Always ask a professional

Volume 8, Issue 54; 11 Apr 2005; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Have I got a deal for you. Getting the most for your travel dollar.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me begin by saying that Deb and I own a travel agency, The Travel Loft, in Amherst, MA, USA. That is to say, Deb owns it, runs it, operates it, manages it, and does everything except setup the network and occasionally reinstall Windows when it's necessary. Website notwithstanding, The Travel Loft is a traditional brick and mortar place, where you can go for professional travel advice and arrangements. (You don't have to go there, of course, you can do it all by phone and email if geography or inclination makes that more practical for you.)

Deb and her staff work hard, and they know that they can usually meet or beat the best “internet fares” that you can find online. That's why it was so nice to see independent corroboration of that fact.

I'm not confident of the stability of URIs at the New York Post online edition, so I'll summarize:

Curious to see whether the city's big travel shops give value-added assistance - and at prices that can compete with the Internet - we went in person to some of the better-known agencies, posing as a couple with about $4,000 in total to spend and in need of some guidance.

Then we tried to find a similar package online to see how they stacked up.

Here, the results of our informal survey. Our biggest surprise: Though some agents were more knowledgeable than others, all found itineraries that beat NYP Travel's Internet finds in price.

No surprises there: it pays to ask a professional. I'm sure you can guess who I recommend. :-)

Comments

You may want to add http:// in front of the URL to nypost.com. Interesting article, nonetheless!

—Posted by Thomas Stromberg on 11 Apr 2005 @ 11:02 UTC #

Ack! Fixed. Thanks.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 12 Apr 2005 @ 11:43 UTC #

Interesting. Another example are ethnic travel agents. When booking flights to Albania we have to go through such an agent (http://www.mendimtravel.com/ ). Trying the same itinerary online or directly at the airline is either impossible or 50 per cent higher. I assume it's because of segmentization.

P.S. what's wrong with typing the percent sign (9 in this area?! Try it out for an unpleasant surprise.

—Posted by Andy on 12 Apr 2005 @ 11:14 UTC #

Indeed, my code was "unescaping" %-signs recursively, which made it impossible to have a "%" in the content. That's been fixed.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 13 Apr 2005 @ 08:31 UTC #