Travel agent vs DIY

Old Feb 17th, 2014, 06:02 AM
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<Suze those sort of threads are great.. but they belong in the LOUNGE not on trip reports.>

JustineParis, But the LOUNGE is closed to new participants. No one who joined after April 2013 can post there.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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agree 100% with Justine..I have no interest in lounge as I prefer to talk about things with real live people and places like that attract a certain type of observation of Fodors is the forums are a mix of faux posts with people just killing time and maybe a travel "wish"...trip reports with hundreds of threads right along with a quick serious travel question..not in right spot...and seriously little moderation. With some patience you can find some good information here but given that restaurants do not define my trip many here have much different interests that I which of course is fine...but you just have to weed through all the craziness to maybe find a bit of travel info. Here is it either one time posters who drop their month long itinerary and never come back or regulars who seems to know each other and go to the lounge to talk.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 07:34 AM
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Just came back to see this thread was getting responses still. I am going to Paris in December btw sorry if you don't believe I'll bring back pictures as evidence lmao.

I haven't been doing a lot of research it's a long ways away. I just like my initial question asked is there any point to a travel agent.

If I plot out a itinerary today sometime I'll be sure to post for critique.

Lets all not be so cynical it's just the Internet. ❤️
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 08:16 AM
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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In amongst the snark you've gotten some good advice. AND you're going!!
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 09:06 AM
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I finally read through this whole thread.
Don't listen to the naysayers and take advice from those who are really interested in helping you.

You said that you like to take photos in London. Paris will give you a photographers dream.
I agree, just get your feet wet. Choose a hotel & flight and the rest will fall into place.
After many trips to Paris and looking at all the suggested hotels, the locations of these seem attractive to me:
Hotel Colbert
Le Regent
Parc-St. Severin

Paris is the easiest city we've been in to get around. It's beauty calls us back again and again. It is a large city but as you walk around the neighborhoods it seems small & friendly. Just as another example---Rome was a frantic nightmare compared to Paris.

As to using a TA, IMO you don't need one. You can always pick up a guided tour or 2 from your hotel if it makes you more comfortable. Fodorites will help you all the way.
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Old Feb 17th, 2014, 09:24 AM
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(okay, I stopped reading replies a way up - so forgive me if I repeat)

This is such a personal choice. I've never used a TA but I have friends who ALWAYS use one. When they heard we were going to Italy this Spring they had their TA call us, because they are so enamored with her. I had to politely tell her no.

For me, I book the plane tickets way ahead. And I've NEVER had an issue. (Although I may make it a point to avoid Heathrow in the future - I've been through twice and they're a mad bunch) I also book any hotels I want to use hotel points on (free rooms!) and then slowly research and plan from there. For me, it is part of the enjoyment and excitement of the trip.

It looks like you've made some decisions already. But I will say this, with or without an agent, get online and "see" where you're going. If you are stressing out then taking some "surprise" out of the equation, might be a good idea. I have used Google Maps to do a virtual "walk" from the station to my hotel, so that I know what it looks like ahead of time. I don't get lost, never have, never plan to. And that makes me happy.

I would personally be irritated if I had to call the US to fix something that wasn't lining up just so. I prefer to have the research and knowledge on my own side, so that I can deal with it as quickly as possible. And, I think, no matter how much you travel, every time you will learn something new that makes the next trip more smooth.

I used to be a huge Rick Steve's fan. He has some great things. Don't really use his stuff anymore but I do remember one thing he said, "Assume you're going to come back. Don't cram so much stuff into one trip that you are too exhausted to enjoy it." That is still good advice.

Take a deep breath and know that while some things might not go perfectly, you can still choose to enjoy the things that go right. Focus girl, you can do it!
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 09:48 AM
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<I just like my initial question asked is there any point to a travel agent.>

Not for me there isn't.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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You have got loads of good advice from many people. I like Gretchen's views but ultimately you will have to make YOUR decisions. 50% of the fun comes from the planning that you are doing. I certainly agree with the recommendation to use since you can cancel up to 24 hours before. One thought - check the reviews but discount the extreme ones on either end. I have never had an issue with this booking service.

Another suggestion is to photocopy your passport and secure that in the safety deposit box.

Best wishes.
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