to book with a travel agent or not
I've travelled in many places in Canada and used one agency with different travel agents. I also go to different countries each year.
Recently, I had a major problem with my booking when I was in South America and I tried to fix the problem with the airline. They stated I have to contact my agent. Several problems:
1. Since I booked with an agent, the airline will only speak or deal with the agent. I was told that the system in Canada does not allow a passenger to "own" the booking even if I paid it and I am the one travelling.
2. The collect call number that the agency claimed operates 24/7 does not operate 24/7. It will ask you to leave your message and they will call you back. This is also again a problem because cell phones don't usually work in Peru airports and also the agency will have difficulties locating me.
3. My travel agent visited 6 countries but mostly in Europe and has no idea what is in South America or in the Far East. It took him time to get back to me with my questions about Peru.
I'm now going to Argentina. My friend who went to Argentina had the same problem. She warned me that the collect call number does not work and with the time difference, I might run into major problemts. So I'm now deciding to take control of my own hotel booking and airline booking as I always travel with comprehensive insurance anyway.
1. how important are travel agents? I spend thousands of dollars each year and each year I run into problems involving the travel office I hire. The agent makes error on time difference between countries and the hotel booking info is what I can also read from Frommer forum.
2. Are online "middle men " hotel bookings reliable for example, trivago, expedia?
3. How reliable are hotel bookings made directly by guests, instead of using go-between channels?
Hoping to hear from anyone.