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Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

Lafayette, Indiana
Level Contributor
195 posts
Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

I don't do "group travel". Therefore, there's little or no agent help in this area. After searching kayak and others, I have concluded this computer search business is too difficult for me. (Not the travel itself)

I am willing to pay extra to have them do the hard slog, provided they know what they're doing, and will actually work FOR me, not against me.

Any suggestions?

(from mid-west US to VIE to Addis and back, with Istanbul, maybe)

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10,641 posts
97 reviews
1. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

I am not sure what you are asking. Why not find a travel agent and work with them? If there aren't any in your area, look for one online.

Edited: 8:05 pm, January 07, 2013
Lafayette, Indiana
Level Contributor
195 posts
2. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

Almost all travel agents are only interested in groups and vacation destinations. They are selling a product. I do not want to buy THAT kind of product. (notice the "independent")

These mass-market agents do not want to deal with the likes of me. Complex, sometimes one-way. Nor do they know anything about it.

Lafayette, Indiana
Level Contributor
195 posts
3. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

I should have mentioned my age (63) and my lack of skill/patience with computers.

I got more money than brains, but I am getting $750-$850-$1150, even $1250 on successive searches to europe, using several engines. Someone is trying to rip me off.

Level Contributor
2,803 posts
4. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

"getting $750-$850-$1150, even $1250 on successive searches to europe, using several engines. Someone is trying to rip me off."

Huh? That's the going rate for transatlantic travel.

Lafayette, Indiana
Level Contributor
195 posts
5. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

$500 difference between the extremes. Is it That uncompetitive? I think I am not knowing how to do things properly.

Gonna have to come back tomorrow.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10,641 posts
97 reviews
6. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

I think I am not knowing how to do things properly


I can't comment on that, as I still don't know what you are doing. Are you simply looking for airfare?

Level Contributor
1,410 posts
7 reviews
7. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

If that is the price range across different airlines it's normal. Different airlines will offer different travel times, full service vs low cost, flight stopovers, total length of flight etc.

Level Contributor
49,574 posts
93 reviews
8. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

$500 difference between the extremes. Is it That uncompetitive? I think I am not knowing how to do things properly


I think you aren't considering the differences, just the price. Some will be direct, others multiple stops, some on airlines that people will pay a premium to fly on because they are regarded as "better" and so on.

Then there is the question who you are looking at, there are many third parties who advertise flights "from such and such" but you sound old enough and wise enough to know that "prices from $500" is not the same as "prices are $500" and those "from" prices usually rise substantially when you dig into them, do that's another reason for the differences, eg the lower ones may be illusory and indeed someone may be looking to rip you off and it's more likely to be the company quoting the low price :-)

Most everyone here recommends booking direct with the airline and that's the only way to guarantee that a price quoted to you on a website is correct. Many third parties will quote say $750 accept your order then come back the next day or two and say that that price isn't available any more and it's now $950 plus a $50 booking fee so you end up paying $1000 when it was $950 all the time on the airline website.

London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
Level Contributor
8,365 posts
23 reviews
9. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

Do you want an agent just to book a flight or do you want a tailored trip planned just for you with accommodation, transport, transfers and maybe the occasional guide?

I really liked the Zambian safari sorted out for me when travelling solo. It was efficiently planned, the choices were excellent and they were very easy to work with. They also did it with about 6 weeks lead time when others want 9 months.


Tribes also plans holidays to a wide range of other "exotic" destintaions..

I booked my own flights directly with BA because I wanted a direct flight and there was little choice.

Expert Africa did a good job for a trip to Zanzibar and their suggestions of Chumbe Island and Mafia Island were spot on. However, while they were good, I think they are less comfortable with solo travellers than Tribes, were more expensive and less imaginative, but their size gives them clout to get you in to places that might otherwise be difficult.


For complicated flight plans such as an Around the World ticket, I found Trailfinders excellent, but I don't know if they are in the States. They were always very helpful at finding the best prices and advising routing to do so.For simple flights it is better to go directly to the airline, perhaps having done a bit of research on Expedia as to what is available.


Audley is an agency that specialises in tailored travel (which may be what you are looking for) but I haven't used them myself. They are at the more luxurios end of travel, but have a very good reputation.


The best agency I ever came across for sorting out a solo trip is Inside Japan which has a range of about 2 dozen "self-guided adventures" that are suggested itineraries with different themes and prices which include transport, accommodation , the occasional private guide, a 24/7 emergency number in Japan and lots of information for an amazing trip.

You can adjust the "self-guided adventures" or you can have them construct a tailored trip.


Edited: 4:49 am, January 08, 2013
Milford, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,729 posts
98 reviews
10. Re: Independent/backpacker/multicity travel agents

What are the dates of your travel? I travel to Vienna frequently and was just checking flights from CVG to VIE in June 2013.

One Stop arriving next day = approximately 1600.00

Multi-Stop arriving next day = approximately 1200.00

Multi-Stop arriving 2 days later instead of the next day = approximately 917.00

(Note: make sure to check the arrival time of your flight in VIE. Some arrive as early as 8:40am and some won't get you there until 5:40pm and the day is over.)

I would call a local travel agent and ask for help. I used an agent my first trip to Vienna and did NOT go in a group. They can help with flight searches, etc but will charge you a fee.

Good luck and have a great trip! Vienna is AWESOME!!

Edited: 8:17 am, January 08, 2013