Poll: Do you use a travel agent when booking a trip? (Check all that apply.)

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    NJ
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    Default Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    With so many options for online travel booking, do you ever use a travel agent when planning a trip -- or do you prefer to research and book your trip yourself? Vote in our poll!

    Related Story
    Why You Still Need a Travel Agent
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler
    www.independenttraveler.com


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    New Jersey
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    I usually plan and book all the details myself 'cause I find it fun, but I do use an agent that I like and trust when buying a cruise! It's easy and I usually get a nice gift from him (bottle of Champagne in my cabin, etc.) for giving him the business.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Cool Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    I thought it interesting the article focused on using an agent mostly for air travel, the least of the services for which you should use an agent. Cruises, tours, independent travel, complicated itineraries, etc. are all good use of an agent....an agent can fit your needs to a trip, recommend "must see" sites, the best stateroom on a ship, find deals on everything from, yes, air travel, to penthouse suites on ships or in hotels. Choose your agent wisely....look for one who is a certified travel counselor (CTC), Master Cruise Counselor (MCC) one who is a member of a specialized organization (Virtuoso or other) and one who is an expert in the area(s) you want to visit (Aussie Specialist for Australia). Putting your personal information on line....name, address, phone number, credit card number.....for all the world to hack into is never a good idea......Agents never left the scene, just those who did airline tickets only. The rest of us have been around and are still flourishing!!!

  4. #4
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    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    Just did a quick litmus test:
    Newark-Sacramento-San Diego-Newark on Travelocity with 5 min effort, $314+43 taxes and fees....
    I understand that the travel agent took care of other stuff for you so still a good deal, but nothing to get too worked up about. I have worked with travel agents (most of them unfortunately) where the results are not very satisfying (too many backs and forths) and the constant push for ancillary products was really annoying. Maybe I don't know how to find a good agent, but trying to sort that out is so painful that it detracts from any potential benefit.
    The real great nugget then would be how to find a true good agent. In the end, this may be like finding a dentist or a hairdresser. Trial and error....
    Thanks for the article, very well written.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    Note to skywalker......look at clues in my post for a good agent, those are the credentials to seek......good luck

  6. #6
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    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    Thank you DownUndrTrvl. Indeed great advice. Question: does that apply world wide? I
    currently live in Spain and before the US and before Argentina. Most of my experience with travel agents is from Argentina (pretty lousy - with some exceptions) and US only through corporate, so chances are pretty different level of service...

  7. #7
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    Cool Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    skywalker, living abroad you might want to look for Virtuoso agencies, they are located all over the world, mostly in US/Canada....but you could easily use US based via e mail. If you do a good deal of interesting, adventurous, or lengthy itinerary travel, then you need a good agent. Air for all is pretty simple this days, but gorilla trekking is not!!!

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Cool Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    It's not everyday that I see Travel Agent recommended; your article just about covered all the bases. As a retired licensed travel agent, I work out of my home, and do it to help my family and friends. They always remember me with a gift, so all is fair...I shutter to think of my loved ones taking a trip internationally without speaking to an agent first! As I was taught, "If your clients have a bad trip, they will blame you!" This is why I was taught to leave no stone unturned, anticipate the needs of each individual....It's also nice to have friends in far-away places ......

    Happy Trails !!!
    Colette


  9. #9
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    Sep 2011
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    I use a travel agent when flying internationally, except for Central America usually. Flying within the USA and to Panama and Costa Rica are usually easy enough to do online these days. However, I have found that when traveling to India and the subcontinent, Africa, SE Asia, the South Pacific, and even Europe sometimes, that I can get better rates through the agent, ESPECIALLY to India. There have been times I've searched online and found that a travel agent can get me fares that are between $500-2500 cheaper than what is advertised on the airlines' websites and Orbitz, etc.

    There are benefits that come with booking international flights through an agent which I found out through personal experience. Having had to change a flight in India and not being able to get to an airline office there, I was able to email my agent and she took care of it for me. Further, when the airline mistakenly cancelled one segment of my daughter's flight from India to the USA, I was told to deal with it when I reached Tokyo. I was not going to risk that, so again I emailed my travel agent and she took care of it. A few years ago we flew from India to Bangkok, learned that none of our electronic tickets (purchased through our agent) were in the computer. My travel agent emailed me back (fortunately I use a Blackberry) with instructions to show the airline representative the email with a code (not the confirmation code, as that was not showing up) and he found our itineraries and they put us on another flight which was even better. These are just a few examples of why I continue to use a travel agent. And I'd rather my agent do all the preliminary research and contact the airline with requests for us.

    In fact, I'd love to work for a travel agency! It'd be a job I'd love to have since the job I had and loved (in the non-profit world) laid me off after many years (and that job involved international travel...).

    Great article, by the way.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    I don't think I've used an agent to book a trip since 1990 and she was a customer at the bank where I worked whilst in college so she was familiar to me, found me good deals. I literally had not one free minute to plan anything and I trusted her, prices were right.

    Since then, I have had to use an agent only twice and it was by necessity alone that I used them. I feel completely comfortable planning my own trips and have had great success doing so. I think it is fun and in a way, doing the planning is a way to already get to feeling like the trip has started! I think the only time I might ever need an agent now would be if I were to be heading somewhere that it was quite difficult to arrange things without one. This would mean it would be a sort of "extreme" type of trip or if it was somehow obligatory to work with a company in order to visit a place. If there was an obvious necessity to use an agent, I would find one specializing in where I was going and (actually sample a few of them & check certifications) and then choose one but be very involved and inquisitive. In other words, I might be a pest but maybe some are used to travelers being very involved in the process?

    The last two times I used any outside help was to purchase my Qantas "Boomerang" Air Pass for my first trip to Australia, NZ, South Pacific. I'd discovered the pass on my own but it had to be purchased through an agent. It quite likely was an "Aussie Specialist" (advisable for travel down under in terms of finding good fares/hotel deals as they often get unpublished deals no one else knows about) and it was not located in my home state. It was just a simple transaction.

    The other time I used a travel agent was when I was in Hong Kong and decided I wanted to visit China. The agency was referred to me by my HK dwelling friend who had already used them for a trip to China. They arranged for the Visa and gave me itineraries to choose from, it all worked out very well and actually, there really is no other way to do China. No matter what tour package one books for China, it is ALL controlled by the Chinese government from start to finish. I do not plan to revisit China but if I were, using an agent would be essential just to help get me a Visa and pick an itinerary. I just think it's easier and safer to do it that way.

    But for all the trips I have taken around the world, mostly on a budget but ending up in some very lovely hotels at prices lower than what was in guide books, and searching out great airfares, I can only travel now if I handle all the planning because that way, I know exactly what I am getting. Plus, as I mentioned before, for me, it is a great deal of fun planning a trip! That's why I am truly an "Independent Traveler!"

    However, I think if a traveler feels that using an agent will be helpful and reassuring, I absolutely believe in using one - just be sure they have the appropriate credentials that all respected agents have for added assurance with regard to whomever you are working with. There can indeed be advantages to using an agent, especially when it comes to specialty travel.

    Lastly, if you feel uncertain at any time about planning something yourself, check with an agent. If it sounds better in every way to use them, use them. If after consulting them you feel like you CAN plan the trip, then plan it. It all comes down to you having an unforgettable trip - use whatever tools necessary to get that trip!
    Colleen Costello
    Message Board Moderator

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  11. #11
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    Thank you for a true article. Not many articles about travel agents are true. You have done your home work and I commend you. Yes we are valuable. And no, we are not dynasauers. Altho some of us have been in the business a long long time. We know the world - pluses and minuses. Ask us. Find us on Google

  12. #12
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    Jul 2011
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    I tend to review the offerings of several Travel Agents to see if what they offer coincides with my requirements, however I usually end up making my own arrangements.

  13. #13
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    Jan 2012
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    11

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    I never use them as I prefer to do things that I choose and at my own pace, I also really like couchsurfing which is great for the travel budget and lets you see the city form the perspective of someone who lives there, rather than just the touristy places. http://www.couchsurfing.org/

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    We use some of the large TAs for specific holidays; one of 3 large firms for cruising holidays, and find out everything for touring holidays through the internet and by asking fellow travellers. We also look out for short breaks provided by the companies themselves, such as Center Parcs, Warners, Shearings etc.
    Jo.
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use a Travel Agent?

    I don't use a travel agent. I find that planning the trip myself is half the fun.

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