Detroit travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Christine Furchak, travel consultant
Fantasy Travel Inc.
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Jim Rozelle: "When you deal with a travel agent, you get the benefit of our experience. We can help you compare one destination to another based on real experience."
Janet Czapski: "The experience they get from the travel agent. They have someone they can contact if something goes wrong, rather than like booking online, where they don't have a real person they can call."
Christine Furchak: "A vacation is an investment and people should be able to meet someone face-to-face so they can consider the differences in trips. And if there's a problem, they can come see a person."
How do you charge?
Rozelle: "We're paid by commission by the cruise lines."
Czapski: "I don't charge a service fee because suppliers pay me a commission."
Furchak: "We don't charge a service fee because the companies pay us a commission."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Rozelle: "Three months to a year is a reasonable time frame."
Czapski: "The earlier, the better: the rates are much less expensive."
Furchak: "Ten months to a year in advance wouldn't be outrageous."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Rozelle: "There are some parts of travel that will always be a hassle – a smile can go a long way."
Czapski: "Carry a copy of your passport and learn some of the local language – it makes things much smoother."
Furchak: "Make two copies of your passport. Carry one with you and leave one at home."
What's your favorite destination?
Rozelle: "Alaska. It's just an awesome place."
Czapski: "I'm a Fiji specialist and I love Costa Rica and Malaysia."
Furchak: "The Mediterranean itineraries: Turkey, Greece, Rome."
What's the best, worst or funniest travel story you've ever heard from a client?
Rozelle: "The most unusual request I had was a family that took Grandpa, who loved to cruise, on a cruise to St. Thomas and sprinkled his ashes."
Czapski: "We were in Fiji recently when Cyclone Jean hit. It was three days with no water or power, but the staff was wonderful."
Furchak: "I don't know how true it is, but I heard of someone being afraid to fly over the ocean to Hawaii, so they wanted to take the bridge."