I was curious as to what most people on here use to find the best airfares/hotels (mostly airfares for me) online. Do most people go online or through agents?
I know about most of the major online travel sites and I've stumbled on a couple of interesting others but I sometimes feel like I'm not privy to the best deals.
Today, I downloaded what appears to be a pretty cool application called TripStalker. Anyone here heard of it or tried it out? It runs on your desktop and searches for the best fares then notifies you when your price is met or beat. I haven't booked anything through it yet nor have I compared the fares it spits out to any other sites but I do like the concept. Anyone tried it?
Any tips would be appreciated. I travel a lot - mostly in the US but often in Europe too, so any feedback would be most welcome.
I find "brick and mortar" travel agents a waste of time. They advertise prices for flights on their boards, but when you go into to book them there are so many conditions (eg Sydney to London with a 15 hour stop over in Tokyo, or the flight is valid for the next week, etc) to make them useless.
The other thing I find is that each agent seems to get "allocated" certain flights and also hotels. For instance, one travel agent will tell you that "there are no flights available on your requested flight" and yet another agent can get you a ticket without a problem. As for hotels, they only show you the hotels that are in their brochures, and so out of a 100 or so hotels in a city, they will present you with a choice of say 7.
So I always go online and check out the "real" fares first. I do this either by going to each airline's web site or via a travel portal.
There are so many low cost airlines around now as to make the travel agents redundant.
One thing I have found with some travel portals of the "lastminute" variety is that the prices that they quote for hotels as being a "special rate" are simply the standard rate that the hotel normally charges.
I think the whole travel industry is a real black whole of operators, tour companies, airlines, agencies, wholesalers, etc that makes it ripe for easy pickings from the naive consumer.
for flight comparison you might try flyscanner.net - they have a separate sites for Europe and the world.
Found the expedia site is good, didn't get far with the flyscanner.net it didn't want to work, but keen for the URL if you have it please.
Always on the look out for these style of sites as so many only leave from either the US or UK .
I was recently looking for online webfares and found a website called mobissimo.com or maybe mobissimmo.com (can't remember the exact spelling). This brought up a list of all different airlines and the fares that they were selling at through different agents, so you could get the same flight at 4 or 5 different rates. Then to book it simply passes you through to the agent's website, Opodo, or lastminute.com or expedia etc. Seemed to be pretty good.
Hope that helps!
LOL. James' opinion on travel agents and the travel industry in general amuses me. As a former TA, I can argue the value of travels agent and it's operators. Some other forum I guess!
To answer your question, if something simple like booking an airline ticket or simple package. Book it yourself. Mentioned previously, there are numerous sites. Myself, I use mobissimmo. The popular ones are priceline and orbitz. Especially if your dates are flexiable.
If your trip requires more brainwork, then a travel agent might be useful. Some people don't have the patients or time to sit at a computer or read every guidebook known to man. So, they ask a travel agent to put a trip together. Like James said, some TA prey on the naive to "up" their commision. Or guys like me who cares for their clients, and try their best in achieving the best travel experiences. Do your research ask friends/family. I sure you can find a good one.
I'm currently in the middle of shopping around for tickets to Amsterdam. I've spend a lot of times looking at the online sites and have just started talking to some travel agents last week. So far the travel agents' have quoted the best prices, most of them cheaper than the online prices, a couple of them already included taxes. But I have never actually used an agent so I can't say much on that experience. Based on the quotes, though, seems like they got something to offer.
Found the expedia site is good, didn't get far with the flyscanner.net it didn't want to work, but keen for the URL if you have it pleaseR
apologies - it's skyscanner.net