travel agent for complicated itinerary

Old Jul 11th, 2023, 03:12 PM
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travel agent for complicated itinerary

I am stymied. I haven't used a travel agent in thirty years or more and I need to book flights from #Maryland to #Paris to #Vilnius to #London then home. I contacted a travel agent and he'll give me 30 minutes free consult and then a planning fee - $149 for 5 hours or $299 for 10 hours. Is this how it's done these days? I don't really need "consultation." I just need someone with the right software on their computer to figure out how to get those airline tickets at the best possible price. I welcome all comments and suggestions. Thank you in advance.
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Old Jul 11th, 2023, 08:40 PM
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A little more info...

Where in Maryland will you originate/return? Would BWI, Dulles or Philadelphia all be airport options?
What dates do you need to travel, and how long in each destination?
Do you also need the agent to book accommodations at each city or is that something you can handle yourself?

I suspect that most Fodorites will lean toward not using a travel agent for what sounds like a relatively straightforward itinerary. You can search options for multi city trips on Google flights or ita Matrix (which is actually now owned by Google but uses a different display scheme) If that is unacceptable, I cannot imagine that it would require more than 5 hours to assemble your travel itinerary, so if you can spare the $149, go for it.
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 01:51 AM
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I don't think you need consultation and a travel agent, at least not a human one. It isn't a complicated itinerary. You might be able to use an airline website but if they don't operate all the flights between these points, you could try Expedia or similar, whichever is mostly used in the US.

Or you could split it down into Maryland-Paris and London to home i.e. open jaw (flying into one city and departing from another) and book one separate ticket Paris Vilnius London. Depends on who operates flights between those points, that is your homework to do, Maybe a low cost airline would be an option on those routes. I assume you'll be spending time in each city and they are not connections so little or no risk of missing flights? This might be the way to go as trying to put all of this on one ticket might be an expensive way to do it. You can use google flights for scheduling and timetable info, ITA isn't helpful IMO as the fares displayed there are not always bookable. But I think you have enough tools at your disposal to work it out and book it yourself.



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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 05:01 AM
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No reason for a travel agent, it's really not that complicated.

I would book Paris to Vilnius, and Vilnius to London, separately on low-cost European airlines. Try https://www.skyscanner.com/

I would follow balthy's suggestion and book a multi-city trip for home-Paris and London-home. There are multiple places to check dates and prices for this, including Google, but I would actually book directly with what ever airline you choose. You could also use Rome2Rio to see which airlines fly these routes.

Make sure you search for London (any) - cheap flights to London are likely to go into Luton or Stanstead. Same for other cities. If you live in DC it may be cheaper to fly out of Baltimore.

Last edited by thursdaysd; Jul 12th, 2023 at 05:07 AM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 07:00 AM
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Seamus, that was the perfect advice. I was not aware of the ita software and it was exactly what I needed to sort out flights. Thank you so much. I opted to depart/return at BWI which is, in fact, the most convenient airport and one to which I can take a taxi or jitney. Solves the parking problem. It's worth the single stop. Thank you so much. Ellen
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 07:02 AM
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Balthy, that is what I ended up doing. When I treated the trip as four separate one-way flights, all of the problems magically disappeared. And I so much prefer to do the booking myself! Thank you for your suggestion.
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 07:04 AM
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thursdaysd, that is exactly what I did. I haven't arranged travel since fall 2019 (Covid then other stuff) and I wasn't familiar with the Google search or skyscanner. I am now. What useful sites!
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 06:11 PM
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Ellen, when constructing a trip using multiple itineraries, it's important to be cautious with connecting times but if you build your trip as an open jaw (BWI to Paris, London to BWI) and book the intraeuropean flights separately you should avoid potential issues if a flight is delayed. Good journey!
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Old Jul 15th, 2023, 05:43 AM
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LNWYD, you said 4 one way flights, but open jaw (into one city and home from another) can be on one ticket if the same airline. Might be a price difference. Just an FYI. Enjoy your travels!
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Old Jul 16th, 2023, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Lnwyd
Balthy, that is what I ended up doing. When I treated the trip as four separate one-way flights, all of the problems magically disappeared. And I so much prefer to do the booking myself! Thank you for your suggestion.
I was referring to open jaw which means one booking but you fly into one city and out of another. Splitting it into 4 separate bookings might be a bit much & unnecessary. & possibly more expensive. But play around with the availability and prices. Maybe I should have explained what open jaw meant, in the travel context.

I see it as one booking from home to Paris then London to home - 1 ticket
Then another ticket Paris-Vilnius-London either on one ticket if that is possible or two separate ones if not.



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Old Aug 25th, 2023, 11:12 AM
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I would suggest remaining flexible with your travel dates, that alone will save you a ton of money. And you can just book one-way flights for each of leg of your trip, I use FlightList.io for those sorts of trips, they make it super easy to find the cheapest one way flights. Hope that helps!
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Old Aug 28th, 2023, 02:04 PM
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Use these airport codes for cities with multiple airports:
WAS (BWI, Dulles, National)
PAR (CDG, Orly)
LON (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City)

just noticed this was already booked.

I have been using Google Flights instead of or in addition to ITA Matrix lately. GF shows some carriers (at least one, zipair) that doesn't show on ita.

When you select a flight GF gives you booking options For example, for a Korean flight it might show 'also sold by Delta'. Another example is for a Delta flight it shows that basic economy fare that it found along with the main cabin fare and comfort+ links that, go to the airline. Also the date grid is useful.

Los Angeles to Tokyo | Google Flights

One way to Tokyo | Google Flights

One way to Tokyo | Google Flights

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Aug 28th, 2023 at 02:28 PM.
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