I'm a fervent believer in booking my own travel online, and for most single-hop or return journeys it will get you the cheapest deals. However, when it comes to more complex round-the-world routes, a travel agent will often score you a better deal.
Picture by prettywarstl
I was reminded of this anew when organising an Australia-US-Europe trip for early 2010 this week. Booking the individual flights myself online would have cost me $4800. A round-the-world fare offered the possibility of a cheaper deal, but Qantas' RTW booking site is, to put it kindly, useless.
Dropping into my local travel agent, I got the same selection of flights for $3000. That was as a series of connected bookings — round-the-world came in at around $3400.
Taking that approach doesn't mean you shouldn't spend some time researching in advance. But there was no way I could have pulled together that fare myself.
Got a good deal (or a raw prawn) from an agent? Tell us your story in the comments.