Travel agent fees

Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 03:51 PM
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Travel agent fees

My fiance are working with a travel agent to book a two country honeymoon. The total price seems awful high. But I think it would be too hard to do this on our own. How much does a travel agent usually charge? I really have no idea because we haven't worked with one. Thanks
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:09 PM
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Haven't used a travel agent in about 20 years, and back in those days they got a commission from airlines.

These days I use good, old fashioned books and paper maps, travel websites like Expedia and Orbitz, airline websites for booking flights directly, and forums (fora?) like this one to pick the brains of countless other travlers who have been there before me.

You will find that this Fodors crowd is for the most part a do-it-yourself group.

If you give some specific questions or ask for ideas, I'm sure you will get a lot of responses that may help you do it on your own, or confirm you would benefit from the advice of an expert.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:31 PM
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Travel agents have not, traditionally, charged fees for their services because they got commissions from the airlines and hotels and package deals.

However, when the airlines decided to stop this practice, travel agents found it necessary to charge a fee for airline bookings. Ours started out at $10 per booking, but has gone up to $25. I don't think this is at all unfair. In fact, because she has contacts with consolidators, she can almost always get a cheaper fare than I can, even on the internet. And it saves me hours online.

For the rest of the details of your honeymoon, sit down with her/him and look at the separate costs. If he/she is booking you a package, such as SunTrips, etc. then go online and see if you can compare costs.

It is perfectly all right to have a conference with your TA where you ask him/her to break down the costs for you. If you feel that some are out of line, then tell him/her that it doesn't fit your budget and he/she will adjust accordingly.

It is helpful if you are using a travel agent who has been recommended to you by someone who uses them.

Since this is a honeymoon trip I would seek the advice of a good travel agent, and save yourself unneeded stress. (getting married is stress enough !! <grin>.

Happy honeymoon, and may you have a long and wonderful marriage.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:33 PM
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caseheld, there's no reason you can't plan and book your own trip. That's half the fun!! I have not had good luck with travel agents so I haven't used one in many, many years. The few people I know who still consult travel agents usually get offered some raw deal. Here's an example of a travel agent vs. consulting a Fodorite:

Last summer a friend of mine was going to London. Before talking to me she got a quote from a travel agent for an air/hotel package. My friend showed me the quote and asked me if this was a good deal. I looked at it and nearly choked. I went on the internet and booked her a non-stop flight from Dallas to London. I also booked her in the same hotel as the travel agent had suggested. All in all, my "package deal" cost $600 less than what the travel agent had quoted her. And here's the kicker--the travel agent was sending her on a flight with a layover in Chicago. I told her that's ridiculous because that same airline runs 3 non-stops a day from Dallas to London, so why take a connection when you don't have to. So by using P_M's Free Travel Agency, my friend saved $600, got the same hotel, and flew non-stop on the same airline. She bought me lunch for this.

Getting to the point, do not trust a travel agent to find you the best deal. Booking and planning a trip is a breeze these days. If you need some help, just ask us. We Fodorites don't do this for a living, we do it for fun. Maybe that's why we do such a better job of it.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 05:05 PM
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It depends on what the agent is doinng for you. $25 is typical for a flight. Hotels - it depends on if the hotels pay the agent a commission - usually only larger chain or deluxe hotels do - other hotels don;t and the agent will charge for each hotel they book.

I would not pay them to book airport transfers, car rentals, train or day tours - you can easily do that yourself for free - and make sure you get exactly what you want for less money.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 05:30 PM
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Even TA's in other countries don't give their customers the best information.

PM's post made me think about two friends from Italy that were coming here to the US two years ago.

Their TA in Italy had their flight to JFK. Had no idea how they could get to their hotel in NYC. They also wanted a couple of days in Las Vegas and than to fly to SF. The airline fare was in the hundreds of dollars.

They called me (the morning that I was leaving on a trip the next day). In no time flat I got them reservations on a shuttle bus to NYC, on JetBlue out of JFK to Las Vegas, got them a hotel, and than a flight on JetBlue via Long Beach to Oakland and sent them the website as to how to take BART into SF. The TA in Italy had them staying at a crummy hotel in the Tenderloin in SF. I got them a hotel room at the Grand Hyatt at Union Sq (which is the location they wanted) for the same price as the hotel in the Tenderloin and everything was wrapped up by noon.

They had an absolutely beautiful trip and have thanked me so many times. They flew home from SFO, they took BART to SFO. They couldn't believe how easy everything was.

I did have one year working as a TA and one year doing marketing for one of our US airlines but still..if I could set all of this up in a couple of does make you wonder about the value of TA's. And yes for sure there are some good ones of course but not all TA's take the time or the interest to work out a trip that will really add to the enjoyment of the vacation for their clients.

I quit using TA's way before I had a computer.

Caseheld, you don't mention what your TA is charging you for arranging your honeymoon. Have no idea waht "awfully high" means. Are you happy with the arrangments your TA is suggesting? I have friends who went on a honeymoon to Italy and they obviously had a fabulous TA but sure don't know what they paid in fees but they certainly never complained about the fees and were 100% thrilled with their honeymoon arrangements. Best wishes to you and may you two have a beautiful and happy life together.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 06:22 PM
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LoveItaly, are't our friends lucky to know us?

caseheld, I got so carried away with my "playing travel agent" story that I forgot to wish you a happy honeymoon and a wonderful life together. Please let us know if we can help plan your trip.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 06:26 PM
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Rats, that was supposed to say, "AREN'T our friends lucky to know us."
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