Travel Agency vs Booking It Yourself

Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 11:20 AM
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Travel Agency vs Booking It Yourself

How do most of you book your trips? Do you find you can save money by booking a fly/drive package? We are flying into Rome. Are there fly/hotel deals that save money? Or do you just piece it together yourself via internet or other means?
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 12:56 PM
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Hi Ken,

I would research both options before doing anything. For example, start at Right now, if you are flying from a major east coast city to Rome before the end of February, they have a package for $569 pp (plus $85 in taxes) for airfare, 6 nights hotel, breakfast, and airport transfers. For March through early June, it's $999.

Then, check airfares. Example, at, I punched in random dates, mid-week, in February, and came up with $563 just for flights. In April, it came up with $996! Not saying that Orbitz always has lowest fares, because they don't. Try other sites. But you get the idea.

So, research is the key, and package deals often are a good way to go. It really depends on how structured and/or complicated your planned itinerary may be.

Hope this helps.

Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 12:59 PM
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Oh, I guess I should have started off by saying that I haven't used an "real" travel agent in years. I do everything on the internet, whether it be package deals or my own arrangements.

Having said that, there are places I would recommend a travel agent - like if you are going somewhere complicated or have a really complicated plan - like in countries where they don't speak English or you need guided tours to get in or stuff like that.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 01:05 PM
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We've purchased all our tickets over the internet for the past 5 years. We only used a travel agent the first time, when we found a terrific agent who subsequently left the agency. But the problem seems that each time we make a purchase we go to a different source--priceline, cheaptickets, bestfares, etc. Of late, we're having trouble finding a reasonable rate for April to Italy. M.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 01:06 PM
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I generally research and book things myself, but I do think that TAs can be one more resource to check out. I don't believe in there being too much information when it comes to possible bargains. Sometimes TAs can suggest an airline deal or find one that was not available on-line.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 01:23 PM
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Just today I purchased 2 tickets to Sicily for the end of March for $580 (but then there is a $40 charge if you want to use a credit card, see my post for that one!) But even with the charge that is the cheapest rate I have found from Newark to Sicily at that time of year. I found it through a travel agency that deals mostly with Greece. To me, that was a decent rate that time of year.
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 10:15 AM
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Old Jan 9th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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As a corporate travel agent, I'm obviously pro-agent. But I'm also a shopper, so my thought is that I would never just cut out a source. You may find that a TA may have some ideas that you haven't thought of. Second part, some tour companies deal only with TAs.

And I agree, for multiple countries requiring visas and complicated itineraries, it's probably best to use a TA.

Good Luck,

Old Jan 9th, 2003, 10:37 AM
Flying Dutchman
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I've used two TA's for trips. One was great the other one a bust - so not a great average. The one that was great specialized in travel to Scandanavia and Russia and was able to save me money on flights to and in between those countries - with some charming hotels thrown in to boot. (SAS is a great airline to fly - very civilized compared to some american carriers.)
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