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Is two weeks a reasonable amount of time for an agent to still be working on a package???

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Apr 1st, 2003, 12:42 AM
  #1
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Is two weeks a reasonable amount of time for an agent to still be working on a package???

I am really starting to get anxious about my trip and I am not so sure that my agent is doing the best job. I have basically hand-fed him all the places I want to stay and have had to tell him about special deals, etc.

It has been two weeks that he has been working on the package and I only hear from him every three days or so. My trip is scheduled to leave in 9 weeks.

Should I be thinking of replacing this agent yet or is two weeks a reasonable amount of time. The only thing that has changed since the beginning is that I have shortened my safari stay from 7 nights to 5 nights and I have asked him to get me some rates on Garden Route hotels while I was previously going to do all the South Africa accomodations on my own.
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Apr 1st, 2003, 01:25 AM
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Rocco

Firstly, have you instructed the agent to actually go ahead and book the itinerary for you or simply to price it?

If you've asked only for him to give you a quote then I'd get in touch and ask him to agree a date by which he will provide the quote.

In the meantime there would be nothing wrong with you going to another agent and asking if they could give you a quote too - stipulating at the time that you would only be interested if they could get that quote to you within a maximum of say 3 days (to give time to contact the lodges etc).

On the other hand if you have instructed the first agent to make the bookings, you might find that other agents are unable to do so because the lodges are now full. You might want to mention to them that another agent is also contacting the same lodges on the same dates on your behalf.

I would recommend again that you get in touch with a UK agent too. I've been told a few times now that UK agents often are able to secure better prices than US ones. I don't know if it's true, and if so, I don't know why. But it's got to be worth a try.

If you'd like a recommendation I'd suggest my agent Steppes Africa, who have been incredibly patient and helpful and even shared my enthusiasm during the planning. They went beyond what other agents were willing to do in terms of securing extras for me and in terms of giving me more information to help me decide. My contact there, Illona, is away this week, but the whole team are delightful. My parents usually contact Elbee, who is also very professional and friendly.

Anyway, it's hard to know what time frame is acceptable here, because I've not been in the situation of booking so close to departure but I really hope it works out well for you.

Kavey
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Apr 1st, 2003, 07:49 AM
  #3
LizFrazier
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Rocco-
Yes it takes quite a bit of time because they do not call Africa. They probably fax. Then each operator of a camp or whatever has to respond and if one offers other dates, they have to go back and forth and it really is hairy sometimes. Availablility doesn't always match. During that time there usually isn't contact. I don't understand why you used an agent. They are just doing what you already did, and look how long it took you? I think this has been going on for over two weeks hasn't it? It could be he really is working on it, but also he could be waiting for some assurance from you that you will really book it with him for him doing all of this work. Just my opinion. I would surely ask. Liz
 
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Apr 1st, 2003, 08:12 AM
  #4
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Liz,

I have basically handed him everything on a silver platter. I have asked him to fax me a credit card authorization so I can book the trip and that was over a week ago and he hasn't done it yet.

I am very serious about booking with this agent. It isn't really costing me anything more and it will make a local distributor responsible in case anything bad happens.

I am ready to just book it all myself or maybe just limit this travel agency to the air portion. I don't have time for people that work for me that cannot keep up.
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Apr 1st, 2003, 08:42 AM
  #5
LizFrazier
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Please understand my playing the devil's advocate here, BUT, what is this agent going to do in case something BAD happens? I assume you read my posts about this type of thing. Liz
 
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Apr 1st, 2003, 08:52 AM
  #6
LizFrazier
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Another thing Rocco-
www.2afrika.com offers probably the best international and some local air to and in Africa available. You can contact their air consolidator direct and they will sell you basically whatever you want in International air for cheap prices. Liz
 
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Apr 1st, 2003, 09:20 AM
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Roccco, I think this has been discussed and commented upon on other posts, but for each of my 4 safaris I have used a local based (ie, Africa) operator, and for Botswana/Zambia/Malawi, I used Mark at Taga Safaris. He put together a trip quickly (much less than 5 weeks) and he knows what's available at each lodge since he can directly access their databases. You may want to send him an email and see if he can help. I'd give up on an agent if it takes 5 weeks to book -- most good lodges fill up far in advance, and you may have lost your window to get exactly what you want.
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