Best agent for Italy

Old Jan 10th, 2005, 10:23 PM
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Best agent for Italy

Anyone with good travel agent for 10-12 days to Italy [Venice, Florence and Rome] in the USA ?
andylouie is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2005, 11:07 PM
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I suggest trying They have *Best of Italy* packages that include all of these three cities. Their customer service is wonderful & the prices are hard to beat. Good luck!
LisaLou632 is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 12:46 AM
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I have an excellent one in the NYC area, Diana Hechler of You could also check past issues of the major travel magazines, which periodically list the best European travel agents in the U.S.
Weadles is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 01:46 AM
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We use Sally Watkins. She won an award last year for being a top travel agent. If you google her name, you should get her site. We found her on the Slowtravel website. She did a great job helping us plan our trip to Italy last summer and is helping us with our trip to France this summer.

Good luck finding someone!
walkteach48 is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 04:28 AM
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Hi andy,

You are doing the basic tour - The Big Three.

You can easily do it yourself.

Start with Helpful Information: Italy
ira is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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If you are just doing the big three I can;t imagine the cost of a travel agent would be worthwhile. (The good ones are expensive and the free ones are useless. If you do use an agent be sure you find one that has actually spent a considerable amount of time in Italy - otherwise you might as well just stick pins in a map.)

As Ira said - this trip is easily doable by yourself - with the helf of a couple of decent guidebooks, some on-line research and the people here. If you don;t have the time/inclination to do this work up front - you probably wil not learn enough to enjoy your trip while there - and perhaps should take a tour and have someone guide you.

The other option is a package - as someone reco'd above. The trouble with this is that you must do a substantial amount of research in the hotels - otherwise you are likely to end up in one out in the suburbs- and spend a lot of your time just commuting back and forth to the things you really want to see/do.

IMHO - organizing it yourself is the way to go - you'll get what you really want - and will know enough to enjoy the trip much more - but its up to how much effort you want to put into this.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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Hi Andy,

This post happened to catch my eye

Walk: I know of Sally as well, she's on my Digest, which is an electronic forum with over 2,000 travel agents where we share information with each other; Sally's a regular contributor and certainly knows her stuff about Italy!

NYTraveler: Must be some sort of difference with New York travel agents that I'm not aware of?? I can't imagine where you got the idea that "most are expensive and the free ones are useless".

Most agents do not charge for their services. We are paid commission (just like a real estate agent) from the supplier... (i.e. airline, hotel, tour company, etc.) You are correct about finding a knowledgeable agent though, and just like hiring anyone else you have working for you; you'd be asking the "right" questions. An agent who specializes in Europe, or Italy in particular, who's been in the business for years; on trips of their own; on trips with the Tourist Boards, etc, has a wealth of personal knowledge to help you plan your itinerary.

Remember, a good agent will save you time and money; not only because they have a sense of pride in what they do for a living, but because they want you to come back, as well as telling all your friends! Word of mouth is the best advertising there is!


wlzmatilida is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Look at Sally Watkins and Jim Zurer at the ads on Both are very knowledgable about Italy and can book airlines and hotels for you.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 09:51 AM
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Sorry wlzmatilda -

In my experience the free travel agents (Liberty, other chains, small independents etc - are useless - since most have never been anywhere but Orlando or St. Something - hardly a surprise since most are paid the same as counter help at MickeyD's.)

Real travel agents are very useful at complicated itinereries/adventure travel/helping with upscale places that are sold out etc. And their fees are minimal in terms of the cost of an upscale vacation.

But for someone who wants a budget vacation - only plane tickets (and since when do airlines still pay agents commisions? ), modest hotels (most do not pay commissions to agents - or if they do - its only at inflated rates) and local train or car rental (not marked up tickets or rates) - there's no way an agent can make money without charging a fee - and at least here they do.

If you are willing to do all that for free - please let me know - I can find you lots of customers - but not sure how you support yourself.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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wlzmatilda, I'm with nytravler on this one. Are you from the US? Maybe it's different here...but most travel agents aren't providing much of a service anymore, at least not for creative travel types.

Mostly what you'll find at travel agencies in my area (NYC Metro) is agents pushing you toward package tours which require little or no thought or effort on their part whatsoever.

Since I have no interest in this type travel, I have no use for a travel agent. I am willing to invest the time in careful research and planning to ensure myself a fabulous trip. Few if any travel agents are willing to do this type of work, even if they were to charge a fee for those actual "services".

I think there'd be a great market for true travel planning services, not just being a booking agent...but my business is interior design - every project is has uniqueness & quality.

tpatricco is offline  
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