Hotel Reservations

Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:06 AM
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Hotel Reservations

In Costa Rica, it looks to me like I am better off reserving the hotels myself. For instance, Xandari hotel will provide a free ride to/from the airport if I call; otherwise, I pay for the ride.<BR><BR>Do you see any advantage to using a travel agent instead ? Looks like the cost isn't any lower. Maybe eliminating the "middle man" is a good idea ?
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:56 AM
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Dear Joan,<BR>There will always be an associated cost with convenience in our world. Of course it pays to eliminate the middle man if at all possible, however some people are very busy and have no time to do these things that you are doing. That is why tours and travel agencies are in existence, they are suppose to take care of all of these things and in return get a fee for this sometimes cumbersome assignment, after all this is supposedly their expertise. One of the risks in engaging a travel agent or a tour operator is a situation you just mentioned where perhaps they are exploiting your knowledge, maybe they knew about the hotel providing free airport transportation but will charge you anyway. Bottomline, we have to be educated consumers and get an idea for what we are paying for. All I am saying here is that if you are willing to put in the time to call every hotel, tours, airline, then you should do it. Otherwise you have to pay for that same service that you provided on your own, because these people have the right to charge a fee for their services. The advantage is they are supposed to take all this headache from you, because it could be a headache. The disadvantage is to make sure you are paying a fair price for the service.
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 10:19 AM
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I have never used a travel agent and strongly prefer to make my own arrangements (15 trips to Mexico - never been to Costa Rica). Having said that, I don't do the formal 'tours & activities' type thing either or stay in 'resorts'. I often travel solo, so package deals, aren't a savings.<BR><BR>But my main motivation is I feel MUCH more in control by making my own plans, and if a hotel (for instance) isn't good (having reserved only a night or two) I can look around and move to another one. Nothing lost.<BR><BR>Do remember that travel agents have to make money somehow. Whether it's kickbacks from a particular hotel they 'recommend' (but have never actual been to), packages they sell, whatever.
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 12:02 PM
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I often make my own plans for vacations and do plenty of research prior to even contacting an agent. However, on our last trip which just happened to be to Costa Rica, we opted to use an agent. Like I said, I did literally hours and hours of research and new exactly where I wanted to stay, etc. I requested a package deal which turned out fine for us. Anyway, in the end, we ended up having some problems due to weather when leaving the states. This, in turn, put a damper on our hotel and transportation plans. You know the old staying "The best laid plans..." At that point, I was happy to have an agent to contact to help us get back on track, so to speak. I'm sure we paid for the service somewhere in our "package," but in this case it was worth it. We've also learned the hard way to purchase the travel insurance. We also had to use it on this trip as well. Just my two cents worth!!! Happy planning!!!<BR><BR>Tia
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 04:36 PM
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Joan,<BR>We used a travel agent for our first trip to Costa Rica because we were unfamiliar with the country and were not sure if we would be able to manage transfers and other arrangements without speaking Spanish. On our second trip, having gained a certain level of comfort with Costa Rica, we made all of our own arrangements. It required a lot of research and planning (which was actually part of the fun) but it worked very well without any problems.<BR>I think that our trip was more expensive when we used the travel agent. We were able to find cheaper flights on our own and take advantage of less expensive transportation options between various destinations. By the way we stayed at Xandari during our first trip and even though our stay was booked through a travel agent, we did get a free ride to the airport. (We loved Xandari by the way).<BR>The only advantage of using a travel agent, IMHO, is the knowledge that you have someone you can contact if things go wrong. Otherwise, we found that making our own reservations works just as well if not better.
Old Nov 6th, 2002, 04:31 PM
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Joan,<BR>I've been to Costa rica a few times,never once booking through an agent. Do your research right here on foders and you will do well. Booked airlines on Orbitz - you can now fly to Liberia on weekends and wed.s if going anywhere on the Nicoya Peninsula's beaches from east coast. Simply pull up hotels and you can read about them on line. I never book more than a nite in a place near San Jose, etc., then go from there. Got all the way to Osa Peninsula this summer without any reservations and we found the best, not really expenseive places to stay. My husband and I had a great time finding great restaurants, etc., everywhere. We always stay at Don Carlos for a nite if we want to be in San Jose (up in the Embassy area)very safe. I lived in Hawaii so know the costs of using a travel agent. Enjoy the sites and people/
Old Nov 7th, 2002, 05:34 AM
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Hi Joan,<BR><BR>I agree wholeheartedly with Tia. Do lots of research, then contact an agency... definitely one who specializes in Costa Rica. (You can find many agencies recommended on this forum, as well as in any good guidebook. )<BR><BR>One thing to consider if you do decide to do it on your own: be sure you can make most, if not all of your arrangements on the web (for hotels, day trips, etc.). If you have to start making phone calls to hotels in Costa Rica, it will cost you a small fortune! Without a special international calling plan it's about $4 a minute to Costa Rica from Florida! I made this mistake one year and ended up not saving anything trying to book a room myself.<BR><BR>
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