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Travel Agents

We rarely use a travel agent because keeping this web site up to date requires continual research of every topic related to Hawaii, including travel options and costs.  But, if you don't have the time or desire to shop around by using the internet or calling numerous airlines, hotels, etc. you will probably be better off using a travel agent.  They can help you find bargains, recommend alternatives if your original choices are not available or are too expensive, and assist you in putting
together just what you want for your trip.  Travel agents work on commission from the airlines, accommodations, and tour companies.  Pressure on travel agents continues to increase as airlines and resorts have begun to limit commissions paid to them.  Good travel agents serve as a broad knowledge base and can provide unbiased and objective alternatives regarding your trip.  Travel agents have access to more focused resources than several web sites combined so they should be able to get you a better price than you could get by yourself without doing a lot of research.  However, bad travel agents may recommend options that generate the most money in commissions for them rather than saving you money.  Having said that, realize that when you contact an airline or resort they will not let you know that you can get a better deal with their competitors either.

As with many other services, personal referral is the best way to select a travel agent.  Check with relatives and friends or the travel agency that books travel at the company you work for.  If you can't get a referral, consider the following in choosing a travel agent:

==>  Choose one that has been in business for some time.
==>  Consider a travel agent that specializes in planning Hawaiian vacations.
==>  In talking to the agent, realize they want a long-term relationship, not a one-time sale.

To ensure you get the most out of your travel agent, do your homework.  Do research by reviewing this site, links to other sites we have included, and tour books, etc. to have an idea of which islands you want to visit, where you want to stay, and what you want to do before contacting a travel agent.  Unless you ask for something specifically, the travel agent probably won't consider it if there is no commission involved.  Once you make some of the basic decisions, contact the travel agent, discuss your plans, and ask him or her to make the arrangements for you if the package and price are satisfactory.

Discount Travel Agencies   
Consolidators, also called bucket shops, buy large quantities of tickets in bulk from airlines and sell them at discounts.  They can normally save you money compared to buying directly from the airlines.  You can find their ads in the Sunday travel section of major newspapers.  However, it normally takes a lot of work to comparison shop among consolidators because busy signals are common, you often are placed on hold, and then the consolidator may not have flights you are interested in.  If you specify an airline it may cost you money that could be saved.  Sometimes they will be able to offer steep discounts with specific airlines so if you contact them simply ask for the least expensive fare.  

Cheap Tickets is one such agency we have used.  They buy blocks of unsold airline tickets and sell them at discounted prices.  They seem to offer the best fares on Continental and Hawaiian Airlines.  But, do your shopping because there have been times when Travelocity has offered lower fares and other times when you could buy directly from the airline at the same price (we've never seen it lower through the airlines).  Cheap Tickets also offers hotel bookings and rental cars.

We are cautious of many of the consolidator ads with extremely small boxes in the travel section.  Make sure you know what you are getting and all restrictions before giving them your credit card number.


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