New York travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Jack Gaffney, owner
Witmor Travel Group
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Carl Bartlett: "Many times people are novices or they don't have relationships with travel companies."
Annelle Lagrasso: "Because we'll try to find you the lowest price available."
Jack Gaffney: "The service in general is just much better through a travel agency."
How do you charge?
Bartlett: "If it's a cruise, the commission is built in. If it's just an airline ticket, we charge a service fee."
Lagrasso: "We don't really charge. If you're buying an airline ticket only, we charge. But if you're doing a tour, we make commission on it."
Gaffney: "Our base rate is flat. There's no fee for hotel or car rental because we receive a commission. We charge $38 per person."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Bartlett: "Ideally speaking, a year in advance."
Lagrasso: "It's hard to say. Sometimes you can get a great deal at the last minute."
Gaffney: "It's better to book it as soon as possible, but sometimes you can get last-minute deals."
How far in advance do people need to get their passport?
Bartlett: "They should get them as soon as possible."
Lagrasso: "People are receiving them in about three weeks now, but I say just get it right away."
Gaffney: "I highly suggest doing it as quickly and as soon as possible."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Bartlett: "Don't flaunt being a U.S. citizen."
Lagrasso: "I don't give any specific tips. I advise them on certain places."
Gaffney: "Make sure you always use security for your documents at hotels."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Bartlett: "Barbados, because it's just a wonderful island to go to."
Lagrasso: "I don't think there's any one place everybody should visit."
Gaffney: "Outside the U.S., I believe Paris is the best city in the world."
What's the worst or funniest travel story you've ever heard from a client?
Bartlett: "We had 62 people who had three airline delays and had to catch up to their cruise."
Lagrasso: "Once my husband and I were traveling to Florida and this little gentleman who didn't speak English kept following us around. It was really cute."
Gaffney: "I had a client who decided to book their honeymoon on the Internet and unfortunately it was during the hurricane season."