Using a Travel Agent for NZ Trip?

Old Jul 5th, 2010, 10:12 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2010
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Using a Travel Agent for NZ Trip?

What experiences have folks had working with a travel agent to set up NZ plans? What would be the expense and other pros/cons of working with someone?

Because we'll be travelling to the South Island in peak season (late February, 2011) and are looking for some special activities (possibly some overnight sailing and some other eco-sensitive outdoor activities) plus will need lodging for up to five people at times, I'm thinking it would be helpful to work with someone with first-hand experience.

Any first-hand experiences with or recommendations for a particular travel agent?

Thanks for any thoughts...
Wren55 is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2010, 05:00 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 4,447
There will be quite a few on this website that will tell you not to use a travel agent and that you can do it all yourself. Perhaps, but organising your own holiday isn't everyone's cup of tea, so if you'd feel more comfortable with a travel agent than go for it.

If I am travelling to Europe I always book my flights through my travel agent. I know that my TA has good contacts with the airlines and if anything arose, a change needed etc, she's in a good position to help and make it as painless and as cheap as possible. If you're using an earlybird fare... well, the TA will have to do it for the same advertised price as the airline anyway.

I am travelling to New Zealand next month and there will be 21 of us on a ski trip. We all booked our own fares BUT I did a spreadsheet up with everyone's requirements - lift passes, ski hire, clothing hire, car hire, accommodation (we're all in the same hotel) but some are arriving early, some leaving later etc and I just handed that spreadsheet to the Travel Agent and said it's all yours to sort. She costed the whole trip out and then worked the individual costs including shared car hire etc. Man, I'm thinking that that would have been a bit of a headache but at least it was hers and not mine.

I'm sure we have paid a little more for the privelege but it would have been just to hard to organise so many people.

I always book my own accommodation, tours, car hire etc. and I really enjoy doing all of that.

From what you've said I can understand that you might want an agent. Recommendations will depend upon where you reside?
stormbird is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,545
Never have used an agent in 6 trips. But then I've never traveled with 21 people.

But I do know a group of 8 who managed to put their whole package together easily, mostly staying in "baches" and "holiday homes", and renting two minivans.
You'll find a wider range of lodging type in NZ than you're used to here. Motels in NZ are more like small apartments and many have 2 or even 3 bedrooms. There are also lots of serviced rental apartments such as Quest.
http://www.questapartments.co.nz/

You might have a look at the Auto Club & NZ tourism websites which will give you an idea of how easy it is to book what you need. Also bear in mind that the I-sites are excellent and can also manage booking tours, etc.

www.aa.travel.co.nz
www.newzealand.com

No language barriers, either.
mlgb is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2010, 07:12 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,283
Hi Wren!

Of course I'm biased on this subject, so naturally I'm going to say to use an agent...while you will get good info on this board, working with an agent who is working for YOU and wants your repeat business makes sense.

You can find a Kiwi Specialist by going to Tourism New Zealand's official site. Scroll down to "Find a Kiwi Specialist Travel Agent" and look for your state to find a local agent in your area.

http://www.newzealand.com/travel/getting-to-around-nz/getting-to-nz/travel-agents/$-travel-agents-state-select.cfm/countryid/1/activityItemID/90.html

Stormbird, on behalf of agents everywhere, THANK YOU! We appreciate the support!

Many people have been brainwashed into thinking everything on the internet is cheaper - which isn't true. Travel agents work with Wholesalers and Consolidators who have group contracted rates and discounts because of the volume of business they do with the hotel, airline or tour operator.

Also, you make a very good point about booking your European flights through an agent - with Europe I can usually beat the price of most internet fares. With Australia, because of the volume of business done, we have contacts at Qantas that have been very helpful over the years when clients have had to fly home suddenly due to illness or changing their flights because of something that's come up.

Regards,

Melodie
Certified Kiwi Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2010, 09:29 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 552
On my 43 day trip to NZ I did mostly my own bookings for air, car and hotels,and could get certain internet prices that were less expensive than if I'd used an agent. I did use an agent for several nights, however, and she found me at least 2 places that were not in my tour guides and were really great. So I recommend researching what you really like and if it gets overwhelming and confusing, use an agent. I used Moa Trek.
susncrg is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2010, 04:39 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12,276
Another endorsement for specialist Travel Agents.

Some people are simply more comfortable with a specialist looking after their arrangements than having to do the research, bookings etc., themselves. Others, like me, prefer to do make their own arrangements and just use specialists occasionally.

If someone specialises in a region, particularly one that is off the beaten track, they may well know about places that aren't readily accessible on internet searches; have a lot more clout getting in at "booked out" venues and having airlines accommodate changes, than we would as individuals.

My caveat is that I want to know the particular TA I'm working with knows the area I'm going to intimately. If he/she just works in a firm where someone else has done a couple of famils, I'd prefer to use a resource like Fodors to get current advice/impressions from recent travellers.
Bokhara2 is offline  
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