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Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

NJ
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Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

Hello,

We are planning a late June vacation to Providenciales, Barbados, or St. Lucia with our 4-year-old son. I'm a little nervous about hurricane season, and want to consider some sort of hurricane insurance if one causes our trip to be cancelled.

On Provo, do you usually book your room directly through the hotel (each hotel we are interested in has great deals on their websites) or go through a travel agent? I've checked United Airlines vacations; they are much higher than the hotel web deals.

Any other advice you can offer will be helpful. We are looking for an island where our 4-year-old can enjoy calm seas, soft sand, and nice weather (is Provo humid in June?) with safety being of utmost importance.

We narrowed down somewhat the resorts, from budget (Ocean Club/West, Blue Haven) to high-end (Tuscany, Seven Stars) and places in between (Alexandra, Villa Renaissance, West Bay Club). Do we have to select high-end to enjoy nice accommodations, good service, and a pampered feeling? We only want a place with a kitchen/kitchenette, which the above do offer.

Thanks so much!

Edited: 27 January 2014, 17:05
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Barbados
Barbados
Caribbean
West Bay Club
West Bay Club
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Providenciales
New Orleans...
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1. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

I found better rates without a travel agent but I'm doubt that's universally true. In my experience, I got an oceanfront penthouse at a nicer resort for less than an agent quoted me for a garden view at an (in my opinion) outdated resort.

Buy insurance for peace of mind, but June is very unlikely to see significant hurricane activity.

Boston...
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2. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

Personal preference. If you want someone else to do all the work for you, call Turks and Caicos Reservations. Give them your preferences, dates, budget, etc. and they will find you the best deals.

DIY - vrbo/homeaway, or direct with the resorts.

I wouldn't call Ocean Club West a 'budget' resort. (Ocean Club East - maybe). OCW is a mid-priced resort on the same level as the Alexandra. VR and West Bay are a step above, but not quite at 7 Stars level.

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Ocean Club West
Ocean Club West
905 Reviews
Providenciales
maryland
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3. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

Pretty sure Turks and Caicos reservation can match resort deals. I wouldn't book through a travel agent not on island. Val, Susan, Sonja and the rest live there and have been to the resorts etc...

Edited: 27 January 2014, 17:30
Detroit, Michigan
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for Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
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4. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

As above #1 reply, I negotiate direct with the owner/manager of the resort/unit. I book faster if they budge to make it happen and make me happy. I always obtain medical/air evacuation/emergency coverage after I survived that machete attack in a remote village in Haiti about 30 years ago. DR. JIM

Edited: 27 January 2014, 17:34
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Haiti
Haiti
Caribbean
Ronkonkoma, New York
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for Turks and Caicos
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5. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

"Stay thirsty my friends"

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

Of your 3 island choices, I would say with 4 year old, TCI is best choice! St. Lucia is very scenic, beaches just okay, hard to get around even without child. Barbados is huge! Vendors on the beach.

Provo has Grace Bay, the most gorgeous beach. Such a family friendly destination. And you can take 4 year old to Sapadilla Bay one of the days, he'll be giddy with joy (super shallow beach for hundreds of yards)

As for best price, it depends. Seven Stars, call or email Yngrit at Seven Stars, ask for best possible price. (for example, sometimes a Facebook special, which other companies won't offer. She will give the lowest possible.)

If undecided about a couple of properties, call or email Val at turksandcaicosreservations.com

they are on island and keep informed of the properties on island.

With booking agents such as Expedia, etc. the discounts come with chains and airlines, which is how you save. With Provo, there are no chains, and airlines don't discount there.

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Barbados
Barbados
Caribbean
Grace Bay
Grace Bay
Providenciales
NJ
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7. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

Thank you all so much for your experienced advice! The other islands on our list are also beautiful indeed, but I know my husband will enjoy his time less if he is worried about vendors and panhandlers around our little one. If Provo is low frequency of such, and the sea is calm, then this is the place for us. When our son is older and more aware, we will visit the other places; I want to show him the world and also teach him more to appreciate what he has. My heart goes out to the poor families; I grew up in a developing country and my family was poor.

At this time, we are a hard-working family in need of some quality time together! I went to the Turks & Caicos Reservations website, and yes, their prices match what is shown on the hotel websites, so that is cool. Thank you for the Ocean Club clarification--it was hard to tell the level of the 2 properties online. And thanks for the insurance tip!

Edited: 27 January 2014, 19:27
Atlanta, Georgia
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8. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

When you book with www.turksandcaicosreservations.com you'll also receive travel rewards, such as vouchers for rental car, dinners, or spa services. It's a great deal!

Calgary
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9. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

Try also Beaches Turks & Caicos - especially with a four year old.

you can have adult time, he can be busy in the kids club when you want.

All inclusive pricing.....

NJ
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10. Re: Book direct through hotel or use a travel agent?

I just put a deposit on Beaches today! Can't wait to spoil my little one! He deserves it after all the time I'm away from him working :) I just posted another question on room advice there.