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  1. #1

    Default Travel Agent or Do It Myself

    Hi, I would greatly appreciate a response as soon as someone can find a chance. I want to book a trip back to CSA for Oct 2010. I've started to do it myself, but then I get nervous and I back out and decide to wait. I used a travel agent last time, but I'm not entirely sure what she did for us exactly. BUT Our trip went smoothly, we were expected, registered, received the right rooms etc. But I wondered if it wasn't something I could have done on my own. Cause it seems like lots of people on board book their rooms themselves online with no problems. Since Oct 2010 is so far away, it appears that I can't book my airline tickets yet. I think that is the main problem which is causing me such hestitation. Ok, I'm a worry wart anyway, but it makes me so nervous. What if there are no flights out on the date I need or some other awful thing like that. I know I could surely book my hotel now and book my airline later, but will Couples allow me to change/adjust my dates for available flights later if necessary? Thanks to anyone who can provide guidance. I don't really see a need for a travel agent, but I certainly don't want to mess up anything on my own.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    708

    Default I'd Say ............ Do It Yourself

    We used to use a TA but after several trips I felt confident enough to do it myself & have booked our last several trips online using different websites - not only to Couples but to other destinations as well. Mainly what I was doing anyway was picking out exactly what we wanted online as far as flights & the resort & calling her to see if she could get it any cheaper. She never could unless we wanted to fly at some "off" time or something so she would end up booking exactly what I had told her anyway. That was fine, because it didn't cost any more & she got credit for it or however it works (the TA was someone we knew already so liked helping her out) but I have found it just to be easier to do it myself. The worst part is that you have to pay it all up front when booking instead of a deposit at booking with the remainder being due 45 days out. I have never booked directly with Couples, though. I have used different vacation websites or airlines vacation websites. We have never had any problems at all. I do call the airlines & the resort after I have booked to make sure all is OK with the reservation & confirm again a few days before we go just to be safe. I would suggest a travel newbie use a TA but since you've been before & know what to expect, I'd say you would be fine doing it yourself.
    Julie

  3. #3

    Default

    I am very comfortable doing things myself but I usually use a TA when she can get the same price (or very close). I still do all the research myself and tell her what to book. So, it seems like she doesn't do much. But when problems "happen", her help and expertise are invaluable. You probably won't have a problem with Couples, but since you have to fly...??? Our luggage didn't return from Italy with us and was "lost" for 2 weeks. I had numbers to call but couldn't really get anywhere. She had "secret" numbers and got a lot more info. Another time, a flight was cancelled and the first airline put us on another airline but didn't confirm it. Halfway through the trip, we found ourselves without seats in coach. She was able to get the first airline to pay for first class seats on the second airline so we weren't stranded. See why I use her?

  4. #4

    Default


    I completly agree w/ Mxernie. We used a TA in June because it was our first time and we didn't know the ropes yet. I can honestly tell you she taught me a lot, most importantly, that I didn't need her at all! I've just booked thru Couples for next year and it was a breeze! I plan on confirming myself because that's just me but I don't see any problems.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,397

    Default

    We always book ourselves. I like to shop around for flights and book directly with the airlines. I changed one of my bookings for this year recently, as I wanted to trade the bonus offer I had booked, for the Wednesday special and have a 1 bed ocean suite. No problem, done in a few minutes via e-mail. I say go for it. Make sure you take out insurance, just in case.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    398

    Default

    The trips are pretty easy to book yourself but I have to agree that it's those times that things go wrong that you wish you had that connection to help you out and take some of the stress and bourdon off of you. AS easy as it is to book myself I will always use our travel agent for that peace of mind.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    30

    Default

    I use a TA because I usually travel during hurricane season, and it's easier to get the insurance and have the TA do everything. I'm probably just lazy too!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11

    Default

    We just booked thru a TA. I did alot of research myself. She was able to get us a better deal than I could. Plus than we know if there is a problem, somone is at home that can help us. I normally do all my reservations myself, but this is too big of a trip for me to do alone. I am just chicken!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    804

    Default

    I use a TA for the same reason everyone else does. If there is a problem she will help us out. Last year my husband'd had bronchitis about 3 weeks before we left. He has emphysema so his oxygen level got quite low, and his doctor almost didn't let us fly - especially without oxygen. Our TA checked into oxgyen on the flight for us. Thank heavens we didn't need it (His level went up before we left), but she was there to help.
    Linda

  10. #10

    Default

    I know we could do it ourselves, but Our TA is awesome and always helps us out when we need to change something...
    -Otter,


  11. #11

    Default

    If it is the same price why not book it thru a TA? They are the ones usually who suggested the resort in the first place. Plus during these times you should support your local travel agent. They need a job too. Remember without a travel agent your are alone.

  12. #12

    Default

    I couldn't find a TA,one actually said that they're busy. So I booked hotel and air separate. Many choices in Airlines. Check couples Wednesday specials.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    290

    Default Travel Agent

    Disclaimer: I am a travel agent.

    Booking air & hotel separately is the least cost efficent way to book a trip. A package is the way to go. The companies who put packages together have agreements with the airlines that they call "bulk fare" which is lower than you can get on the airlines website. Also the package companies will have "specials". For example one company recently had a caribbean special where the second person flew for only $100. Also you don't have to pay all the monet up front. I booked my Couples vacation about 4 months ago & everything is all confirmed (including seats on the plane) and all I had to put down was $300. A Travel agent should NEVER costs you more than doing it yourself.
    Captain Jim
    "I will grow old....
    But I won't grow up"

  14. #14

    Default

    Whenever we take a big trip, including to CTI in Nov, I always use a TA. Usually Ive looked everything up yself before hand and she always comes in the same or cheaper and frequently more convenient flights. Smaller trips I've done myself.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
    Disclaimer: I am a travel agent.

    Booking air & hotel separately is the least cost efficent way to book a trip. A package is the way to go. The companies who put packages together have agreements with the airlines that they call "bulk fare" which is lower than you can get on the airlines website. Also the package companies will have "specials". For example one company recently had a caribbean special where the second person flew for only $100. Also you don't have to pay all the monet up front. I booked my Couples vacation about 4 months ago & everything is all confirmed (including seats on the plane) and all I had to put down was $300. A Travel agent should NEVER costs you more than doing it yourself.
    I have to agree with Captain Jim. However, as you can see from my signature, I am also a TA!

    Just do what you think is best for you..if you have a local TA, please support them!
    Pam Brown
    Norman, OK
    Couples Preferred Agency/Couples Specialist

  16. #16

    Default

    We always use a TA. I make her job very easy by doing all the research first. I have our flights picked out and resort. All she has to do is book it. We had a very tragic death while on vacation a couple of years ago. Our son was killed in an accident. She was a great help in getting us home where as on our own we did not have the resources to do so. I know first hand that things can and do happen sometimes and it is better to have help if you need it. Prices are usually the same anyway. Use a TA. Just in case.
    Margene

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    336

    Default

    We always book with a travel agent. I do all the legwork on when, I know the prices out there as not to get ripped off. All the travel agent needs to do is follow my directions. She wasn't to eager to book for Dec 2010 because of not being able to get airfare at this time. I didn't mind, rather book airfare seperate then miss out on the great price for 2010. anyway - I got off the subject, I book with a travel agent, because I like the idea of having someone to go to if there is a problem, and you usually get a nice little gift when making final payment. Hopefully, when I book the airfare, I will be the travel agent, taking a class in Sept to become a travel agent. Love doing this and WHAT A JOB!!!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    25

    Default Cleome

    We book through couples for the land portion, and book our airfare separately.As for being the least cost effective I don't agree with that. I have found it to be the same price and sometimes a little cheaper.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by littledarlin View Post
    I have to agree with Captain Jim. However, as you can see from my signature, I am also a TA!
    Well, I just noticed that my signature did not show up on that reply...wonder why?? My statement would have made a lot more sense if it had! It's showing in the preview, so maybe it will show up with this reply.

    Anywho...I am a Preferred Couples Agent...that's what my signature says!
    Pam Brown
    Norman, OK
    Couples Preferred Agency/Couples Specialist

  20. #20

    Default

    We used Costco Travel to book our trip for March 2010, it was super easy. I did some researching before I booked and found that they got us the best deal on the airfare as well as the room.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,419

    Default

    We always book ourselves. We never want to find ourselves the victims of another Changes in L'Attitudes type of incident.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    28

    Default

    We use a TA for a majority of our travel. We do the research on where and when and then contact her for additional info and she gives us feedback on our choice. She gave us a rave review of Couples when we stumbled upon CSA online a few years ago, after asking her to arrange a trip to a resort on St John's which she suggested that for the money we would spend at a place that has gone downhill, we could take two trips. We do not need airfare as we use frequent flyer miles and she handles those arrangements. We looked at all the sites, including this one and when we booked our TA came back to us with a quote for the seven night trip that was $145.00 dollars less. Great deal considering the $500.00 credit and our third time repeaters rewards. And the TA is at the ready to assist with anything before and during the trip.

  23. #23

    Default

    Back in the day, we always went with a TA. But with the advent and convenience of the internet, I find it easier to just book trips myself. If it's a complex trip with multiple flights, cities, hotels, etc, I still may then rely on a TA. But for a trip like Couples, I handled it myself. I only had to book the resorts themselves, being we cashed in some frequent flier miles with AA, so that part was already done.
    Ron

    Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.

  24. #24

    Default

    We went with an online agency last year and they saved us when the airlines did the big change all flight schedules in September. Booked through them again this year. Like the travel insurance (free) and the fact that I have a TA looking out for me if the airlines go nuts again. They actually got us better rates than we could have gotten on our own. When you book on your own, it you (and thousands of others) trying to deal directly with the airline. The TA can move you from one airline to another if you book through them. Remember that there are generally no vacant seats on the flight segments in and out of MBJ, so trying to fix a problem on you own can be nerve wracking. For trips within the US, we always book ourselves. To Jamaica or other foreign vacation mecca, we use and agent.

    Good luck which ever way you do it.

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