Hartford travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Linda Rotondaro, owner
Bon Voyage Travel Agency
Rocky Hill, Conn.
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Bill Lynch: "They get personalized professional service and they have someone to talk to all the time."
Martha Kirsche: "For peace of mind and professional advice."
Linda Rotondaro: "We know the discounts that are available. We'll always get the same, if not better, price you can find on the Internet. And if you run into trouble, we'll be able to help."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Lynch: "That has a lot to do with destination. Places that have limited peak times, you want to do it at least nine months in advance."
Kirsche: "It depends, usually the earlier the better. Sometimes, based on the destination, it might be better to wait. We'll advise them on the best time to book."
Rotondaro: "It could be four to six months ahead of time. Unless it's Christmas holiday or March spring break. During those peak times, I'd book as soon as you can."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Lynch: "Make sure your documents are all in order and always be street smart so you'll be safe."
Kirsche: "Allow plenty of time at the airport."
Rotondaro: "Re-check your flights and never put anything valuable in your luggage."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Lynch: "Disneyworld because it makes you feel young."
Kirsche: "Paris. It's just a beautiful city."
Rotondaro: "Italy. It's so fascinating, and they have everything."
Are there places you tell people to avoid? If so, where?
Lynch: "No, I leave it up to them and their judgment."
Kirsche: "Atlantic City."
Rotondaro: "No, not really."
What makes your agency better than others?
Lynch: "We care."
Kirsche: "I think the level of service and professionalism and knowledge of my agents."
Rotondaro: "I like to treat every vacation I help plan like it's my vacation."
What's the worst or funniest travel story you've ever heard from a client?
Lynch: "We had a snowstorm that canceled flights, but my client wanted to go on his cruise. He ended up flying out of a different airport to St. Lucia, took a helicopter to a smaller island, then a boat to the cruise ship."
Kirsche: "A man booked a flight for him and his girlfriend, unbeknownst to his wife, and then found out his sister-in-law was going to be on the same flight. Needless to say, he canceled that reservation."
Rotondaro: "I've had clients' luggage disappear Ð never to be seen again. Some of it gets stolen. Where does it go? That's what I'd like to know."