Best Way to Book Reservations in Greece

Apr 19th, 2006, 11:03 AM
  #1  
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Best Way to Book Reservations in Greece

My fiance and I are plan to travel to Greece (including the Greek islands) for 2 weeks starting on or about June 22. What is the best, most efficient, and cost effective way to book our trip? Should we do everything on our own piecemeal? Is there anything to be gained by using a travel agent? I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

Jay
jaydubbs15 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 11:11 AM
  #2  
 
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People on this board tend to prefer self booking. You can have a lot of fun looking at all the possibilities on the internet, and often save money. My experience with travel agents is that unless they have been to the exact place you are going, they are looking at a book of large hotels. I like the little quirky places. By the way,don't expect to book ferry tickets in advance. The schedules change. If you want help and are starting in Athens, there are lots of travel agents around Syntagma square that can help.
Vera
Vera is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 11:15 AM
  #3  
 
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I have always done all of my own bookings in the past for all of our European trips but we found that we saved a substantial amount of money on our hotel bookings (over $300 USD spread over 13 nights) by going through a Greek travel agent. We took the many recommendations on this board for Uli at Dolphin-Hellas and we have been extremely pleased. She speaks perfect English and is always very prompt in her responses. Here is her contact info
Uli Perschau [[email protected]]

I believe Greek Orthodox Easter is this weekend so their office may be closed on either Friday or Monday.
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 11:23 AM
  #4  
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Thank you Vera and Texas Aggie. I too enjoy booking everything myself. However, like Texas Aggie, I found that with some destinations a local agent was actually able to obtain better rates for me. In the past I've planned the places to stay, see, and do based on recommendations from this forum, guidebooks, and web-sites, but sometimes allowing a local agent to book in advance saves money. Thank you again.
jaydubbs15 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Hi jay,
That is exacly what we did. We did our own research and came up with the hotels we wished to stay in. Then we compared rates with Uli and hers were better by 10€ to 40€ per night... so we let her handle the booking. The only catch is that when using a local travel agent you pre-pay for your hotels. This was not a big deal to us but it might be to some people.
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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i strongly agree with texasaggie.we always book on on own, but found that by booking with uli. at dolhhin hellas, we got a wide range of options at significant savings. i also like the knowledge, that, should something go wrong, we have a well reputed agent to help out. we tried it on our own for awhile, but when we compared identical dates and hotels, they were consistantly cheaper.
calger is offline  
Apr 19th, 2006, 06:06 PM
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I have to agree with the above posters. I also booked my upcoming trip thru Dolphin Hellas. I liked that they gave me a list of hotels for every area I considered traveling to. I then contacted each place I was interested in to compare prices. For some, I got better prices from the travel agent, for others I got a better rate on my own. I also booked a 4-day tour thru the travel agency at a discounted rate-the travel agency also had tourist class rates which was not offered on the tour's own website.
Jackie is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 01:55 PM
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Has anyone completed their trip that have booked with Uli/Dolphin Hellas? I'm just curious because i've read somewhere that when booking with local travel agencies, your hotel accommodations tend to get "switched" to a lower class hotel upon check-in for "overbooking" reasons. And does anyone have suggestions on booking inter-island transfers, when, where and how to book them? Your help is much appreciated.
gyro_withfries is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 02:00 PM
  #9  
 
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There are several reports by other Fodorites (stanbr is the one coming to mind) that used Uli and had a great trip. I'll be back on May 13th and will try to post ASAP
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 02:16 PM
  #10  
 
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We nearly always do our own bookings, however for our trip to Greece in 2003 we booked all our hotels and ferries through Uli at Dolphin Hellas. She was brilliant to deal with, always answered emails promply and all our vouchers for ferries and accommodation arrived here in New Zealand well before our departure date so no worries.
We certainly did not experience any hotel rooms being switched to a lower class, everything was just perfect.
Patricia is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 09:25 PM
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We have been to Greece 6 times and have used a combination of booking ourselves, just walking up to a hotel in whatever town we end up in and we also use Uli at Dolphin Hellas.
We use Uli for our hotel in Athens. She has consistantly been able to get us better prices for hotels than are available on self booking. I also use her to book flights and ferrys simply to remove the hastle of doing it ourselves.
On car rentals I have been able to do better booking myself.

I have never been downgraded at an Athens hotel when Uli booked for us.

This year we are arriving May 19 and discovered that there is some sort of European Idol music festival in Athens that weekend and most of the hotels were fully booked. Uli was able to get us another hotel because Dolphin Hellas booked a whole floor on speculation so their clients wouldn't be stuck.

Also three years ago we needed to catch a 6am flight and there was a taxi strike on. Uli was able to book us a private car which met us at our hotel at 4 am. In Athens I have found it is good to have a reliable travel agent ready to take care of you.
stanbr is offline  
Apr 26th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for all your comments. It's good to know past clients have been well pleased using D/H.
gyro_withfries is offline  
Apr 27th, 2006, 08:44 PM
  #13  
 
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We also booked some hotels last year with Uli. Uli was very prompt and nice to work with. When the agency had arrangements with the hotels I wanted, the rates were cheaper in all cases but one. When the agency didn't deal with specific hotels I wanted to use, I booked those myself. Also got the fares for Aegean flights and a ferry fare and told Uli if she could match those prices, she could book those, which she did. Just be aware that they have a minimum and if your total is less than that, you have to pay a fee. Think last year the min. was pretty low - maybe 300 or 500 Euros - so we didn't have any problem reaching that. But we did have to pay a courier fee to have the vouchers delivered to the hotel. (Something I read recently leads me to believe that maybe they've dropped the courier fee.)

I asked for their hotel list this year, but our destinations are somewhat more obscure and they only had a couple of hotels I wanted - 4 nights total. And since we're not going into Athens first this year, I would have had to pay about 35 Euros for express mail. So we couldn't really save any money by using Dolphin Hellas this time around.

Like someone else mentioned, we found their rental car rates high and were able to do better on our own.
polly229 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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I went last October and did all my self for the mainland(Athens, Kalambaka, Delphi) also for the Pelopense but we used a local travel agent recommended by our hotel for our Ferries and hotels on the islands. We went to Mykonos, Naxos, Santorini, Crete and Rhodes. We flew from Crete to Rhodes and Flew from Rhodes back to Athens and it was extremely inexpensive. Way less than I had planned on originally when I tried to do it myself.

We also liked the fact that since we booked both the Ferries and the hotels thru them they had someone waiting at the docks on each of our arrivals to take us to the hotel at no additional charge. The person would be there holding a card or chalk board with our name on it. Trust me, when the ferry lands and you disembark you are bomb barded by taxi's and people trying to get you to rent one of their rooms or use their taxi/shuttle or whatever. What a Zoo....especially Santorini...it was nice to have our own hotel picking us up.

Good Luck with whatever you decide. It's true we did have to pay upfront for the hotels and the ferries but they give you a choice of hotels in 2, 3 or 4 star hotels and you choose yourself. I know it might be a crapshoot but then when I look at hotels on line it's a crapshoot also unless I get the ones recommended here on the board.

Have a Great Trip to Greece. I know you will love it.
Areala is offline  

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