We were not planning to go away during this June vacation. This was partly due to the H1N1 virus going around as well as the bad economic times. All the forms from school for our travel plans were returned with a NIL written across.
Suddenly 2 days ago, hubby decided that maybe we should go somewhere. I think Little D's: "I would like to go on a plane again!" had something to do with it. So we started looking around. There were a few promotions that looked attractive: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu. Some can be had for under $400 for a 3 day/2 night trip staying at fairly decent hotels.
Oldest suggested Penang again, as the children had an enjoyable the last time we were there 2 years ago. Phuket, we have been many times so we vetoed it eventually. We thought we should be going to a place where we have never been to.
So the process started. For all those promotions offered, we were not able to get flights for the days we wanted!! (We have personal travel blackout periods due to hubbys schedule).So we decided to call the travel agent to assist in making bookings, thinking that they usually have the "connections" to get desired flights, and better hotel deals. The travel consultant quoted us the price of $465 an air ticket which we thought was pretty expensive. But after we asked her if she was sure, she came back to say she could get us tickets at $257 a person!! Still not happy with her response, I decided to go on the internet, and ended up getting our air tickets at $227 per person, and I save the $40/person transaction fee which the tavel agent would have charged on top of that. Talk about service!!
Well, we also asked her to check out the rates at a few hotels for us and she came back with the rate of RM750 a room night for one particular hotel! My initial reaction was ~ there goes our vacation! With 3 children, we need to book two rooms, and, we cant afford to be spending that much! The rates she quoted were more than the promotion rates published on the hotel websites of RM600. And the websites had indicated that there were still rooms available. And all along I thought travel agents get better rates?
So we thought booking on the web would be better, as there were other freebies thrown in as well, which were not included in the travel agents offer. As we had special room requests, we decided to call the hotels worldwide reservation line and made some enquiries. Guess what? We managed to get rooms at rates way BELOW the RM600 a night rate!! What a deal!!
So we would be going on vacation afterall!! It looks like nowadays, its better to D-I-Y, coz these travel agents give practically no service, and on top of that, they want to charge you for it!