Atlanta travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Jean Pickard: "Knowledge. Expertise. Experience. We make your life so much easier."
Shirley Curry: "We know the packages and we can guarantee they're what we say they are."
Kathy Tagariello: "I think that the experience travel agents have is beneficial."
How do you charge?
Pickard: "We charge $55 for domestic airline tickets and $125 for international. We don't charge for cruises or packages."
Curry: "We're paid by the vendors. If we're doing air only, we have a $25 service fee, but that's the only thing we ever charge for."
Tagariello: "We charge a flat fee. It's $35 for an airline ticket. If we booked a leisure trip, we wouldn't charge you because they pay commission."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Pickard: "If you're doing something complicated, six to eight months is a good lead time."
Curry: "As soon as they know because the availability is better."
Tagariello: "You should plan it about six months in advance, if you want to get the best deal."
How do you help customers narrow down their travel destination?
Pickard: "Questions. Lots and lots of questions."
Curry: "We just talk to them. It's entirely up to them, but we can add suggestions."
Tagariello: "We ask what they want, what they can afford and where they're from."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Pickard: "I've always said India because it's such a different world."
Curry: "I think everyone should visit Hawaii. Also, Alaska - it's gorgeous."
Tagariello: "Probably Alaska because it's so beautiful and still unspoiled."
What makes your agency better than others?
Pickard: "The knowledge. We're very hands on."
Curry: "Our personal contact with our clients."
Tagariello: "We're available 24 hours."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Pickard: "Line the bottom of your suitcase with Bubble Wrap."
Curry: "I just want them to be sure of where they want to go before they pay."
Tagariello: "If it's international travel, make a copy of your passport."
What's the worst or funniest travel story you've ever heard from a client?
Pickard: "We all have the story about people who want to take a bus to Hawaii."
Curry: "One time my clients taped their friend's cruise door with crime scene tape."
Tagariello: "The worst one was an elderly couple coming from Europe and the husband died in the bathroom. That was awful."