Philadelphia travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Who we talked to
Jim Caldwell, manager
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Stephanie Harris: "Because if they have any problems, they can just call us."
Patrick Roche: "We offer service, experience, knowledge and price savings."
Jim Caldwell: "There's more customer service available than through an Internet site."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Harris: "Always have your passport."
Roche: "Don't do too much research. Don't over-Google a place. Just be careful, there's so much information."
Caldwell: "To plan ahead."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Harris: "It depends on where they're going and what time of year."
Roche: "I recommend four to six months in advance."
Caldwell: "If it's during the winter or summer, about two to three months. For international trips, three to four months."
Do you recommend customers get trip insurance?
Harris: "Yes, if anything happens, you'll need it."
Caldwell: "In some cases. Some credit cards provide insurance for you if you use their card to purchase the trip."
Do you have a region or country you specialize in? If so, where?
Harris: "The Caribbean."
Roche: "Mostly the Caribbean and Mexico."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Harris: "Everyone should make a trip to Europe. Try London; they speak English."
Roche: "Washington, D.C. - everyone should see our nation's capitol."
Caldwell: "Dubai because it's an up-and-coming city and it's absolutely incredible."
Are more vacationers turning to Internet travel sites instead of agencies? If yes, how are you handling this?
Harris: "Yes. We tell them we can get the same rates and they'll have our personal attention if a problem arises."
Roche: "They're turning to the Internet for information, but purchasing their trips through an agent."
Caldwell: "Initially, but the lack of a personal touch that comes with Internet sites keeps people coming back to agencies."
What makes your agency better than others?
Harris: "We're a small agency and we give very good service and work very hard."
Roche: "We offer a discount program and that allows people to stay at a nicer hotel for less money."
Caldwell: "Our low prices and customer service."