Charlotte travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Pat Twitty: "A travel agent can take care of all the details. They can find the best trip to fit the client's needs."
Pamela Ward: "They'll have more expertise, more security and can help if there are any problems."
Candy Geiler: "If people are unfamiliar with travel, it gives them a comfort zone."
How do you charge?
Twitty: "We charge service fees and planning fees. We charge $100 an hour for planning."
Ward: "The travel companies pay us. They'll pay us if we send the client to them."
Geiler: "If we get an airline ticket, we charge a $35 service fee. With leisure travel, the hotels and companies pay us commission."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Twitty: "As far in advance as possible."
Ward: "Any exotic place is six months out. That's when you get the best prices."
Geiler: "Sometimes people think the farther the better, but that's not necessarily true."
Do you have a region or country you specialize in? If so, where?
Twitty: "We're quite knowledgeable about Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and Hawaii."
Ward: "Probably the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe."
Geiler: "We do travel all over the world. We don't have one specific area we focus on."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Twitty: "We tell people not to carry a lot of cash while they travel."
Ward: "Call the airline 24 hours before you leave. There are always flight changes."
Geiler: "Don't pack medication in your luggage. Carry it with you onboard."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Twitty: "We'd like for everyone to visit for Pearl Harbor. It's part of our history."
Ward: "Italy. The countryside is absolutely gorgeous. It's mystifying."
Geiler: "Alaska is a place people shouldn't miss in their lifetime. It's something you can't describe without being there."
What's the worst or funniest travel story you've ever heard from a client?
Twitty: "I had a client who showed up at the airport with his baptism certificate because he couldn't find his passport."
Ward: "Before a trip, a little girl fell off a jungle gym and ended up in a body cast. The family had spent $7,000 on this trip. I was able to salvage it, but it ended up costing another $2,000."
Geiler: "I had a client once who was in New York City and went to the wrong airport. He couldn't remember how to get back, so he just watched where the planes were going and followed them."