travel agent

Old Jan 14th, 2009, 11:06 AM
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travel agent

We will be staying in time shares from Feb. 20 until Mar 13 in the Brisbane area. This is our first trip to Australia and would like to add a week before and after these dates. I spoke to one travel agent regarding flights, rental cars etc. however they never got back to me. Does any one know of a good,value minded, experienced travel agent I could contact? Thanks!
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 01:35 PM
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I'm guessing from the way you write your dates with the month preceding the day that you are from North America. Do you want a travel agent in the US or Canada, or do you want one in Australia?

There are Australian specialist travel agents who post on the forum based in the US, search for a regular poster, Melody, using the search function above.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 01:54 PM
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Is there any particular reason you want to use a travel agent? Arranging travel in Australia is so easy (and affordable) using the Internet. You can get a lot of help if you need it from this site and other travel-oriented sites such as Trip Advisor.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 03:49 PM
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If you have firm dates you can book with the airlines direct and book accommodation as well. Try www.jetstar.com for cheap airline travel. For accommodation and tours check out www.sunloverholidays.com.au. You can do everything you want from this site. Hope this has been helpful.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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If you really want a travel agent try Andrew Haffenden
E-mail Address(es):
[email protected]

He is an Aussie living in the USA. I know his son and have met Andrew once. seems like a good bloke and knows Australia well.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 09:45 PM
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One of our Fodors members (wlzmatilda) who is knowlegeable & generous with her advice is an Australian Specialist.

You could contact her at [email protected]

And ... for those who will jump on this as promotion:
1. I don't know Melodie.
2. I'm not a travel agent, nor affiliated with one.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 02:20 AM
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As longhorn and garryoday have indicated, there's so many online options and many Australian travel agents who I would recommend as being more up with latest developments in being on the gtound here.

Each state has their own tourism development people and for Queensland for instance there's http://www.tq.com.au/ and then sites like www.queenslandholidays.com.au

Be wary of heading to the tropics about the time you're here as the weather will still be muggy if not stormy and wet.

The airlines do all run specials and there are shps like Flight Centre and HarvveyWorld Travel that are qyite cereditable agents and then online another I have always founf very good is www.bestflights.com.au
If you would like a suggestion for out of Brisbane, be hard to beat http://www.lordhoweisland.info/

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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 02:21 AM
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I second Melodie. I think her advice is excellent and I have read through her many posts.

Using a travel agent is excellent and sometimes I use one and sometimes I don't, but they do get some really 'secret' addresses and deals.

I don't Melodie either, but just like her style of easy and honest advice.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 03:20 AM
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Car hire is so easy going direct too with a zillion sites and many like www.drivenow.com.au will scan the various major car hire firms to come up with best deal for you.

You will not need to book a vehicle in advance and depending on who you are flying with you could find a hire discount deal offered in a inflight magazine and you usually present your boarding pass to access the discount.

If you want to see some of southeast Australia and would want to fly from Brisbane, have a look at www.webjet.com.au which will scan major airlines for best fares and then there's also www.tigerairways.com.au for cheap flights between the Gold Coast and Melbourne.

Once in the southeast you may want to arrange to take advantage of an airpass [aimed at backpackers] for anyone from overseas - http://www.rex.com.au/Backpacker/default.aspx
Probably best if you arrange your week either side of the time shares as two weeks one side if you can as that will give far greater flexibility for travelling elsewhere however you do it.
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 06:56 PM
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Hi Everyone,

First of all, thank you for those that recommended me as a travel resource for Laurel.

Longhorn, there are advantages for using a travel agent vs. the internet. Don't get me wrong, I use the Net every day and I can't even remember when I didn't have this fantastic resource, but, as I said there are advantages....

You mentioned Australian travel agents being more up to date with latest developments, as well as each state having their own tourism development people --

No doubt Australian agents have great information and more personal, local, experience as well, BUT...it won't be slanted to the American market, rather more to the domestic.

Aussie agents won't know that you can travel from San Francisco or Los Angeles from $380 each way because these are special promotions geared to U.S.travellers.

These are the sort of "promos" that I get on the phone and advise clients to jump on ASAP. In fact, Laurel DID contact me, and she's got an airfare of $877 roundtrip from San Francisco to Sydney, including taxes!

As Aussie Specialists, and also specialists in each state, we also receive current updates. Tourism Queensland, btw, is brilliant at this, and I get emails about once a week from them, as well as individual suppliers. (the tricky part is REMEMBERING all the info!)

Another really important feature for using a travel agent vs. the internet is that we have your interests at the forefront and we have the ability to save you money.

Clients may book their airfare six or more months out, and, unlike the internet, we hold those seats for them without payment. Because most of us work with wholesalers, who have "clout", when Qantas is going to go for a price increase, we hear about it first, can advise the client that the rate's going to increase $200 per person if not ticketed by X date and give them the option of paying for their air tickets to save that money.

Here's another good example....clients were booked into the Great Ocean Lodge and had to cancel. Those rooms go for approx. $800/night and the clients were within the cancellation penalty, which means the Lodge could have kept 50% of their payment. We were able to get a "waiver" for them that avoided those fees.

As an individual, making a one time booking on the internet with them, they would have kept that 50% cancellation fee.

Saltuarius: I know Andrew - he's a good mate of mine, and an exceptional agent! He IS a "good bloke" as you said, and has an amazing knowledge of Australia, and flora and fauna as well! I believe I'm also the only person to have a photo of him wearing a feather boa!

Perhaps I could get into a bidding BLACKMAIL war between the two of you! Actually, I'd be happy to send you a copy for free - Andrew would have a laugh for sure!

Best regards,

Melodie
Certified Aussie Specialist

wlzmatilida is offline  
Old Jan 18th, 2009, 07:20 PM
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Hi Melodie,

Another vote from me regarding using a travel agent. Even though I was a travel agent albeit briefly (8 months - I had too many 'flightmares'at night - you know Melodie 'Did I queue that ticket through OMG did I????) I still go back to my old Team Leader to book my airfares for me. She has clout with the airline I like to use and I feel that if I needed help with changes etc etc it will be a lot easier through her.

I pretty much do everything else myself (except insurance because I know my Team Leader gives me an excellent discount).

However, not everyone has the confidence to do these things and a good travel agent can make life very easy for you. You may be a bit more for it but you've saved yourself the worry and time of doing it yourself.

Melodie, you make some compelling arguments and I hope the naysayers take note and realise there is a very legitimate argument for using travel agents.
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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Nothing like pushing your own barrow is there but at least it's great to see the memory loss is admitted, but that's what computers should be used for.

Perhaps the memory loss is also a very short term one too, from reading to typing and to be unbiased, Melodie might also want to say more on her slant to more expensive establishments and her view of fluffy slippers and a robe on a train being adventurous.

A lot of travellers will use both the internet and agents to establish best deals available.
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 09:30 PM
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"Melodie might also want to say more on her slant to more expensive establishments and her view of fluffy slippers and a robe on a train being adventurous."

Bloody hell, Bushranger, you've been hanging around the Magnet Mart paint department again. I've warned you about that. Among other problems it makes you snarky.


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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 09:43 PM
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Couldn't have said it better myself Neil - Thanks!
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Old Jan 19th, 2009, 01:40 AM
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Snozza & Stormy, what a great pair!

M has a certain fluffiness about some posts, one in particular where the slippers were coming out and she certainly had little good to say about one of Australia's greates Eco Island resorts.

What's under that red bed?
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Old Jan 19th, 2009, 07:26 PM
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Hi Storm!

I'd completely forgotton about your brief "introduction" into this wacky business, and yes, of course, I DO know EXACTLY what you mean about "flightmares" (although I'd never hear that term before, but I think I will be stealing it)!

Bushranger: I have NO idea what you're talking about when you say "my slant on more expensive establishments and fluffy robes and slippers on a train".

More expensive establishments? I book everything based on the clients wishes... that's the bottom line. I custom design an itinerary based on what the client wants, withiin their budget. Right now I have an 18 yr old in Oz for her first trip overseas, and I've got her in youth hostels and taking a Contiki tour bus from Melbourne to Adelaide.

Fluffy robes and slippers? That must have been on the Queenslander Class on the Sunlander - it was fabulous, and I totally enjoyed it. Who wouldn't?

"...little good to say about one of Australia's greatest Eco island resorts..." You must be referring to Lady Elliot Island. Without searching posts, I'm pretty sure I remember saying that it had the best snorkelling experience I've had in Australia.

What I didn't care for PRIMARILY was the food. It was absolutely awful. In fact, let me take this one step further, and say I'd have some misgivings about the HEALTHINESS of the food from what I saw.

As clients would be paying for that as it's included in their pricing, and there's no where else to eat while there, I think it's a huge factor in the rates charged. You're a captive audience there, so you're pretty well stuck with no other recourse.

I believe I also mentioned something about the "modest accommodations" - that's not a slam on the resort, it's just letting people know what to expect. If a person was going for the diving, which is amazing, and that's their focus, FINE. Just letting them know that it's very basic.

And, I believe I was there more recently than you? 2007?

Melodie
Certified Aussie Specialist

P.S. Neil...you crack me up! as always!

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Old Jan 19th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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Melodie,
Good to see you memory is partially returning and yes it was a thread where a youngish couple were looking for an adventurous trip, hardly likely takers of fluffy slippers/robes.

Your desription of LEI was something like "worse than a rundown backpackers"
Snozza may be able to advise on what you should not sniff to enhance the memory.

And yes, virtually all the smaller island resorts have you as a captive and as anyone frequenting restaurants will know - food is usually only as good as the chef/cook/staff they have at anytime, remote/semi- remote locations obviously could suffer more in that regard to more populous centres - part of the risk in any adventure.

Even cruise ships are known to have high incidences of foodie problems.
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