My husband & I are planning a trip to Florence in early April with our 2 adult children. In his book, Rick suggests enlisting the help of a travel agent. We live in Honolulu and are looking for somebody locally (or is it ok to work with someone long distance?) Anybody out there know of a good travel agent that specializes in European trips? mahalo!
There are travel agents that specialize in Europe and who have have some kind of affiliation with Rick's company. I'm not sure but I think you could find their contact info if you look around on the rest of Rick's website. I used them once and they are very knowledgeable because they are specialists.
You've already found some of the best travel agents around...they're here on these forums and also at places like www.tripadvisor.com
These are people who've actually been to the places you want to go. I wouldn't trust a TA because some have never even been to the place you want to go. THey only know what the tourist brochures tell them.
Do some research here and you'll be able to plan a fabulous trip.
You can easily plan a trip to Florence on your own if you are willing to do a bit of research. If not, enlist the help of travel conselor Sally Watkins, she's one of the best in the business for European trips: www.sallywatkins.com. She is not located in Hawaii but with internet & phones there is no need to have someone local.
I have been to Italy 3 times and this coming November will be my 4th trip. The first 3 trips I went through a travel agent. This trip in November I planned myself. It takes a little research but I did it. I'm be there from 11-21 through 12-5, going to Rome, Florence, Venice and a stop over for a couple of days to see family and the trip is around $1300.00 each. It does include breakfast but no other meals. We are going off season so the rates will be cheaper. I liked planning it myself but that is just me. It is just a thought. Hope you find someone locally. Good luck.
I always plan our itinerary myself,what we see,where we stay. I buy our plane and train tickets through AAA. They are always helpful and efficient.
I do all my own planning but follow Ricks advice to get a travel agent for airline and car rental.I have found that she does a great job.I think if you visit a few agents you can tell very quickly which one you want to deal with.
you didn't specify WHT u need a travel agent for: if just to book a flight, find my past expierence: i booked in Feb for April, 1089.00, and in May for a lark, looked at "www.orbitz.com":: SAME flight, SAME plane, :850.00..after wrangling w/ ta, got a 240.00 "voucher"..
do the same..book it, keep checking rates..there is this fear of being unable to fly because of "over booking"..now understand i went end of april , back may 10..no clue how rates/travel loads are in other seasons....but BOTH ways..there were at least 50 seats empty..this after being told "BUY NOW!!!SEATS GOING FAST!!!"
You might check your local yellow pages to find a travel agent in your neighborhood.
I also follow the same strategy as Rick, using a travel agent for international flights and car rentals. I normally book regional flights on my own. The main reason I use a T.A. for the more expensive flights, is that the flights are covered by insurance when booked through a T.A. (I normally specify which charter flights I want, but the T.A. books them for me). For those that remember Canada 3000, that's important!
I always use the same T.A. and have built a good rapport with them over the years.
I normally use Rick's Guidebooks and the net to choose lodgings (I choose lodgings on the basis of price, facilities and location, generally "back door" places). I book them directly using the web address provided in the Guidebooks.
I stayed at Hotel Aldobrandini in Florence last fall. It's a smaller hotel, but I really enjoyed my stay. The owner, Ignazio, was extremely helpful!
Good luck with your planning!