Travel agents take you on a tour of their business

Travel agents take you on a tour of their business

Three highly rated travel agents give tips and tricks on how to plan the best vacation at the best price.

Why should people plan a trip through a travel agency?

Rozelle: "We can help you compare one destination to another based on real experience."

Goodgion: "The experience the agent can offer. We've been there, tasted the food and met the people."

Paille: "The customer service — people have someone to talk to and a place to go."

How do you charge?

Rozelle: "The good news is that we work off a commission paid by the cruise lines."

Goodgion: "Sometimes we charge service fees, but mostly we're paid directly through the wholesalers."

Paille: "We're paid on commission from the tour companies or cruise lines."

How far in advance should people plan a trip?

Rozelle: "From three months to a year is a reasonable time frame."

Goodgion: "I'd say three to six months."

Paille: "It's more beneficial to book six months early."

Do you have a region or country you specialize in?

Rozelle: "The Caribbean and Alaska."

Goodgion: "Israel, Mexico and cruises."

Paille: "Europe and the Caribbean."

How far in advance do people need to get their passport?

Rozelle: "At least six months in advance."

Goodgion: "At least three months ahead of time."

Paille: "At least four to six weeks."

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

Rozelle: "There are some parts of travel that will always be a hassle — a smile can go a long way."

Goodgion: "Buy insurance."

Paille: "I recommend people take a copy of their passport in case it's lost or stolen."

Are more vacationers turning to Internet travel sites instead of agencies?

Rozelle: "People are coming back to agencies. They do it themselves online and get frustrated."

Goodgion: "Yes, but I think people will realize we have a lot to offer, and we don't, in many cases, cost them money."

Paille: "I think there's a reverse in the trend. People start online and need help."

What's the worst or funniest travel story you've ever heard from a client?

Rozelle: "The most unusual request I had was a family that took grandpa on a cruise to St. Thomas and sprinkled his ashes from the back of the boat."

Goodgion: "I booked a trip to Ireland with a travel company. We arrived and found out the company there had gone bankrupt. I had to drive a seven-passenger van with seven women on the wrong side of the road."

Paille: "On a cruise, you have to pack the night before and turn in your bags for departure. A customer packed everything and had to depart the ship in pajamas."

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