Friday 11 February 2011 12.09am
I agree, there are a plethora of travel agents all over London, but they must be experiencing difficult times, and not just because of the downturn.
I honestly cannot remember the last time that I used one to book a holiday, I remember going in Thomas Cook at Surrey Quays in order to split a €100 note into two €50's so that I could enclose one each for my two German grand-children for their Christmas gift, but that's it.
Travel agents were okay in the '70s and '80s when most people wanted a two week trip to the Costas/Greek Islands/Portugal/Majorca/Ibiza wherever. Just give the agent the money, then turn up at the airport.
People evolve, things and horizons change.
Following my divorce in 1973, until I eventually surrendered to the inevitable in 1981, I would travel to Heathrow or Gatwick, scan the departure board, make a choice and go wherever I fancied, hop in a taxi on arrival to a decent hotel then chill out by the pool or beach until I got low on cash then regretfully return to this blighted isle.
For years now my wife and I have rented a house wherever we want to go, via various websites, then arrange flights/car hire the same way.
Get off the plane, pick up the car, make sure that I get the seat that has no steering wheel in front of it, and go where you want, when you want, ( pull into that bar's parking lot love, I'll have a sensible vodka and tonic and you can have a diet coke).
Those group meetings in the hotel lounge where reps try to sell you trips and excursions, and advise you how much a postcard stamp costs, and where the Post Office is are a nightmare from the past thank Christ.