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Old 08-23-2017, 12:35 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,546 posts, read 39,924,861 times
Reputation: 23663


No TA needed when staying with Locals. Brings a lot of interesting adventures. London has been great with the advice / help of locals. (Free passes, transportation, splendid meals, fresh ideas, great lodging, great stories, good history lessons, and fun fellowship... all for zero to $20 / night world wide).

Hospitality exchange - Wikitravel

Worked well for 200+ nights traveling last yr (as it has for the past 30 yrs).

Rick Steves and Lonely Planet can fix you up for an ez trip with reasonable cost and schedule. (Books, DVD + website including forums available for each)

If you will be out and about in England, buy a Royal Oak membership BEFORE leaving USA.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:26 PM
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,231 posts, read 8,392,545 times
Reputation: 7185
Also you should study up on the London transit system at https://tfl.gov.uk/

Know the difference between bus, tube, rail, Overground systems.

Buses do not take cash. You'll want an "Oyster" card, which you can order before you leave for UK.

Also look into the 3 main choices of public transit from Heathrow into London. ( Tube, Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect)

Have fun.........
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:32 PM
6,387 posts, read 5,426,389 times
Reputation: 11015
I've never used a travel agent. I don't even really understand the point of them. To avoid hassles when something goes wrong, it's always best to book directly with an airline/hotel, so as to avoid having to work through a third party.

As for apartments, make sure you check into the legality of it. Many cities with housing shortages--NYC, Paris, Barcelona come to mind--are cracking down on short-term housing rentals via AirBnB and the like. And where the law won't step in, other occupants of the buildings in these cities often do, since living with a revolving door of tourists lowers their quality of life.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:34 PM
629 posts, read 492,088 times
Reputation: 1241
Zero reason to enrich a travel agent. I haven't used one in almost 20 years and don't intend to use one again.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:37 PM
Location: NW Indiana
40,202 posts, read 15,177,008 times
Reputation: 102178
My boyfriend and I are presently looking into a trip to London in 2018. We'll plan it ourselves, as we haven't found the need for a travel agent when we planned our prior trips to Europe. As another poster said, all you need are some good Internet resources and plenty of time to find exactly what you're looking for. Don't rush through the process. Be sure to read the fine print and call the company (hotel, airline, excursion, etc.) if there's something you don't understand. Many have 800 numbers so you don't need to make an international phone call.

Good luck!

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Old 08-23-2017, 01:59 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,095,286 times
Reputation: 7695
We're entirely self-planners for that kind of trip.

I will say that London will overwhelm you with lodging options. On the other hand, there are a lot of good properties in fun neighborhoods and if you don't get caught up in finding the one perfect place, it's easy (though not cheap) to find something very, very good. For the first round of ideas, I'd try a chain-specific web site like IHG/Holiday Inn or Accor (big French hospitality chain) rather than booking.com or trivago in order to get a more manageable list of ideas in different locations.

On the hotel side, what's advertised as a 'family room' in Europe will typically be a double bed plus a sofa bed and legally sleep 3. So one of those and a double room/two twin bed room is probably what your party wants if they go with the hotel side.

The twentysomethings are probably moreLonely Planet than Rick Steves. If someone in your party has Amazon Prime, their Kindle lending library thing typically does have some Lonely Planet titles available to electroincally borrow.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:28 PM
Location: Somewhere in America
12,304 posts, read 10,758,877 times
Reputation: 20540
If you're a AAA member, get the travel info from them for FREE. No biggie. It's London not Afghanistan.
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Old 08-24-2017, 12:00 AM
10,847 posts, read 11,255,922 times
Reputation: 7578
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Do people still use travel agents? Is that still an industry?

Dude, you are going to England, you don't need a travel agent. You just need the internet and some time.
good question. You need an agent to go to Madagascar, but London?? I could buy a ticket and fly there right away without any planning.
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:01 AM
Location: Saint John, IN
11,043 posts, read 3,984,632 times
Reputation: 13557
I haven't used a travel agent in over 20 years. With the internet you really don't need one.
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:02 AM
Location: Philadelphia/South Jersey area
2,871 posts, read 1,401,499 times
Reputation: 10071
thanks everyone.

I do have AAA. so I'll investigate that and I picked up 2 guide books. Rick Steve's (kinda like him, I'm not a budget traveler) and fodor's.

I'll start there.
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