Kansas City travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Gary Davis: "The most important reason is they have someone to help plan their trip. We help them meet their expectations and manage the risk of their vacation."
Heidi Patrick: "A travel agent combines everything and makes sure all of the details are taken care of, and usually it's for a better price."
Susan Schaible: "Experience and service, and primarily support. If something goes wrong, the support system is much better with a travel agent."
Do you offer both online and personal service?
Davis: "Yes, we do."
Do you plan all aspects of customers' trips?
Schaible: "Yes, the full gamut."
How do you charge?
Davis: "Most of the time it's paid for by our suppliers. The main exception is for individual airline tickets. There's no charge for our planning service."
Patrick: "We have a $25 service fee that is charged per person, except for packages. We cap that at $50 for the whole vacation package."
Schaible: "It depends on the service. If it's just airline, then we charge fees because they don't pay commission, but most wholesalers and cruises pay commissions."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Davis: "If you're flying, you need to plan out as far out as possible to get the best deals because carriers have cut down on flights."
Patrick: "Most of the time at least three months in advance. Or, if it's someplace like Disney or Europe, we like to see six months in advance."
Schaible: "If you want to find the best airfare for your vacation I'd say start looking six weeks ahead."
How far in advance do people need to get their passport?
Davis: "We typically recommend at least three months in advance, but we're seeing passports coming back anywhere between four and eight weeks."
Patrick: "At least six months, but if you know you're going to be planning a trip for next summer, get them now. The sooner the better."
Schaible: "Right now they're back on schedule, so I'd say give yourself a couple of months to be on the safe side."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Davis: "I think the biggest tip we can give is relax and have fun because we're going to take care of the details."
Patrick: "I always say be aware of what's going on around you and don't do anything that's going to put you in an unsafe situation."
Schaible: "Pack underwear in your carry-on. Don't wear all of your jewelry when you're getting on the plane."