Vacationers turning to travel agencies
Some may have thought that travel agencies had gone the way of eight-track tapes and the Blackberry, with many people booking their own flights, cruises, hotels and car rentals.
But that isn’t the case.
In fact, in the wake of COVID and because people are so busy, many are turning to travel agents as a way to protect against mishaps that could arise during a trip.
Debbie Rapp had been a nurse for decades and wanted something to do after she retired. So, she started DKRTravel with her husband, Greg, eight years ago.
The company started in New Jersey, but the couple moved to North Fort Myers last year and has provided services to their clients, even helping them in a pinch late at night.
“A lot of our business is word-of-mouth and references. We pride ourselves on being there 24/7 while you’re traveling,” Rapp said. “If you have a problem when you get to your hotel and they don’t have a reservation, you’re not alone. You can call us.”
Rapp said that travel agents have made a comeback because people are very busy and don’t have the time book a trip to Mexico for a week and all it entails.
“I ask people what they like to do when they get there. Are they food-type people? Do they like the bars? Do they like the activities? A beach where you can relax on? I ask them that and tell them to sit back and relax,” Rapp said, adding she won’t send an older couple to places meant for younger people and vice-versa.
Those who look for themselves tend to make the mistake of not knowing where they are booking. A place may have an ocean view room, but they could end up in a room 10 blocks from the beach where you can only see the ocean from the balcony.
“You could be ocean front, but there could be rocks there and not necessarily swimmable. You have to be careful with your wording,” Rapp said. “You may find a great hotel, but it’s out of your ‘age bracket.'”
Rapp said she used to do a lot of cruises before the pandemic, and that has started to come back. However, the ports in the United States are not open, so Rapp is doing “all-inclusives” like quick getaways, they want to know the restrictions since most hotels are doing pre-COVID testing.
With COVID, Rapp said you have to be careful with the guidelines before travel: If you’re quarantined, you have to pay for the 14 days yourself.
“That’s another reason to use a travel agent. They know which hotels do or don’t and what the restrictions are,” Rapp said.
Rapp has booked a cruise for the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce from April 10 to 16 next year on Royal Caribbean from Port Canaveral.
For more information on DKRTravel, call 856-305-4681 or go to Debsdkrtravel@gmail.com