My New Best Friend

So, you want to save a little money on your vacation and who doesn't?  If you're like me, you head directly to a discount site like Expedia or Travelocity first, right?  Well, hold on a minute.  I recently tried a little experiment and now I'm wondering why I didn't try it sooner....oh, I know! because it makes no sense whatsoever.  On a whim (and because I was curious) I contacted a travel agent regarding a trip for a group of six for 5 days in Cancun. Just exactly how much was I saving by booking with Expedia?  Was I really getting a deal?  Much to my surprise (and delight), he quoted us a price that was $100 less per person  AND he threw in premium ocean view, ground transportation and breakfast and yes, his fee is included. He's my new best friend.  In fact, I think I might just invite him to join us.

Although I've used Expedia many times and have been pretty happy with the savings, I've always known that my reservation is "red flagged".  As soon as I check in, I know I'm marked as "a discount customer" so if there's a room right outside an elevator, with a "lagoon" or "garden" view, or next to a noisy, kid-filled pool - whatever - it's going to be mine.  If I want an upgrade I'm going to have to fork over more money at check-in and poof! there go my savings.

Travel agents, however, have access to blocks of rooms and groups of seats on most airlines.  They're given a special price which they pass on to you.  So when you check in, you've got the good name of a reputable agency behind you AND someone to contact directly if anything goes wrong.  Another plus for my travel agent friend is that he only requires a small amount down to hold the reservation.  The balance isn't due until shortly before we leave.   Expedia and Travelocity require you to pay for your trip in full upon booking.  Ouch.

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be a "do-it-yourselfer".


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About Me

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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?