I didn't get my vouchers from him until today, about 2 weeks before my trip. And I still don't have a copy of the billing invoice, which I did ask for. All I have is a charge on my credit card from Gap Adventures showing I paid for the trip. It just makes me a little nervous.

I think next time I will plan the trip a couple of months in advance and book it myself.
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Re: Travel agent vs. booking yourself

Postby Zuleika » Sat May 01, 2010 7:08 am

Interestingly in light of all the recent problems with flights and the Icelandic volcano - I had 2 friends away at the same time, both scheduled to get back in the week after the volcano erupted. One on a package deal in Mexico the other travelling/booked independently in Thailand.
The friend on a package deal got home a week later than planned but had no stress, was put up in a nice hotel and put on the first available flight home all at no extra charge.
The independent friend in Thailand however had no such luck. Spent the week sleeping in the airport and then had to purchase a new (expensive) flight home, business class was all that was available. She was pretty stressed.

I know these random acts of God are few and far between but it has certainly made me have a bit of a rethink.
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