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Community Discussion

Is it really worth using a travel agent?

Original message posted by Joshua Jones on 10-23-06.

I was at a recent conference where I heard a travel agent speak of the various benefits of going through an agency as opposed to shopping for the lowest price yourself. In recent years, this game has changed quite a bit with airlines changing the rules all the time. What is your opinion? Have you had experiences that convinced you of one or the other? For short-term teams, I'm still particularly fond of contacting airlines' group rates departments.

Reply by Kira on 02-06-07.

I definitely recommend using a travel agent for a couple of reasons. 1) They save you countless hours of time and energy that you could be spending preparing for your ministry. 2) They are far better equipped to do research on the best fares, dates and times. 3) There are a number of agencies that provide special "missionary" discounts on airfare and travel expenses that you would be unable to access without going through that agency.

Reply by Vina on 02-12-07.

Yes, I agree with Kira! I recently became a travel agent myself, and prior to that, have used a travel agent to book all the travels I arrange for our short-term trips. A couple of things I will add. 1. Many people think it costs them to go through a travel agent. Many of them charge a booking fee, but if you look closely, sites such as travelocity and expedia charge a fee as well. 2. Develop a relationship with your travel agent and go through them whenever you travel. They will appreciate your business, and will immediately think of you when best deals come up related to your usual itinerary.

Reply by Louis on 04-23-07.

My church is mobilizing ~50 people to Thailand and continue its commitment in Mexico. In all, we will have 4 separate trips to these places. Having looked on the internet, I was discouraged to see how much the airfare is from Houston to Chiang Mai. Can someone suggest a good travel agent that would be able to help us?

Reply by Jack Colton on 04-28-07.

I had a great experience with Mark from Christian Mission Travel ( I think they're online at www.ChristianMissionTravel.com). I could tell he worked hard to find us the very best fare and they are all Christians, too. They have an easy form to use and they responded quickly.

Reply by Sandra Corsi on 05-11-07.

Hello, I am looking for the cheapest flight to NBO on June 14 back of Sept. 1. Its for my friend Martin W. Masinde who is a Pastor and director of 50 aids orphans in orphanage, and he is also attending Seminary to serve the people of Kenya better. Thank you, Sandra Corsi

Reply by Hans Mast on 05-28-07.

A travel agency that specializes in mission travel is Golden Rule Travel: http://goldenruletravel.com/ I am a missionary student in Thailand and have used them in the past and have been very happy with their service. Disclaimer: I also work for them.

Reply by Esther on 05-31-07.

I personally prefer to shop for my own tickets. I have consistently found lower prices and better fares than through a travel agent. It does take time, but if you do it a couple of times it is pretty easy to figure out what you need to do and when the low season is to your destination. If you are traveling with a large group, a travel agent is a good thing because they can buy large blocks of tickets at a cheaper price. But for just one or two people, I have yet to meet someone who can beat my airfares. The sites I recommend are Orbitz and Travelocity. It is worthwhile to check out a few of the others, such as Expedia or Priceline, but they don't seem to be quite as consistently low or reliable as the other two.

Reply by Suzy on 06-01-07.

I just wanted to affirm Han's response regarding Golden Rule travel-goldenruletravel.com, I've booked numerous youth teams to Nicaragua thru them and have found them extremely helpful and flexible- plus you can reserve a large block of tickets months in advance with only a small deposit which makes fundraising much easier for youth! They also do a great job coordinating from multiple transit sites.

Reply by Joji George on 10-19-08.

We are a christian owned travel agency which provide the lowest fares to mission trips in dallas metropelx. easy terms of payment, group discout, special contract fares for business class tikets. You can experience a diffence while dealing with us - give us a chance to serve you or your organistion

Reply by Linda on 04-14-09.

I have often wondered why someone hasn't put together an article on how to shop for your own airline tickets. What sites are the best overall prices. Someone in the above comments said that she found it pretty easy once you figure it out. Why not post an article on how to do it. We have been traveling back and forth from Africa for the past 15 years. We have gone through an agency that shops for the best deals and charges $50 a ticket over the cost of the tickets but we are willing to have someone else do the work for us of wading through time tables, connecting flights, etc. to make sure we have the best deal.

Reply by Bonnee on 04-26-11.

Having flown to both South Africa and Kenya multiple times, I have worked on both finding my own tickets and having a travel agency assist me. In the end, I found that having a missionary-related travel agent assist has many benefits. Having stated that, they are NOT all the same and having "missionary" associated with their name sometimes means nothing. One way to go about it is to contact a number of them (can be done via email), tell them what you are in need of and see what comes up. Having done this my last time on furlough (from Kenya) I would also recommend asking them (up front) HOW MUCH their booking fees are. So far, like Hans (who I do not know, by the way) I would recommend Golden Rule Travel. I have found them (Davey & Sharon) to be highly professional and compassionate concerning the specific needs of those traveling.

Reply by Cindy on 01-05-12.

I work for Main Street Travel and we hold the British Airways Missionary fare contract . We would be happy to check pricing . Feel free to contact the Missionary Department at 800-654-4995 or by email at missionarydesk@mainstreettravel.com . Look forward to hearing from you .

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