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Travel Agent ?- I kinda need onw but kind of dont

Okay. I know where we want to go. Where I want to stay. When the trip will be. I just need someone to make it happen. I need someone to coach me through getting train tickets etc. Does anyone have a rec of a TA they have used before that wont plan the whole thing- that will just glue all the pieces together?

Posted by
187 posts

Andrea I wish I could help you with a TA but I can't. Sally sounds as if she has a great one so hope you can find the perfect TA also. I will just say that you can do it yourself if you do your research. Fortunately for me I have done many, many trips totally on my own but after much research on the internet & with guidebooks. My husband loves to travel but could care less about trip planning & leaves it all up to me (which I love about as much as the trip itself) & he is always amazed at the places I select to not only visit but the accomadations & transportation. I also have traveled with other family & friends & planned the entire trip which also turned out just great. Hang in there with your research, trust your instincts & I think you could plan your own wonderful trip.

Posted by
7205 posts

Andrea: I agree that you "kind of don't" need one. With the wealth of information here and on and the fact that you have the dates and locations and hotels - all you need is web, email and possibly a phone (but I doubt it). If you're staying in one or two locations, buy point to point tickets when you arrive. If you're traveling all over the continent then buy a railpass while you're in the USA.

The guidebooks like Rick Steves will order the tourist sites from "must-sees" all the way down to "miss it", and it will usually give you the opening/closing times and even a web url. I really don't see what more you could possibly need.

There's also no way a travel agent is going to know details about every single destination that you want to go. That's what these forums are to people who HAVE been to your destination.

Have fun planning and putting it's all part of the experience.

Posted by
389 posts

Hi Andrea, I agree with Tim & Stephanie but I appreciate what you're saying. 7 years ago, I planned my husband & I 25th ann. trip to Germany, Austria, Lake Como & Switzerland. Using Rick Steves tapes & books as my travel agent, I planned everything myself. On the plane ride over, the fear of God came over me and I thought what if this gets all messed up and I land up ruining our ann. trip. Well, it turned out just the opposite....everything went wonderfully and we had the trip of a lifetime. We rented a car the 1st week and used the train the 2nd week. As people have stated, train travel is easy. And because we did it ourselves, it meant so much more and now we are planning a return trip to the rest of Italy. Take RS book, highlight the sights you want to see and important info and use it as you go. You will be fine.

Posted by
689 posts

I love my TA. I've used her for 20 years. She is great at gluing my pieces together. I often go to places that are not in books. We find them on the map and then go there. Ginger has found us some great places to stay just off the name of a village! Then there are the times I find the places but because I am old fashioned and don't trust myself with arrangements in Italy - she makes the reservations for us.

I've traveled all over the world with her help!

Ginger Gainey at Cherry Creek Travel. Tell her I sent you - Sally D should ID me.

She does charge a fee, but I think she is well worth it.

Posted by
75 posts

After my last disaster with my TA i've stopped using her. It wasn't really a disaster just that I found better deals and options than what she gave me. I enjoy doing all the research learning the inns and outs and little tricks ect. I've even signed up to get my TA's license next semester. To me its fun and enjoyable, usually. TA's are good for getting things put togeter for you like you mentioned and getting extra deals for the $$'s ext...

What I'd do is in your area call around to a couple of TA places and ask them if they specialize in transportation in Europe/Italy (regional) ect... Make sure they've actually traveled there many times and know what they are talking about. Find one that you like. Then go into the office and sit down with them for an hour or so to figure out what you are looking for. All TA's like to know their clients personally. Or at least they should. Honestly I don't think you need a travel agent you sound like you got it all planned. Good luck!

Posted by
1158 posts

I would never pay a fee to a TA.With so many web sites and books, you can do it yourself for free.
Tripadvisor is an excellent web site with reviews and forums for every country.
You can google anything now days, just type in a keyword and voila!
When you do it yourself your mind has to work quickly and have the plan in your mind already, otherwise you lose time.
Have fun!

Posted by
21731 posts

Ya but this sounds like Andrea's first trip and probably needs a little hand holding. You can glue the pieces together via the internet but I am sure you want some confirmation that you make the correct decisions. That is a little harder. Unless it is a peak city at a peak time, we only make reservations for the first couple of nights and the last night. Everything else is day by day. That way we are free to make adjustments as we go.

Posted by
522 posts


You can do it on your own and I'm a perfect example of some one who was scared to death and did it anyway. I took my wife and her mother to Rome, Tuscany and Paris in September and because we used airline, hotel and credit card points for our flights and hotel rooms in Rome and Paris, using a travel agent was not an option. I can't tell you how much information that I received, AND USED, from this site, and others that we recommended to me here. I also bought my rail pass (read the options) and convertible backpack luggage from Rick's Travel Store and had very few problems on the trip. Have no fear of the trains, or any other public transportation over there, it's easy.

One word of advice...if you need reservations for the museums, trains, etc., make them early, especially a night train if you have time constraints on your trip. Finally, I agree with others who said that planning it yourself is a very enjoyable part of your trip. Enjoy!