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-   -   Dealing w/ a travel agent for the first time... (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/dealing-w-a-travel-agent-for-the-first-time-242894/)

Cammie Jul 24th, 2002 04:26 PM

Dealing w/ a travel agent for the first time...
 
I've always booked my own trips, but this time I've gone the travel agent route. With three kids to look after, I just don't have the time right now, or the desire, to do it myself. Is there anything I should know about travel agents? Is it as simple as telling them where and when I want to go? Anything I should be wary of?

xxx Jul 24th, 2002 04:34 PM

Yes, like all occupations make sure you find someone that is good at their job. That means getting you the best accomodations at the lowest price. Tell him/her exactly what you're looking for and what your budget is and that you're looking for the best bang for your buck.

x Jul 25th, 2002 07:04 AM

Ask for recommendations among family and friends and references from the travel agent. Never deal with an unknown agent you find in the yellow pages. Make sure your agent has the necessary certification from the ASTA ett. Ask how long they have been in business. Ask questions.

aMom Jul 25th, 2002 07:38 AM

I have yet to find a travel agent who actually is knowledgable enough to make good suggestions, especially for family travel. Most travel agents I have dealt with are young and single and have no first hand experience in traveling with kids (we are a family of 4). I only use an agent when I'm booking a resort package including air, transfers and room, although I research the resorts on my own first. If the agent suggests something, I have to go research it anyway. I suppose if you find the right agent, it can make your life easier, if not, you may still have to hit the books. This board is of great help. I've planned a few very nice family vacations using this board as my guide (for both Europe & US). You'd be surprised at the specific info that can be provided here.

rrr Jul 25th, 2002 07:42 AM

This month's issue of Conde Nast Traveler has a great list of the best travel agents and their specialties. In addition to specialties for locations, they also do list things like family travel.

amom Jul 25th, 2002 07:45 AM

I agree with amom. You'll get much better information here than from any agent I've ever spoken with. I ALWAYS know more about the destination, lodgings, etc then they do. It just amazes me how little they know, other then how to book a flight and make reservations. Most of the time they haven't been to the destinations, and can't tell you about the kids programs other than if the hotel has one, and they sometimes don't even know that.<BR><BR>I guarantee you'll get more accurate and better info here. If you find the deal, you may have to use them to book, but you're better off finding it on your own.

Dick Jul 25th, 2002 07:50 AM

Ask the agent questions.<BR><BR>When one agent told me that there is nothing to do on Kauai and tht 2 days was plenty..she spoke with the voice of authority. I asked her directly.."have you been there?". Her response was," no but im very familiar". I am amazed at the number of agents that give "expert" advice without having actually travelled to that location.<BR><BR>If you have been to a resort area...Hawaii, Cariibbean, etc ask what properties they book in those areas. One agent told me that they always book into a huge hotel in St. Maartin and that we would love it. This was the opposite of what we were looking for.<BR>

Faina Jul 25th, 2002 09:37 AM

Cammie, from my personal experience: call several agents and compare their offers. Ones an agent tried to book me on a flight with a 7 hours stopover. When I asked her what am I supposed to do with a child in the airport for 7 hours she said we can take a taxi and go sightseeing. Don't know how I hold myself from telling her where she should go :)


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