Miami travel agents give tips on booking vacations

Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?

Luz Chaoui: "One of the greatest benefits is that the agent goes above and beyond to make sure the traveler gets the benefits they earn, like miles or points, and monitors flights and fares to get them the lowest rate."

Jason Cohen: "We believe in providing value. Our members receive valuable promotions like free travel insurance, excursions and onboard credits."

Joanne Paille: "The customer service, people have someone to talk to and a place to go. We can give answers to their questions and are accountable for our customers."

Do you plan all aspects of customers' trips?

Chaoui: "We plan all aspects."

Cohen: "Yes, but we concentrate on cruises and tours."

Paille: "The only thing we don't do is individual airfare. It has to be part of a package."

How far in advance should people plan trips?

Chaoui: "Ideally, two months before travel, but the more advance notice the better."

Cohen: "As far out as possible, you get the lowest prices between nine months and a year."

Paille: "It's more beneficial to book early, like six months. You'll get a better deal."

What's the one travel tip you always give customers?

Chaoui: "A very good piece of advice is to travel light and don't take anything you'd be afraid to lose."

Cohen: "Make two color copies of your passport's first pages. Leave one with a trusted friend or relative at home and put the other your cabin's safe."

Paille: "I recommend people take a copy of their passport in case it's lost or stolen."

Do you recommend customers get trip insurance?

Chaoui: "It's always a good idea."

Cohen: "Absolutely."

Paille: "It's highly recommended so people don't lose their money in case of an emergency."

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