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Booking direct versus using a travel agent

Spokane, WA
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1,401 posts
33 reviews
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Booking direct versus using a travel agent

I'm going to throw this out there in hopes of getting some different opinions and pros and cons. On all of my previous trips to Hawaii I have always used AAA travel for booking my flight, car rental, and lodging. They have always done a great job and I have peace of mind not dealing with the details. The price has been fair, but I'm sure I could have saved some money doing the booking myself. For those of you who book direct through VRBO and car rentals what are your experiences? Do you save a great deal doing all the booking? Have you ever had any issues with booking direct? Thanks!

Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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43,879 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

When booking any trip I always price out booking myself vs a package. More often than not the package will come out cheaper. This is for things like flights, hotels and rental cars. For activities I always book with the company I am using. You can get discounts doing that and the cancellation policies are generally kinder!! Never had an issue doing it either way.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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38,323 posts
45 reviews
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2. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

When I was booking my first trip to Hawaii, we had a business called Hawaiian vacations here in Alaska - they would take care of it all - charter flights, hotel, car rental. But when I did a bit of research, I found that the minimum cost of a hotel thru them was over $100 a night. I was a single parent on a tight budget and that just wasn't doable to me. So, I had them book my flight and that is when I discovered the joys of the WWW and started researching. I was able to find a cute condo for my needs and much cheaper - same way with the car rental. After that experience, I realized how much I really enjoyed doing the researching for lodging and everything. That was many years ago - long before I was on Tripadvisor either, so I did feel a bit in the dark at first, but now I know many ways to find the best times/days to fly - not only to save $$, but also to save time. While I am sure travel agents do their best, it is not you making the choices and I have learned I much prefer doing it myself. And thus far, I haven't had a problem at all - and that is not just to Hawaii, but anywhere I travel. You have the benefit of some fabulous locals here on the Tripadvisor forum who really know Hawaii and can help you far beyond that of a typical travel agent. Good luck! :)

@
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3. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

Do it yourself.

Here's a cautionary tale about using a travel agent - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28932-i36-k723232…

4. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

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Removed on: 15 March 2014, 02:05
Spokane, WA
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1,401 posts
33 reviews
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5. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

Thank you Monica that is helpful. And you nailed it with the peace of mind. That's always a plus for me. Thankfully I have never had any issues, but I like knowing I have someone to call in the event there ever were an issue.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Regina
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6. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

Booking direct takes out the middleman... though dealing with the airline for example is rarely a picnic... that is where having a travel agent do the dirty work can be a benefit, and yes they do have access to more info than the general public. However, that doesn't mean they will or even know how to use it... you need a good one... and finding one is another job. To each there own.

Canada
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9,048 posts
39 reviews
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7. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

Booking direct has always served us well.....at least in the past 20 yrs.

There was certainly a time when a travel agent was the best and only option....but that was many many moons ago. There would be limited locales where I would seek out one these days.....2014

If you are halfway savvy on the computer, you can select an amazing array of options. You are not limited to the Travel agent's suggestions for accommodations or tours These recommendations are often tied in with their sponsored companies, where they draw a booking fee. Why limit yourself??

We have had terrific experiences with booking vrbo. We have done this process dozens of times. We have discovered so many and unique properties worldwide, ....some which we have revisited again and again. Pricing through owner can offer some terrific discounts.

We do our due diligence and are selective with the properties we choose. We have yet to pay the posted rate on the vrbo Ads.....so we usually book a highly desirable property for a reasonable rate. There have been few surprises...over the years.

Always pay by credit card and establish a rapport with owner, for best results.

8. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

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Removed on: 15 March 2014, 11:35
Spokane, WA
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1,401 posts
33 reviews
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9. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

I agree Monica and I find it a bit upsetting that your original post was removed. I appreciate your feedback as well as everyone else's. We can't all agree and I like hearing from both sides to help me determine what will be my best option for our next trip I try to keep an open mind and am up for suggestions.

10. Re: Booking direct versus using a travel agent

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

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Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 15 March 2014, 11:35