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Old 08-23-2017, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia/South Jersey area
2,869 posts, read 1,400,541 times
Reputation: 10071

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Trying to plan a trip to Merry Ole London for spring of 2018. Family of 4. Myself, swinging 50'ish and 3 young adults (21, 21 and 24). this is our first trip to UK

I don't have a regular travel agent was thinking of just hitting liberty travel.

So here are some of my concerns.

Con
1) I've used Liberty travel before and while I didn't have a problem I hate that they try to steer you to hotels where they get a kickback. every time I've tried to suggest some place not in their "brochure" they balk

2) some one suggested renting a apartment/condo more space for less money.

Pro
1) Professional to call in case of trouble.
2) could possibly get deals the aren't available to Joe public.


I'm pretty good at researching but the other times we've gone overseas we've used a TA.

Would you go with TA or is london pretty easy to book on your own?
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,660 posts, read 6,482,326 times
Reputation: 4123
millions of people go to London every year with no Travel Agent.

Prices are really low for flights to London right now... Hotels will be pricey but nothing you couldn't do you yourself with a minimal amount of research.

I would definitely go with an AirBNB type accommodation for more room and less $$$
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:04 AM
 
12,263 posts, read 18,393,933 times
Reputation: 19082
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.
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:14 AM
 
8,085 posts, read 4,416,691 times
Reputation: 3072
Rick Steve's guidebooks lay European countries out very well. You have to use some commonsense with his guides as we have found it easy to overbook activities, (two major a day with a minor occasionally sprinkled in is abut right). We have used his Italian and now Great Britain guides with great success. Try not to move around too much, certainly avoiding strings of one nighters. Two - four nights with day trips works best for us.

You can also read forum of specific cities, locales, countries here and elsewhere for reality checks. Being your own tour guide takes time, effort and patience, but good savings and the reward of a truly customized trip, as contrasted with pre-packaged tours or travel agents.

Best of luck and enjoyment.
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:17 AM
 
9,773 posts, read 4,995,849 times
Reputation: 33730
With the internet and all the tools available, there's really no need for a TA, as long as the traveler is willing to spend some time doing some research.

IMO, the only time a travel agent is helpful is when coordinating a large group that will be traveling together, staying in the same places, and keeping the same activity schedule (i.e. athletic teams, choral groups, senior groups, etc.)
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,293 posts, read 4,148,032 times
Reputation: 18259
For a trip as simple as a visit to London, a travel agent adds no real value.
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,660 posts, read 6,482,326 times
Reputation: 4123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
For a trip as simple as a visit to London, a travel agent adds no real value.
Agreed
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:20 AM
 
Location: North State (California)
39,332 posts, read 2,970,878 times
Reputation: 12853
Do your own research & plan out your own itinerary, it is very doable, providing you do your own legwork. Becasue there are 4 of you, an airbnb place might work out cheaper, compare all options, & if staying out of the center of London, to save money, make sure it is near ( walking distance) a tube to downtown for tourist adventures, also check out the tube fees. However if you don't want to spend the time doing the legwork of research then by all means use a t.a.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:16 PM
 
9,644 posts, read 4,548,107 times
Reputation: 12510
I used to use agents all the time but only occasionally since the advent of online booking sites. Never had any horrible or great experiences, just mediocre.

I find it just as easy to input my information directly to a booking site as to give to an agent, with less chance of errors. That's all most of them are doing anyway.

I find that agents want to channel you to providers that pay the best commissions.

I find that agents don't really want to do a lot of work other than cookie-cutter arrangements that take little of their time.

I find that agents often have stricter deposit and cancellation penalties than the end providers themselves. This makes it almost necessary to buy trip insurance on anything booked through an agent.

I think you're Pros are over-rated and maybe non-existent. I haven't seen where agents have any special access or power. If you call them with a problem all they are going to do is call the provider giving you the problem. They can't make the provider rebook your flight or change your room assignment or anything. All they can do is ask the provider to resolve the problem. If it comes to that, working things out between you and the provider is just going to be more confusing and time consuming if everything gets relayed through an intermediary. Is your agent going to be available 24/7?

Many providers, especially airlines and hotels, give their best prices on their own booking site since they don't have to pay commission. And since you are ultimately the source of all the revenue, any commissions paid are indirectly coming from you.

The biggest advantage of an agent is having a single payee. This helps in paying for your trip and filing a trip insurance claim.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:22 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
37,959 posts, read 55,708,171 times
Reputation: 89611
Unless is really complicated trip with many stop-overs, change in transportation (air/ground) you don't need a travel agent. However for first time traveler it could be useful.
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