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Old 08-20-2011, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,479,274 times
Reputation: 8777

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I think, years back, agents would be no charge, or almost so, getting money from the tours and transportation that they booked you with.

This is no more?

Why, then, would one book through a travel agent these days?

My husband and I are recently retired and some friends and ourselves would like to start traveling. Instead of doing small, one or two week trips(most travel appears to be on the schedule of people who still work) we are thinking in terms of several months, perhaps three.

We are new to travel and would feel uncomfortable navigating on our own in countries of a different language.

I thought this may be a legitimate request of the travel agent, to plan an itinerary and make bookings and I heard they will even hold luggage for you (a fall vs. summer suitcase of clothing).

In the long run, this would be less expensive than crossing the Atlantic back and forth over several years, and sooner is better than later where aging is concerned.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:08 AM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,332,749 times
Reputation: 13682
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
I think, years back, agents would be no charge, or almost so, getting money from the tours and transportation that they booked you with.

This is no more?

Why, then, would one book through a travel agent these days?

My husband and I are recently retired and some friends and ourselves would like to start traveling. Instead of doing small, one or two week trips(most travel appears to be on the schedule of people who still work) we are thinking in terms of several months, perhaps three.

We are new to travel and would feel uncomfortable navigating on our own in countries of a different language.

I thought this may be a legitimate request of the travel agent, to plan an itinerary and make bookings and I heard they will even hold luggage for you (a fall vs. summer suitcase of clothing).

In the long run, this would be less expensive than crossing the Atlantic back and forth over several years, and sooner is better than later where aging is concerned.

Any thoughts?
While there is no benefit in terms of the actual price paid, we use a travel agent to book our cruises because they "kick-back" some of their commission to you in the form of on-board credit or a free tour.

Given that you are recently retired (we retired just over a year ago) and have the time, consider using the Queen Mary for your Atlantic crossing. My sister did that and loved it.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:38 PM
 
1,096 posts, read 4,093,348 times
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I kind of had the same thought as you, can't possibly be cheaper as thy need to make a buck and how cna they be cheaper than amazon, apple vacationa, etc whereve you would otherise book.

Travel agents are around the same price you can find yourself if not cheaper. Like someone else mentioned they often kickback some commission to you in the form of a credit at some place or even cash.

The other thing, you kind of have someone in your corner to fight for you if things go wrong. Your fight gets delayed, etc call the travel and and let them deal with it, book through orbitz good luck getting some call center guy to sort out your problem.

The other thing, if you want a travel agent can gett all your transportation set up saving you the trouble of having to pay some people in advance pay some people cash when you get ther, etc.

Also ilke someone else said you cna get things taken care of even small details like somewhere to leave your luggage for the day when sightseeing but between hotels or something like that.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:03 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,126 posts, read 17,137,876 times
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I use a travel agent (and pay him) for trips that are complicated. or involve, many people, locations, and logistics to all come together.

Simple stuff like book just flight/rentals/hotel I do myself. If I find I can't get a hotel in some area, or need advise on where to book. I;ll call him.
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:03 PM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
3,185 posts, read 7,063,377 times
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Conde Nast publishes a list every year of the top travel specialists for various locations. While you may not end up using one of them it will give you an idea of what they are capable of helping with. Wendy Perrin's Eighth Annual 130 Top Travel Specialists from Condé Nast Traveler on Concierge.com
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,781,840 times
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Welcome to the retiree travel set! We do most of our traveling in group tours and the solo travel we do is pretty simple. Zero experience with travel agents.

I might suggest that if you are doing extended, multi-location, more complex type travel you might want to consider using a travel agent based in your primary destination(s) country, i.e., if your basing out of Germany, France, England, etc., tap an agent who lives there.

I make that suggestion as we frequently break off from our group tours and go solo but that is with arrangements made by tour directors who are unfailingly familiar with the best way to get around and offer suggestions about other itinerary items. It hard to beat the advice and knowledge of a travel professional in the country you want to roam. Most of the European travel pros are well versed in multi-country itineraries. JMO

PS - English is almost universally spoken by the European travel industry. Can't comment on other areas except Costa Rica, where it is common.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,479,274 times
Reputation: 8777
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
While there is no benefit in terms of the actual price paid, we use a travel agent to book our cruises because they "kick-back" some of their commission to you in the form of on-board credit or a free tour.

Given that you are recently retired (we retired just over a year ago) and have the time, consider using the Queen Mary for your Atlantic crossing. My sister did that and loved it.
Thank you.
I saw that on I think, Vacations To Go, or some such site. Since it costs about as much as an airline ticket, it seems a much better idea than being cramped up on the plane.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:17 AM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,332,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
Thank you.
I saw that on I think, Vacations To Go, or some such site. Since it costs about as much as an airline ticket, it seems a much better idea than being cramped up on the plane.
No jet lag either
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:46 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
85 posts, read 132,086 times
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I never use travel agent. I use google. I read tourist forums and collect real information from real people, about real experiences.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:23 AM
 
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
10,791 posts, read 7,688,470 times
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I get a lot of enjoyment out of planning our own trips and have done so for many years. The only exception was for this last trip we took, in July, to Bali. I used an agent friend because we decided to go there on short notice and I didn't have the time to get into the whole planning thing myself. Plus it was all very foreign, new and different and the little research and reading up on it that I did do left me with little confidence that I would make the right decisions in such short time. I wanted it to be a special trip for my husband, son, daughter and I, so I left it to the expert, my friend who specializes in Bali travel. And she did really well for us. We'll have some great memories.
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