Most of the articles on this blog offer all sorts of information on how to plan your own vacation.  It is my hope that this information will bring that dream trip closer to reality.  However, in order to be fully honest and provide full disclosure, I must warn you that there can also be a few pitfalls when going without a travel agent.  Please review the article below so you can avoid these problem areas.

A mistake many planners often make is not doing the research.  Planning trips yourself can offer a wider assortment of options for your trip as well as significant discounts.  You must remember that the key to success lies in three things.  Research, research and more research.  You will find me saying this over and over on this site.  There is a good reason for this.

For example, you may have found an incredible deal for a cruise to the Bahamas in September.  Did you check the weather?  If you watch the weather reports you will know that September is the height of Hurricane season.   Always check the seasonal weather at your travel location.

You have gotten a great airfare to your vacation city.  Did you check the prices earlier or later that day?  An earlier or redeye flight that same day could be cheaper.  Also a flight on a different day of the week could also save you big bucks.  Don’t find a price you think is good and stop there.  You could be missing out on major savings you could have seen with a little more research.

I always use a physical calendar when I make a travel plan.  It is not very hard to book the wrong date, especially if it is months away.  Also make sure any vacation time you are taking from work coincides with the exact dates you need for your vacation.  You would be surprised at how many people make this simple but totally avoidable error.

Always take the time to read the fine print.  For example, make sure the hotel you got that great deal from is close to the sites you want to visit.  You can usually find this out by checking the hotel’s website.  They should will give you a listing of the close by sites so you don’t waste too much of your valuable vacation in your car.

It is also a good idea to check with a travel agent to compare the prices of your trip to the prices they offer.  Also check if they are any additional perks associated with their offer.  You may, however, find that their perks do not make up for the savings you have found.  The only way to know is to check and compare.

So, should you use a travel agent or book yourself?  That depends on you and whether or not you enjoy doing the research to avoid the pitfalls indicated above.  I always recommend, however, doing both.  Why not have the best of both worlds. Then you choose what the best deal is for you.  This keeps you in control.

To sum up, use the information throughout this blog to find the best deal that you can.  Then compare your deal with what a travel agent comes up with.  Either way, you will wind up with the best deal.

Have you ever experienced other pitfalls of planning your vacation? Leave us a comment below.

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