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  1. #1

    Default Advice wanted! Travel Agent or Expedia

    Hi Everyone!

    My husband and I have been to CSA 2 times and are going for our 3rd May 2012. Each time we have gone before we have used a travel agent, but I have been pricing out on like Expedia, Priceline, etc. and it seems to be that hundreds of dollars can be saved going through those sites.

    My question to all you Couples Resorts lovers is how do you book your trip?! Are those sites reliable? Is a travel agent worth the extra money for the peace of mind? Any ideas/stories would be appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    913

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    I was adamant that I could do no better thru an agent, so I've always booked thru Expedia or Travelocity. I finally broke down this year and took advantage of the travel agent that is provided through our vacation club and saved over $300. Definitely try a travel agent first, and you can always double check against the online sites.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,687

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    Always through a Travel Agent! They are always available to help with any issues before and during the trip.
    [
    CN 2006, CSS 2009, CN 2009, CN 2010, CTI 2010, CN 2011, CSS 2012, CN 2012, CN 2013, CSA 2014, CN 2014, CSA 2015, CN 2015

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,934

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    I have to rely on your data about the "hundreds of dollars" of savings... I've never tried those roll your own sights because I'm not comfortable with their procedures (book now or else!). Also, it is difficult to get a straight answer from many of them about what is and isn't covered with their trip insurance (a peace of mind thing with us).

    As far as the value of "peace of mind", that's something only you can place it. Our TA is a real peach and I'd be hard pressed to book without her help. We haven't needed her assistance so far (knock on wood), but I know that if we do, she's only a phone call away. But then again, we're not as young and adventurous as we once were... our parents are elderly, we have grandkids, and there are any number of things that can happen outside the scope of our vacation.

    Now I'm not implying that the sites you refer to aren't reliable for booking your time at Couples. However, you DO get what you pay for. Is a TA worth $100's? No, I don't think they are. But I would suggest that perhaps your previous TA may have been a bit overpriced, if that's the case. I would suggest looking at a few other agencies before jumping into a roll your own situation... you don't sound like you're entirely comfortable with the ones you mention.
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    656

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    If your Travel Agent is charging more than Expedia you should look around and price some other travel agents.
    I have used Expedia (and it was fine) but far more often I have used a Travel Agent. A reliable TA can be a lifesaver if something unforseen happens. Expedia was far more impersonal than that when I have used them.

    I generally check Expedia and FunJet and a couple of experienced reliable TA's I know and have dealt with for a very long time (probably close to 25 or 30 trips to Jamaica over the years). This way I always know when I am getting a good price. I would only really consider using something like Expedia if I had already been the resort I am booking and have done it all before. When it comes to choosing a resort, or trying to decide if resort is right for you there is no substitute for an experienced Travel Agent! And I don't mean someone in the local mall that has never visited the resorts you are considering, but a an established and experienced Agent who has actually visited the resorts you are considering.
    Good travels!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    107

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    In my own personal experience, I have always used a travel agent and that's mainly because of the convenience of being able to make payments on my trip and also just having someone that I can go to if any issues arise during my trip. The price between the travel agent and most of those websites are usually about the same for me and if I happen to find a lower price, my travel agent will usually meet it. But again, that's just my personal preference. I do however suggest that If you do decide to go with one of the websites, you factor in any fees that they may have. Those fees usually show up at the end, when your about to enter your payment information. Good luck in whichever route you take!!

    BTW...my husband and I will also be at CSA in May 2012, we are actually looking at 5/16 - 5/20. This will be our 3rd time to Jamaica and 2nd visit to a Couples Resort (stayed at CN in 2010) So, maybe we'll see you there!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    36

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    You just need to compare prices. We actually use a travel agent and get better prices than by booking direct. Our travel agent is in NYC and we live in Arkansas but it works! I'm not sure if the message board will approve specific information on an agent but I guess it's no different than Expedia or Priceline. They have a web site you can check out. Just compare prices from as many places as you can find -- the more you can save, the more days you can stay!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,184

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    I like the piece of mind. When we are spending 3-4 thousand on a trip, I want to have a backup if something goes wrong.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    252

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    We will be headed to CSA for our fifth trip in March. We used a travel agent the first time and since then have booked directly through the Couples site. I really like the payment plan and the staff in the Couples office have always been so helpful. I now book the resort well in advance through Couples (booked this next trip twelve months in advance) and then start watching airlines for flight deals. Got some great flight times for this next trip and the cost was good too! We have used expedia for other trips and have had no problems with them. I recently used a travel agent for an upcoming trip to Europe and when we received our flight documents I noticed that the agent actually booked through Expedia!
    If you can get a better deal with Expedia I would go for it.

  10. #10

    Default Do it yourself, get insured

    We used an agent our first few times. It worked in our favor when Jamaica Air dumped all flights out of our airport (BWI), but we won't use an agent for this year. As long as you book the room through the resort, you are okay. Some agent isn't getting paid to do something as simple as tying your shoe. We booked our own airfare as well directly through the airline and we got insurance on the airfare since we are flying in December. I figure if anything goes wrong, we have the insurance to cover the airfare and we have never had a problem with Couples reservations. They have been so supportive! Don't waste money on an agent.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    17

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    * The travel agent deserves your business if they recommended this resort initially. They were so great at their job that you continue to return again and again?

    * You should book with Couples Resorts directly if you are just giving someone your business for no reason.

    * Expedia can be a customer service nightmare. I have had very very bad experiences.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    SeaSunSky

  12. #12

    Default

    If you are comparing "apples to apples:; "oranges to oranges" and your TA is still more expensive..I think you should "fire" your TA.
    We have trip #27 to Jamaica coming up in Jan 2012 and have always used the same TA.....I too; compare pricing every trip always pay at worst the same as on line; at best lower than on line.
    Beware the on line pricing as your air may be compromised by many stops; long layovers etc which may lower your airfare.
    This; plus the assurance that your TA has "your back" is to me; very important.....
    I'm sure you will find others who swear by the on-line route but for me I'll use my trusted TA always....
    Good luck in your price search.....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    252

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    Why not book directly with Couples? That seems by far the easiest option.

    We used a travel agent again (from a national organization) but it was not a positive experience. Everything she did we could have done ourselves and more efficiently. Same with Expedia, great for researching multiple resorts at any location, but I don't think we gained anything by using them. I've never seen anything cheaper on travel sites than it is on Couples own site.

    Booking directly with Couples gives you the option to include your flight if you wish to do so. We book our flight separately so that we can track prices. We've never experienced any issues when we've done that, or booked it in conjunction with our accommodation using Couples website.

    Whatever you choose, enjoy your trip!

  14. #14

    Default

    Did you know that we offer a Price Match Guarantee?. Call 800-COUPLES. We will be happy to assist.

    Couples Resorts

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