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Booking agent vs. doing it on my own?

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
205 posts
58 reviews
Booking agent vs. doing it on my own?

I'm planning a trip to Namibia in November. I really enjoy researching my travel destinations and coming up with an itinerary that is perfect for us. I have always booked my accommodations directly with the hotel/ lodge. However, I recently saw a post that said certain travel agents can get better deals if you book through them. Is this true? If so, I would appreciate some recommendations. I am considering 2 Wilderness lodges in Damaraland and would love to stay at the "and beyond" Desert Safari Lodge in Sossusvlei. This is only my 2nd trip to Africa and so I feel a little green. My methods have worked well in Europe, SE Asia and Central America, but I'm open to changing course if it means I can save some money and stay at some amazing places. Thank you for your suggestions.

5 replies to this topic
Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
39,939 posts
448 reviews
1. Re: Booking agent vs. doing it on my own?

I would not say it saves you much money but it is certainly no more expensive to use an agent.What it will save you is all the leg work of booking places, paying several deposits, renting a car and then lining up your bookings in a driveable order.

The agent may also be able to open vacancies that appear full and add value for you in the type of accommodation and service.

I have done both ways and am firmly in the TO camp at least for Namibia.

I have used Cardboard Box and latterly Gemma Dry at Discover-namibia.

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
205 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Booking agent vs. doing it on my own?

Thank you!

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
19,528 posts
63 reviews
3. Re: Booking agent vs. doing it on my own?

Although a dedicated D-I-myself guy, I am also using a TA in Namibia, and mrs.Dry from Discover Namibia has not only provided us with impeccable service but has also added a cherry or two on top.

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
37 posts
44 reviews
4. Re: Booking agent vs. doing it on my own?

I booked independently for a recent trip to Namibia, though it was a bit frustrating as we had to pay some international transfer fees to European bank accounts for some of the campsites (who didn't have paypal or similar but needed advanced payment). For one campsite (the NWR site in Sesriem) it was showing that it was fully booked on their website, but when I enquired via Cardboard Box, they sorted it out for the same price that we would have paid if we went direct, so it's definitely worth looking into.

Level Contributor
34 posts
66 reviews
5. Re: Booking agent vs. doing it on my own?

I usually book all my travel myself as I love researching and planning and travelling independently. However, for Namibia we used a local tour operator to book the trip, Namibia Tours & Safaris - https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Attraction_Re…

They were excellent! I came up with a rough itinerary and a few lodges that I wanted to stay at and a couple of hikes I wanted to do, and we worked together to finesse the itinerary, route and lodges.

Other pros of using a local agent were (1) one booking and payment instead of 10+, (2) someone local to call for backup if we had any issues on the trip (we didn’t), (3) they booked our self drive vehicle and delivered the vehicle to us when we arrived, (3) no more expensive than booking it ourselves.

We did a 19 day self drive tour and it really was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had!

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