Deal of the Week – Travel Agent FAIL !

Reading the Sunday paper’s travel supplement my eye was caught by the “Deal of the Week” by a well-known high street travel agency. Phuket FROM $1339 for 8 days share twin.  What caught my eye – was that the dates to travel included the same dates as we are travelling to Thailand, indeed to Phuket, next month.

So could I have saved money by booking through this well-known travel agency?

Thailand, Land of Smiles and Beaches

The Actual Cost 
Now in my country its illegal to quote prices in the paper that don’t include compulsory surcharges and other fees, so its a lot easier to price compare than it used to be! In this case however I do need to add the price from my home town – that makes it another $158 pp – so we now have a total of $1497 for eight nights.

The restrictions:

  • flying via Bangkok – adds a couple of hours flight time – joy!
  • maximum of 30 days away.

Do It Yourself 
I already have the airfare bought and paid for, a combination of Air Asia and Jetstar plus AirNZ for the internal airfares: came to a total of $917 pp – routing Wgtn-Christchurch-KL-Phuket-Singapore-Auckland-Wellington

So what about a hotel? Well assuming that the airfare is worth $917 to me – according to the package for 8 nights, I am paying (1497-917) / 8 = $72. Doesn’t sound to bad – but remember that’s a per person price! So the actual price for the room is $145/ night !!!! This is a deal for a named hotel – PHUKET ORCHID RESORT & SPA – so I checked out the hotel at my favourite hotel booking site – and what a surprise I can book that very same hotel for next month, or indeed, next week for $45/night (for the room not per person) !

So do it yourself would cost: $917 +8*22.5 = $1277 – though one look at the hotel confirms that its not sort of place – firmly orientated towards families and on a beach I know will probably be un-swimable this time of year (something the ads forgot to mention).

Now your mileage may vary and all the prices in this article are NZ$ – but the point is – it doesn’t take very much to research whether a deal is worthwhile or not through a travel agent – and I’ve checked quite a number over the last few months. And every time I’ve come up with that I could save hundreds of dollars, and get a better hotel for the same amount of money.

For $145/night in Phuket in August – you can go 5-star and exclusive – not 3 star and and average – that’s the difference in taking the time and book yourself.

Oh and the flights are one way so there is no restriction on how long I am away for.

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  1. Amy on August 31, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    So many people think that travel agents offer the best package and it is rarely the case!
    Great tips 🙂

    -Amy Schiele

    • Elisabeth on August 31, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      Very true Amy – agents have certainly had a big shake up with the Internet – but lots of people still use them – there are plenty of reasons to use them – but saving money is not one of them!

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