This was my first and last time using a travel agent to assist in planning a vacation. We had an absolutely wonderful trip, but I felt like we could've done a better job planning our trip ourselves and made it more specific to our needs. We expressed early on in our travel planning that we were young travelers interested in spending the majority of the trip outside, not in the car, and we weren't particular about our lodging. I felt like the majority of the places we stayed were not specific to us, but rather were part of a generic itinerary with pre-identified lodging the travel agent uses regardless of his client. The majority of the lodging we had was far out of towns, making it hard to walk around or enjoy dinner out. We were nearly always the youngest people staying at the bed and breakfasts that were booked for us, even though I think we clearly expressed our interest in being in the center of town and our willingness to stay at motels or hotels. We met families who were traveling on very similar itineraries to ours (even though we clearly wanted very different things out of our holidays than they did) and had booked their trip with the same travel agent, and they also expressed their frustration with the agent failing to listen to their specific requests. I think that, with the help of travel guides and the internet, I could've booked a trip that would've been better suited for our needs. That said, the travel agent was always available and had a great attitude when it came it helping us. This service just isn't for us.
We loved all our New Zealand tramping.
We would've stayed in very different lodging. We hated being far removed from town (which was the case for a large portion of our trip), and it was frustrating to stay in fancy lodges or B&Bs when most days we arrived late and left early. We would've been much happier in cheaper motels or less fancy B&Bs in the center of town. We also would've spent less time in the car.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
Hi Leah, I’ve very sorry that you weren’t happy with my recommendations. I don’t know what you mean by your hotels not being in town though, on most of your stops you were right in the middle of town, and the few times you weren’t there were good reasons for it. New Zealand is not a place that you spend much time in cities; it’s a driving destination where you go from place to place experiencing the incredible scenery and having amazing adventures. While there are many possible routes through New Zealand there are only a few best ones and a big part of my service is knowing how to connect those dots. That’s just not information you can get from the internet (though many people try and almost all fail). You have to have done it yourself over and over finding the best way which requires that you’ve done all the other ways as well. That’s work that I’ve put in and in fact am in New Zealand as I write this once again reviewing all the hotels I work with from one end of the country to the other. The touring routes don’t change, but the hotels do. No doubt I focus on the better hotels and lodges which is what most of my clients want. I don’t do budget and Zicasso’s emphasis is on luxury. Nevertheless, I look for value and over the years have put together a list of hotels and lodges that consistently deliver but at the best possible price. That list is not stagnant but ever evolving. It’s easy to find nice places to stay if money is no object. I put you in nice places to stay that were not expensive. I could have put you in inferior places for the same money but how would that be better?
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