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US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

Western Ireland...
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for Southport, Connemara, County Clare, Portumna
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US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

I would like to share some content from emails between myself and Michele Erving who runs the Ireland Yes forum..

Tony

There are some awful itineraries floating around the forums lately with agents booking accommodation in a totally haphazard fashion. I would like to say "go to a **** agent" but I am not sure of the correct term/association/accreditation to put in place of *****? and is there a web listing for these agents?

Michele.

Tourism Ireland accredits travel agents who specialize in Ireland in the USA and Canada. They belong to the Shamrock Club. In order to be accredited they must complete a course of education about Ireland and travel in Ireland. However, that does not mean those agents have ever actually visited Ireland (although many have). On occasion I have mentioned it because at least they have some knowledge of Ireland, whereas a general travel agent who specializes in cruises or something else may not even know where Ireland is on the map.

I am not saying all travel agents are bad but by finding one that actually knows something about Ireland visitors might get a better break.

http://www.shamrockclub.net/

Western Ireland...
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1. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

Is it just me or does anyone else think this is a poor example for an itinerary

night one- meath county outside of dublin

nights 2-3- donegal

nights 4-5 galway

nights 6-7 killarney

night 8 - dublin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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2. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

I haven't even been to Ireland yet, but am pretty sure that is a terrible itinerary! Even with 15 days, I couldn't get Donegal to fit without really rushing about and spending too much time driving from place to place.

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

It's a tough call, and I share your concerns, Tony. You know I've been over a few times myself, so I have *some* credibility to speak on the topic.

My first trip was exactly the itinerary you have listed. It was a coach tour. I specifically chose that tour from the brochure because it stayed 2 nights at each city. As an introductory trip, and with someone else doing the driving, I remain very satisfied with my choice and the itinerary.

The itineraries that cover the same distances but only stop for one night leave my head spinning (although, personally I don't mind traveling this way at times).

I think a lot of it also has to do with the mindset of the tourist. What the first trip did for me was give me enough of a taste of different parts of the country that I was able to grasp what areas I wanted to return and explore in the future.

My family has owned and operated a travel agency for over 30 years and it does bother me when travel agents send people off with advice on countries they have little or no knowledge of. To my point, my grandmother has been to Ireland once, my aunt twice. Even though they are family, I never once went to them asking for advice for an Ireland trip. In fact, they now come to me (I'm not part of the agency).

Western Ireland...
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4. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

I might have been a bit Harsh last night. As single Two night stays then fine. But getting between the locations is half a day by main road without stopping to see anything en route.

Yes fine if you are on a coach with a couple of drivers but I honestly don't think it fair to make money from someone selling some thing they don't need or want. Giving someone the stops off a coach tour, booking their hotels and leaving them to ask on travel forums what to do in the surrounding area's. I really don't think that is conducive with return business either for the Agent or for Ireland.

Cavan
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5. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

You could probably say the same about most fixed budget cruises to the Caribean or Mediteranean. The ittinery is therefore created to suit most peoples budget requirement to travel and not to worry about the route and accomodation as long it delivers what is expected of it.

There are several places around the world that I would love to return too someday, just because I had a good time once.

In my dreams maybe!

Edited: 11 April 2012, 13:18
Philadelphia...
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6. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

Tony2Phones, that itinerary is actually a pre-packaged deal that the user purchased knowing the itinerary beforehand so you can't fault people here. The tour operator created the package because they had contracted rates to get a great price... and the consumer bought it. It's not a great itinerary but the price couldn't be beat.

As for finding a good travel agent, there are loopholes everywhere. Shamrock Club isn't foolproof -- anyone can pass the test they set up. I was a member for years but it was nothing more than charging me a fee and asking me to take the tests again so I declined a few years back.

I suspect it comes down to the client feeling comfortable the agent knows what they are doing, has visited the country (hopefully more than once), taken the tour , etc.

Western Ireland...
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7. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

The example above is just one example of many. Is it worse because it was not put together in a travel agents shop for an individual. Or cobbled together by a semi respected tour operator to be sold off cheap to innocents?

No Shamrock Club is not foolproof, and it is now limited to Company not Individual membership.

Client's Should feel confident that they a buying something which is value for money and well put together. In many cases this just fails to be the case.

8. Re: US Travel Agents--Horrific Itineraries! (possible solution)

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