Raleigh travel agents give tips on booking vacations
Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?
Nicki Bass: "We have several wholesalers we use, special discounts for hotels and cars, experience and knowledge on destinations."
April Laughinghouse: "Planning a trip can be very labor intensive. If you aren't familiar with the destination, it's easy to overlook details in the planning process and find yourself disappointed with the outcome."
Monique Hutchenson: "As an agent you know something specific about places they'd like to visit. Also, many people don't like to do the leg work or research."
Who we talked to
Do you plan all aspects of customers' trips?
Laughinghouse: "We have the ability to plan and book any type of travel."
How do you charge?
Bass: "We don't charge for vacation packages since the wholesalers pay us a commission. We do charge for airline reservations."
Laughinghouse: "Our services are free to our clients. Our profits come from referral commissions the vendors pay."
Hutchenson: "Our vendors and suppliers send the commissions to our host agency, and we get a percentage of the commissions."
How far in advance should people plan trips?
Bass: "As soon as possible to get the best prices and availability."
Laughinghouse: "Plan domestic vacations at least six months in advance and international vacations at least 12 months in advance."
Hutchenson: "Depending on the trip, on average it's about two to three months."
Do you have a region or country you specialize in? If so, where?
Bass: "Yes. Hawaii, Las Vegas, Disney and Florida."
Laughinghouse: "Orlando, cruises, Europe, Las Vegas and New York. I'm pursuing a specialist degree in Mexico."
Hutchenson: "I've taken some classes on Hawaii but not a particular region."
What's the one travel tip you always give customers?
Bass: "Plan ahead and be realistic with your time."
Laughinghouse: "Prepare before you go. By planning the details before, you free yourself up to truly appreciate your destination."
Hutchenson: "Purchase travel insurance."
What's one place you recommend everyone should visit and why?
Bass: "Las Vegas because it's an adult's playground and nothing ever stops there."
Laughinghouse: "There's no one place that's for everybody. I suggest you think about what interests you."
Hutchenson: "In the United States, I love Chicago. Outside of the United States, I hear that Aruba is beautiful."