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1. Posted by SunnyCali7 (Budding Member 22 posts) 9y

I want to travel outside the USA oneday. My aunt has a travel agent but she travels alot. Would it be best for me to have a travel agent or just do everything myself? Would doing it myself be cheaper as well?

2. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 9y

Well, it'd save you a lot of hassle if you let the travel agent handle everything. If you haven't travelled before, then it might be a good idea to have some extra help. Why don't you ask your aunt to put you in touch with her travel agent when you want to travel?

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello PinkCookie:)

Travelling independently and buying your airline tickets on the internet, rather than using a travel agent is generally cheaper.

Mel

Post 4 was removed by a moderator
5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 9y

I agree with Mel. In my imited experience, it always comes out cheaper if I do the research and book my flights and accomodation myself. It takes a lot more work and you really have to dig and ask a lot of questions, but you end up saving in the log run. Plus you aquire a lot of really useful information about where you're going on the way.

6. Posted by chemgal (Respected Member 149 posts) 9y

It really depends what kind of trip you are going on. Sometimes it can be cheaper to book it yourself online but other times a travel agent will be able to give you more option which might be cheaper.
I worked at a travel agent for a couple of years before I went travelling and always found it was cheaper to book simple A to B flights online but would always consult a travel agent if I wanted something more complicated.
You can always just get some advice from a travel agent, you don't have any obligation to book, they are a good resource for information.

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

One problem with booking things through a traval agent is that u may become trapped in the tourist bubble.
Over priced, sterile hotel and tour guides that lead u by the nose. With independent travel u will have more interaction with the locals and meet more people. U will also be able to tailor your travel, to suit your interests.

To do your travel research, it is a good idea to invest in one of the following books. They cost around 26 Euros each, but are worth the money, for the information they give. They are available in most book shops around the world, and cover almost all countries. The give information about things like accomodation, money, safety, transport etc.

Lonely Planet
Rough Guide
Lets Go

8. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 9y

For flights sometimes going to the airline directly can help with more complicated flight bookings.

For hotels - there are lots of great deals to be had out there in cyber land it just involves a little bit of time and research.

I honestly cant remember the last time l booked something directly in a travel agents - expect for work flights then the company PA does that it!

9. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Why not see what prices, etc the travel agent comes up with and do your own research on the internet at the same time.

I'm sure that whichever way you go, you'll get useful information from both sources.

10. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

It can vary, if you are only looking at sector fares on budget airlines then it is almost always cheaper booking yourself online (sometimes it also can be cheaper at an agency). And for RTW trips the agency is definitely worth using unless you want a lot of hassels.

I have recently completed a tourism course that included a big section on ticketing and believe me it is not at all easy to create a valid RTW ticket by yourself if you are wishing to be on an alliance ie oneworld etc. It almost requires an accounting degree with all the mileage and mathematical equations that you need to work out. The taxes are so nightmarish to work out that it's understandable why accountants go bald so young.

Unlike Mel is suggesting, just because you use a travel agent it doesn't mean you are going to become trapped in a tourist bubble so to speak. In most cases you don't NEED to book a tour or have added accommodation etc. For certain bargain fares you MAY be required to buy accommodation or spend a certain dollar amount on ancillary services (tours, car hire, accommodation etc) but usually not. You enter the agency, meet with your travel consultant and say something like I am interested in purchasing a return ticket to London (or where ever you are wanting to go), the agency will ask a few questions like "do you have a preferred airline?" and possibly a few other questions. Then after determining your budget and all your needs they may suggest a tour deal they have running or something else. If this happens you say "I'm only wishing to purchase the airfare(s) at this stage, I plan on arranging the ground transport and accommodation while away" (or something similar). BINGO!!! the travel consultant knows what you are wanting and will get you the cheapest fare of all the airlines that are listed in a CRS. Simple as that! No unwanted accommodation purchased, no unwanted tours to not allow you to interact with the locals or meeting more people, you got the trip you wanted and didn't have to spend weeks of mucking around.

If you felt like carrying dozens of seperate tickets and depending on your destinations possibly paying much more, you could go on the internet and buy a lot of sector fares with different airlines. Some would be budget airlines others would be full service airlines ie American, British Airways etc. Doing this would mean your tickets would most likely cost quite a bit if you needed to change the dates along the way, where as if you had of booked through a travel agent getting a RTW ticket well you wouldn't have to pay a fee for that.

Your travel consultant has also in all probability got a lot more travel knowledge than you from not only first hand experience but the many clients that have returned and given positive feedback, told them what was good or not so good, from the thousands of hours research they do outside work hours, notifications from industry sources etc. So you may have an itinerary in mind and after finding out what your interests are, the consultant may be able to suggest you places you never thought of or warn you of dangers you weren't aware of.

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 8, 2007, at 7:18 AM by aharrold45 ]