Baltimore travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Annette Stellhorn: "Most travel agents spend 40 hours a week researching travel, so we have more knowledge than a regular person. We also have contacts all around the world."
Ellie Hill: "Because a travel agency has access to more than one vendor and can always seek out the best deal."
Mary Levin: "To have someone to talk to and give them direction. An agent might have been there and can tell the customer the ins and outs."
Do you plan all aspects of customers' trips?
Stellhorn: "Yes. Typically the travel agent will take you from door to door."
Hill: "Yes, we do. We're a full-service agency."
Levin: "We do the whole package - the air, the transfers, the hotel, places to eat."
How do you charge?
Stellhorn: "We're paid by the tour or cruise operator, so there are no additional fees. For the airline service, it's on a sliding scale."
Hill: "There's no service fee, unless it's a customized tour. We get paid based on volume."
Levin: "Most of the tour companies pay us. We charge a service fee for the airline tickets."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Stellhorn: "Pack lightly. Don't take anything you can't live without."
Hill: "Check in before with the airport."
Levin: "Be careful and hide your money. Don't carry it where someone can see it."
Do you recommend customers get trip insurance?
Stellhorn: "Always. You also should get medical insurance for trips."
Levin: "I always recommend it."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Stellhorn: "Italy. It's beautiful with wonderful culture and food."
Hill: "It depends on the individual. If you're looking for something romantic, I'd say Tahiti."
Levin: "I'd say out west around the national parks. People don't realize what we have in this country."
How do you help customers narrow down their travel destination?
Stellhorn: "It's based on their desires and interests."
Hill: "They usually come in with a destination in mind. It could be based on the weather."
Levin: "We ask them what their budget is first and then we go from there."