I’m a huge fan of using a travel agent for international travel. You don’t realize how much they do until you get one and realize how less stressed you are about your trip. Last year my travel agent got out of the business after 20+ years due to her frustration with customer service. I asked her if she could recommend another one. Her response is they are all young and have no idea what they are doing.
I decided to take a gamble and use a young woman who had been my coworker. She had quit her job to become a full time travel agent. The trip was pretty easy to plan. I had given her the destinations I wanted to go to and most of the hotels I wanted to stay at. I would be taking this trip with my husband and father. I mean how hard could this be for her, right?
I had been to Costa Rica 3 times before so I knew the country pretty well. I had a pretty good idea how much the trip would cost. After some back and forth she came back with a price that was $20,000 over the trip cost I had estimated! She had used a local company in Costa Rica that she had little experience with and did not even assess their grossly overpriced trip. It’s unclear who was trying to take me for a ride- the travel agent herself or the tour company in Costa Rica or both- but it was clear I was going to have to plan this myself (more on this in another post).
I contacted the resorts/hotels directly, booked the international air and domestic air, and hired a private transportation company that I had used previously. I worked with the hotel to book the excursions we wanted. I essentially saved $20,000 booking everything myself. This is assuming that you would blindly pay for a grossly overpriced trip.
Our trip is coming up in less than 2 months. I’ll report back on how it went. If you’d like more information on visiting Costa Rica check out my 3 previous trips!