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View Poll Results: When booking a vacation that includes airfare, hotel, and car, I generally use...
A Travel Agent 1 2.56%
Priceline.com or Similar 21 53.85%
Other 17 43.59%
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Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 09:51 AM   #1
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Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 10:36 AM   #2
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

The last time I used a travel agent was 1992 for a trip to Bora Bora !
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 10:37 AM   #3
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

I've rarely found a better deal with a package than I could create on my own. Recently I put together a nice vacation to Hawaii with a rental from www.vrbo.com, a great discount airfare from United and an Alamo car. Not that much trouble really when you consider the savings.

Also, there are some great deals on airfare now. My roundtrip from Denver to Honolulu was $378 on United!
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 10:45 AM   #4
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

That sounds interesting OldBabe. What do others think about package deals vs. individual deals (i.e. book air, hotel, and car separately). I'm working on a vacation to Hawaii, and I can save about $200 by choosing my own lower cost hotel, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Do things work any more smoothly with a package??

Also, because the hotels charge $18 a day or more for parking, I'm considering renting a car for only a few days of the week that I'll be there.
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 10:57 AM   #5
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

I too have rented through WWW.VBRO.COM. Because it was a condo there was no parking fee.

The one warning about renting an individually owned condo is that they don't have the housekeeping resources of professional firms. Once we rented a unit where the cleaning person let a cat come in, the cat "marked" the couch. The condo owner didn't have an alternate unit to offer and was disinclined to replace the couch. Had we rented a time share the couch would have been outa there in short order.
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 11:08 AM   #6
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

We always book direct from the source. Only ever purchase airline tickets from the carrier we are flying with, hotels direct from the hotel chain and car rental from the rental company. We are members of just about every loyalty program going, so we find we get the best benefits from going direct to the source.
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 11:11 AM   #7
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Al, I actually booked a trip to Honolulu last week. As a member of Hawaiian Airlines frequent flyer club we were able to get $20 off the flight using their website, booked the hotel through Hilton - used AAA membership to get a room reduction of $25. We have purposely not booked a car because of the parking fee - we believe there is public transportation that could get us to some of the locations ie. the surf beach so will only use a hire car for day trips.
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 04:02 PM   #8
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Finally got the trip booked. Priceline kept rejecting it after putting all the info in, so I got it through Travelocity at the same price.

VBRO.com was a great tip, but I didn't find exactly what we wanted.

We're going to Waikiki.
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
We're going to Waikiki.
Parents owned a condo on Ena, close to the Hilton HI Village, for years.

You won't need a car to get around unless you want to go out of town.
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 05:06 PM   #10
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

I mostly use Expedia or Travelocity.... but have use QIXO to get other sources....

I did have another site that used to check prices... but can't think what it is now...
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 05:18 PM   #11
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Most of our trips I booked with Expedia. I heard Hotwire has better deals but when I attempted to compare their prices to Expedia for a planned trip in April to San Diego they wouldn't give your flight details until after booking. Didn't like that...
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 06:27 PM   #12
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

I have used expedia and travelocity - but now i steer clear - they have a lot of fees that make the bargain disappear - i usually use them to see what prices they offer, check the sites directly for the hotel or airline, and once in a while find a deal from a discount travel site...

priceline is also great if you get a good price - but again, their fees can cancel the savings too...
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 07:01 PM   #13
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

I used www.vbro.com too and was happy with it.

I use a travel agent for cruises because our company gives money back.

For airline flights, I usually go with the airline's website but use Orbitz or Travelocity to determine which airline to go. I have also used Kayak and TravelAxe to find hotels.

I use Priceline for resorts but the last time I used it for a regular hotel, I got stuck in a smoking room which was yuck.
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-06-2007, 07:07 PM   #14
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

I've done both and find benefits to each. A lot of it depends on how knowledgeable I am about an area, how much time I have to spend researching, and how much money I have.

For foreign travel, I often prefer a travel agent if I have particular needs. However, I work specifically with a fee-based agent who I met when she was just starting out. $25 flat fee per person at that time, but now that she has more experience she charges $50 flat fee.

For example, I had an event in Amsterdam and asked specifically for hotels in certain price ranges and certain general locations, but found myself generally challenged at finding what I needed online.

She found me a hotel that was in the city center for a reasonable price, then a fun touristy hotel I asked to stay at for a night (which does not do internet reservations), and then she found me a hotel a couple blocks from my event for the nights I needed it. Airfare was lowest available, and she hooked me up with tons of information about local customs, emergency numbers, a waterproof map, etc.

I've booked several trips through her since she always takes care of me.

On the flip-side, I've also planned many domestic trips (and some foreign) on my own and typically use Travelocity/Expedia to find the lowest offers, then go directly to the airline/hotel/transportation to purchase.

Earlier last year I went to Prague. Airfare was covered because I was there for a competition, but I needed to cover expenses. So I went on Craigslist.org and found a local (Roman was his name) who rents out rooms/apartments/etc. I ended up with the spare bedroom of a couple's (non-English speaking) apartment that was larger than most hotel rooms.

Roman met me at their place, let me use their internet, gave me a map and directions to anywhere I needed to go (including which metro / bus stops and key landmarks), recommended local restaurants that didn't gauge tourists and had excellent food, and also helped me understand any local customs that would be of use to me.

Also, because I fly to Japan a few times a year for my job and I have AA Platinum status (so I get double the miles), I first try to see if I can get somewhere on AA miles or use AA miles for the hotel before looking elsewhere.

All in all, I think that choosing self-booking vs. a travel agent depends a lot on your needs, time, and how important it is for you to know the local scene. Not to mention, it also should be based on the kind of experience you want to have.

I've booked some trips where all I had was a plane ticket, a Eurail pass, and a book of hostels. I didn't know where I'd stay from night to night, or necessarily even what country I'd be in. That was my first trip so I used my fee-based travel agent since I didn't know any difference... and for the $50 ($25 for me) she charged was well worth it at the time, since she hooked me up with tons of information for all the countries we were thinking of visiting, along with the customs, directions, etc.

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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-07-2007, 12:22 AM   #15
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed
I have used expedia and travelocity - but now i steer clear - they have a lot of fees that make the bargain disappear - i usually use them to see what prices they offer, check the sites directly for the hotel or airline, and once in a while find a deal from a discount travel site...

priceline is also great if you get a good price - but again, their fees can cancel the savings too...
I don't know what fees you are talking about... I think it is $5...
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-07-2007, 12:26 AM   #16
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporateburnout
Most of our trips I booked with Expedia. I heard Hotwire has better deals but when I attempted to compare their prices to Expedia for a planned trip in April to San Diego they wouldn't give your flight details until after booking. Didn't like that...
I agree about Hotwire and I think Priceline... had a friend who booked us on one of these sites... got US Air... one of the worst airlines... we were going to Montreal which required a stop in Phily... well, got in a bit late... but the connecting flight was even later... so they then cancelled it about midnight (supposed to be 8 pm)... got a slip for a hotel about 1:30, but had a flight at 6:30 in the morning.. not much sleep...

And then they LOST both of our bags... and we were going to a wedding that day... I went in tennis shoes... the next day, no bag.. next day, no bag... and they would not compensate us for this problem... the bags finally show up on day 4.. but now my friend is so anxiety ridden she is having problems... so the whole vacation was ruined... so much for saving a few dollars which is all we saved..
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-07-2007, 08:25 AM   #17
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

I've never used priceline for airfare but they can't be beat for hotel rooms in large cities. You can go to bidding for travel and find out what hotel roms priceline is offering . I then go to expedia or travelocity and find out the cheapest price and I bid half of that .I've never been disappointed .
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-07-2007, 10:35 AM   #18
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

So, yesterday I was using Priceline.com to try to book the trip to Honolulu. Today, I'm one the web at an unrelated site, and the below advertisement appears (I censored my airport name).

So, I figure while at priceline.com, priceline puts cookie on my machine. Then one of their advertisements finds that cookie, looks up what I'm interested in, and tailors the ad.

They sure are sneaky.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PricelineAd.jpg (20.4 KB, 7 views)
Attached Files
File Type: jpg_thumb PricelineAd.jpg_thumb (27.9 KB, 0 views)
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-07-2007, 03:45 PM   #19
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
So, yesterday I was using Priceline.com to try to book the trip to Honolulu. Today, I'm one the web at an unrelated site, and the below advertisement appears (I censored my airport name).

So, I figure while at priceline.com, priceline puts cookie on my machine. Then one of their advertisements finds that cookie, looks up what I'm interested in, and tailors the ad.

They sure are sneaky.
It could also be double click... they advertise on a lot of sites and get the info from them all... so they can tailor the ads to YOU

I go through and delete all unknown cookies every one in awhile... and use Firefox and only give them permission for 'this time only' unless I know I want them to put a permanent cookie on the machine... hmmm.... I am going to have to take a look at my work machine now... don't know what is there...
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar
Old 02-07-2007, 03:51 PM   #20
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Re: Travel Agent vs. Priceline.com or Similar

Maybe it's just me, but horrible flight schedules and the worst room in the house doesn't make the monies saved through Priceline worth the experience.
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