Portland area travel agencies give tips on booking vacations

Portland area travel agencies give tips on booking vacations

Do you offer both online and personal service?

Pat Calkins: "Yes."

Paula Hobble: "Yes. Personal service is No. 1. We have a website, and you can buy there, or you can send us a message with your request."

Kristi DeSylvia: "We offer both online and 24-hour personal assistance."

Do you plan all aspects of customers' trips?

Pat Calkins: "Absolutely."

Paula Hobble: "We do."

Kristi DeSylvia: "Yes. We coordinate all aspects of the travel experience."

How do you charge?

Pat Calkins: "We don't charge for anything unless it's just a plane ticket. If it's a package of any kind, we don't have a fee, but we do have a processing fee if it's just an airline ticket."

Paula Hobble: "If it's something where a supplier pays us, we don't often have a fee - it's built in. If there's a lot of research required, then we talk with the customer and perhaps put a fee on. But we'd always mention that."

Kristi DeSylvia: "Generally speaking, a service charge is applied to airline ticketing transactions, while reservations for cars, hotels, tours and cruises are free of charge."

Do you have a region or country you specialize in? If so, where?

Pat Calkins: "The South Pacific, Hawaii and beyond. We have an agent that's been on several trips to Europe. Cruises are a real specialty with us."

Paula Hobble: "Most agents have an area they know very well. I do a lot of sales to the Hawaiian islands and South Pacific."

Kristi DeSylvia: "We have 32 travel specialists. We specialize in virtually every part of the world."

What's the one travel tip you always give customers?

Pat Calkins: "Reconfirm your flights, and arrive at the airport early."

Paula Hobble: "Be honest with their expectations. Traveling is an adventure, so be flexible."

Kristi DeSylvia: "Don't use traveler's checks. Use the ATM - they're everywhere."

Do you recommend customers get trip insurance?

Pat Calkins: "Absolutely. For anything that's more than $1,000, we recommend they get insurance, because it's too much money to lose."

Paula Hobble: "I do. If you're going on a little trip that's $200, maybe not, but if it's a nice vacation and you've saved up for it, the trip insurance is usually very small compared to that."

Kristi DeSylvia: "Each trip is unique and needs to be independently evaluated for insurance. When the financial risk is high, I strongly recommend it. But it's often not needed."

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