Travel Agents vs DIY Holidays23rd May 2013
These days, your options for booking a holiday are practically limitless; you could visit your local travel agent, visit travel websites or quite literally build your own holiday from flights through to your villa. Both the level of service and value for money are factors worth considering when choosing how to book your trip. We have taken a look at some of the pros and cons of each to help you determine which option is right for you.
• One of the biggest advantages of booking with a travel agent is the level of protection you are offered. Not all travel agents are ABTA members, but the majority are. If anything was to go wrong with your holiday, you have the benefit of financial protection and redress should the need arise. Do check if your travel agent is a member before booking.
• If you are planning a long haul holiday or perhaps a complicated trip with a number of different locations and flights involved, booking through a travel agent can certainly be a lot easier. They have plenty of experience, so they will be able to arrange a seamless itinerary on your behalf.
• Planning a trip can be extremely time consuming; from researching your holiday destination to finding flights, accommodation and things to do, as well as reading reviews, time can soon add up! Having someone else deal with all of this for you can save time and stress levels.
• Booking through a travel agent also provides you with greater flexibility to change your plans. Booking DIY does not always give you this option.
• Travel agents can also offer their wealth of advice to help you get the best from your trip. This can be invaluable!
• Usually, all of this knowledge and advice comes at a price, especially with commission and agents fees tacked on, meaning booking through a travel agent can be a lot more expensive. This isn’t always the case though, as agents can negotiate special deals through business to business relationships so it’s always worth checking.
• If you prefer a more traditional holiday away from the busiest resorts, using a travel agent may not be suitable for you. Of course this does depend on which travel agent you use and personal taste. Just bear this in mind and specify your requirements clearly to avoid an unsuitable holiday being recommended.
• Booking with travel sites does offer you some protection; any operator which sells flights must be a member of ATOL meaning you have the protection of a bonding scheme. You will also be safeguarded in the event of failure and you will be covered for accommodation even if you book your flights and accommodation separately, rather than as a package.
• Naturally one of the most appealing factors of using a travel site is the exceptionally good deals that you can nab! Package holidays can be booked for less than £200 per person at times, even in the height of summer, so they are definitely worth considering for last minute trips when even further discounts are likely!
• Being online, a major bonus is the fact that you can enjoy 24 hour service – if you work full time or have a number of other commitments, this can be especially useful!
• A major drawback to using an online travel site is the lack of flexibility. To secure the great prices you usually have to lock yourself into the trip meaning that cancellations or amendments are usually not permitted. This can also mean schedule constraints are imposed, with unsociable flight times and more.
• The number of options available to you can be downright overwhelming, making it far more difficult to locate and book your ideal holiday! You will need to have quite a lot of time on your hands to compare the best deals and options.
Build Your Own
• Building your own holiday independently can be a very rewarding option. With the time and resources, you can tailor your itinerary exactly to suit your tastes and preferred schedule, vetting out the right accommodation, airline and dates for your ideal trip.
• This option can give you a more authentic and traditional holiday with lesser known accommodation options such as a secluded villa or petite B&B. Hiring a car and getting off the beaten track to discover some hidden gems in the local area is also a key benefit to this type of break.
• The most obvious con to a build your own break is of course the lack of protection. By booking a truly DIY holiday e.g. your flights through the airlines own website and your accommodation through a small villa owner’s website or over the phone, you will not be offered any protection should anything go wrong. This means that purchasing travel insurance as soon as you book your trip is even more essential.
• Should disaster strike, you have no one to fall back on. You will be responsible for locating contact details, making phone calls and altering bookings accordingly. This can be extremely stressful, particularly for a long haul trip.
• Booking independently can lead to a number of unexpected additional fees. This includes everything from charges to check-in your baggage, to all of your food and drink whilst you are away. Of course, you won’t have the money saving benefits of an all-inclusive or half board holiday to fall back on.
• When it comes to accommodation and activities, you will also have to place a lot of reliance on online reviews, many of which will need to be taken with a pinch of salt as they are of course, subjective.
There you have it; the pros and cons to travel agents, travel website and build your own holidays. When it comes down to it, the best option really depends on your circumstances, budget, group size and of course your holiday destination! Whichever route you take however, be sure to buy travel insurance as soon as possible to ensure your holiday is covered for any eventuality.
How do you usually book your holiday? Post a comment below and let us know!