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Vacation: Book Online vs Travel Agency

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Which is better?


Everyone loves going on vacation! But not everybody loves planning for one. That is why, even in this era where technology allows you to do just about anything online, travel agencies are still very popular.


Travel and tour agencies do all the planning for you, so you don't have to go through all the hassle. You just pick a destination, set the dates, and pack your bags!


Planning your own vacation means you have to do all the research from scratch.


So, is planning your own vacation really cheaper than booking a package from a travel agency? Actually, that may not always be the case. Depending on the number of people in your group, the destination and the activities you choose to do on the vacation, you may realize that in some cases it may be cheaper to use a travel agency.


 

Planning your own vacation.


First, set the dates. It is important to set the dates first so it will be much easier to work on the next steps. Booking of flights and accommodation always require the dates. Be aware that prices also differ on different dates, for example during Public Holidays and other peak periods.


Next, search for flights. Flights on most major airlines are available 11 months ahead of departure date. Hotels and other accommodation services usually accept bookings from 12 months in advance.

I use skyscanner.com as it is really easy to use and it shows the best deals. If you start planning early, you have time to check and observe the prices of the flights going up and down. The site even has a price alert to notify you of the flight prices.


Next, the accommodation. Hotel, apartment, or a villa? Well, this depends on firstly, how many people you are going with and where your destination will be. In most cases, if you are a large group, you should consider apartments or villas. It will usually be cheaper to share an apartment or a villa with, for example, 4 bedrooms, than to book 4 separate hotel rooms. Apartments and villas also have kitchens available for you to prepare your own meals, thus saving on eating out too. Plus, it is more fun to have a private common area to share with your own group.

My personal favourite is agoda.com as it offers the best deals most of the time, and it is user-friendly. There are a lot of choices available, so you may take more time to consider which is the best option.


And after all the research, and after finally reaching a decision that is agreeable with everyone, you need put everything together, and you should be set to go!


However, what if something goes wrong? For example, your flight gets cancelled, or your hotel is of unsatisfactory conditions, or that place of attraction is closed. Well, you pretty much have to handle everything by yourselves. Chances of those things happening are not high, but just in case, you may want to make some mental notes of a back-up plan.


Pros:

  • Plan a free-and-easy vacation to suit your preference

  • Find more value-for-money deals from different websites

  • Discover new places while doing own research

  • Familiarize yourself with the vacation plan

  • Feel a sense of accomplishment planning everything yourself

Cons:

  • Spend a lot of time doing research

  • A lot of choices available and a lot of decisions to be made

  • Find out it could be cheaper if you book from the travel agency

  • No back-up plan to fall on in case something goes wrong

 

Booking from Travel and Tour Agencies


I have booked a few vacations from travel and tour agencies. It is really easy and hassle-free! All you have to do really, is set your dates and destination, and then choose a package that suits your budget.


Everything will be done for you! Just be sure that the agency you are booking from is an established and reliable one. There have been cases where customers get scammed by so-called travel and tour agencies. You definitely want to avoid that!


The perks that come with booking from travel and tour agencies include the quality of great deals available in their packages. They are professionals who have experience and knowledge in the subject, and often provide the best quality options available in any destination. Most of the time, they work with companies in the travel industry, and they can get great deals and even freebies that may not be made available to the public.


It is also good that you can be assured, when you are on vacation, that if anything goes wrong, you can just contact the trusted agency, and they will be able to take care of it.


Some of the downside of using an agent is that most of the packages are pre-planned and non-flexible. This means you would have to go to some places of attraction that you have no interest in going to. You may also have to adhere to time limitations at places of attractions you might want to spend more time at.


Another setback is that sometimes you and your agent may have different definitions of ideas, for example the definition of luxury hotel, or an adventure hike could very much vary for different people. Hence it will be better to decide using your own definition of "luxury" or "adventure", instead of someone else's.


Also, most of the time, it will be more expensive to book with a travel agent than booking it yourself. Justifiable that there should be a price to pay for hassle-free vacation planners.


Pros:

  • Easy and hassle-free planning

  • Choose from many great packages available

  • Get the most reliable and recommended experience

  • Enjoy exclusive deals from agencies' partner companies

  • Assurance if anything goes wrong

Cons:

  • Non-flexible pre-planned packages with fixed itinerary

  • Time limitations at places of attraction

  • Pay more for the agency fees

  • Different definitions of ideas between you and the agent

 

So which is better?


There are pros and cons for both options. So, it really depends on your individual preferences. One isn't really better than the other.


So would you like to plan your own awesome vacations from scratch?

Or would you rather let the professionals plan that amazing vacation for you?


What's your choice?


For me, I still prefer planning on my own.

It feels very satisfying to start planning that vacation from scratch. Personally, I also feel that I will be more prepared and informed about where I will be going to, and feel more familiar when I am actually there. And well, I happen to like all the hassle before I go on vacation! I just don't like the packing and unpacking! Hey! Are there any Packing Agencies?

 

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