#Hashtags to #Hawai'i: Why I didn't use a travel agent.

hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol #. It is a form of metadata tag. Short messages on microblogging andsocial networking services. Hashtags provide a means of grouping such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it. (Wikipedia) 


ALOHA!

After years of talking, months of planning, and a 10 hour flight;  I finally made it to Hawai'i. As a budget traveler, I (we) opted NOT to use the services of a travel agent beyond coordinating flights and accommodations. We were all coming from various cities on various dates and it was much easier to let AAA Travel handle it. 



So what do #Hashtags have to do with my trip to the South Pacific? EVERYTHING. The reality is people enjoy over sharing on social media and  I took advantage of that. I can't give away all of my secrets, but following #Hashtags saved us #Hundreds ! #BudgetTravel 

Follow #MahaloHi13 on Instagram and Twitter

Initially, I wanted to use a local travel agent. I liked a few pages on Facebook, started following a few on Twitter, and made cold calls.  It wasn't long before I was reminded that the goal of the travel industry is just like any other business. #TurnAProfit. Before I go any further, I am not knocking travel agents. It has crossed my mind a time or two to become one. Therefore,  I am going to share my experience using "I" statements. 

  • I needed this trip to be tailored to our needs and not what was convenient and profitable for an agent. 
  • One popular agent posted negative comments about his clients on Facebook and Twitter. I felt that was unprofessional and rude. 
  • I did not want to spend 11 days riding crowded tour buses to places that were of  no interest to us simply because they were apart of a prepackaged deal.
  • I wanted to save money.
I am putting together a list of tips and questions that you should ask travel agents and  tour companies before booking an excursion. I believe if a person is spending their hard earned money, they should have the experience they want. Within reason of course.

Thanks for reading,
Meredith