Some caution before paying for tours with tour agencies


ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
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sing
#1
Travelling and using a tour agency?


Remember to ask this very clearly and get firm answers:


• Can the tour agency finalise and give you the completed air ticket, hotel room reservations and transport arrangements from airport to hotel - immediately, right now, if you pay in full? Maybe you can place a tape/digital recorder on the table and tell them you are recording this and will take action against them if they renege.


♠ There are actually good tour agencies that can deliver this excellent service for travel to certain countries. eg. Sunny Travel can do this for short tour to Bangkok, flying by Thai Airways. They are a big enough player for that route to have the authority/connections to do this.


♦ Don't accept shifty answers from the lousy tour agencies.


♦ Beware of suggestions that they want you to pay now in full or a large deposit and they will call you and ask you to come down 1 week from departure date to finalise arrangements.


• Beware of tour agencies that take your money and then tell you that they cannot give you any air tickets or hotel accommodation or airport transfer arrangements until literally the very last 30 minutes before you check in at the airport. The tour agency tells you to go to the airport on departure date and 2 or 3 hours before flight time.... and wait for their representative - who will bring the necessary air tickets and hotel room booking documents. The so-called representative is obviously not the tour agency staff - but is an independent travel broker of sorts. This bad arrangement makes for anxiety.


• Why do some tour agencies do this? (I know at least one tour agency at People's Park Centre basement has done this before)


It may be that:
♦ they are a very small player and have no pull with the airline/s and hotels.
♦ they are in deep financial trouble.
♦ they want to take your money first, use it for various other things (e.g. gamble on stocks, casino, lend it out on loan shark basis and earn high interest, etc...) until the very last moment. This is known as rolling other people's money.
 

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keithwee

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 20, 2010
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LittleRedDot
#3
Thanks for sharing :) been thru something similar ?

Think at my age i prefer to make our own arrangements for travel and run around free and easy haha, getting lost is in itself kinda fun too (though not too lost la haha)

Can't stand the 'planned itinerary' tours ; but who knows 30 years down the road I might learn to appreciate them.
 

user12343

Senior Member
May 15, 2005
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#4
Good points raised. Another trap is to avoid groupon land tour packages.
 

eleveninth

Senior Member
Jan 17, 2006
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#5
should post this in the travel section. for once you posted something useful bahaha.

or are you too used to posting in kopitiam. :X
 

Foxshade

New Member
Jun 26, 2009
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In cat's stomach
#6
Good points raised. Another trap is to avoid groupon land tour packages.
Heh, my exp was different. Groupon was OK for few times, and has yet to fail me.

On the other hand, Agoda online booking disappointed me once. Booked ferry tix, and my hotel got no room. They offered full refund plus 10% disc on next booking, but managed to wrestle out the full refund hotel plus ferry tix, since there shall never be next booking.
 

kelccm

Senior Member
Mar 2, 2004
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A village in a forest
#7
Have not tried those tour agencies before except to book some coach ride up to Malaysia. Other than that, all the airline tixs and hotel reservations are done by myself online. One reason is that I don't like to follow those planned tour packages..... can't stand having to be ushered and rushed around by a guide and having to wake up so early every morning.
 

eleveninth

Senior Member
Jan 17, 2006
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#8
Heh, my exp was different. Groupon was OK for few times, and has yet to fail me.

On the other hand, Agoda online booking disappointed me once. Booked ferry tix, and my hotel got no room. They offered full refund plus 10% disc on next booking, but managed to wrestle out the full refund hotel plus ferry tix, since there shall never be next booking.
I've only booked hotels from Agoda, I've heard of cases where the hotels have seized operating with Agoda, but you could still book them via Agoda, upon arriving the hotel would not have any booking info. That that was ages ago and I've never experienced it for myself soo.. I still book with them.
 

user12343

Senior Member
May 15, 2005
1,032
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#9
Heh, my exp was different. Groupon was OK for few times, and has yet to fail me.

On the other hand, Agoda online booking disappointed me once. Booked ferry tix, and my hotel got no room. They offered full refund plus 10% disc on next booking, but managed to wrestle out the full refund hotel plus ferry tix, since there shall never be next booking.
My first and last booking with Groupon is upon paying the package deal, I proceeded to ask if the participating tour agency when can confirm the itinerary. They advised me it will only be made known to be 2 weeks before departure, which put me off. I prefer to plan well ahead and confirm everything well in advance. What if they still can't confirm and even if they refund the $ back? What sort of prices do I have to pay for a last-minute getaway? I badgered them to convert my deal to another confirmed trip plus additional top up, however, based on their packages also not that enticing. As it turns out, the meals provided also lousy, thereafter I told myself to stay away from such deals.
 

richiemccaw1

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2013
3,103
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Singapore
#10
My first and last booking with Groupon is upon paying the package deal, I proceeded to ask if the participating tour agency when can confirm the itinerary. They advised me it will only be made known to be 2 weeks before departure, which put me off. I prefer to plan well ahead and confirm everything well in advance. What if they still can't confirm and even if they refund the $ back? What sort of prices do I have to pay for a last-minute getaway? I badgered them to convert my deal to another confirmed trip plus additional top up, however, based on their packages also not that enticing. As it turns out, the meals provided also lousy, thereafter I told myself to stay away from such deals.
Good point. I have never really trusted the Groupon-style travel deals. There has got to be a catch somewhere that comes with such low prices. I travel to relax, not to have to deal with unexpected incidents (negative). It is probably good that more people are aware of the dark story behind Groupon and other 团购 websites.

As to TS' advice on travel agencies, I fully agree. The way I see it is to just pay a bit more for a peace of mind with the more established or better reviewed agencies. Saving a dollar here and there pre-trip would almost certainly mean that dollar comes out later on in the form of 'tips' for the local guide and being psychoed into buying some nonsense during one of those 'shopping attractions'.

Until I become older and perhaps a wee bit lazier, I would prefer to make my own travel arrangements so that I can take my time to see things. My experience years ago with travel agencies largely involved waking up at 6am thereabouts to eat breakfast before rushing to the tour bus, spending little time at attractions, spending more time at shopping places such as Chinese herb shops.
 

Jun 12, 2008
757
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Jalan Poonpipi
#11
Have not tried those tour agencies before except to book some coach ride up to Malaysia. Other than that, all the airline tixs and hotel reservations are done by myself online. One reason is that I don't like to follow those planned tour packages..... can't stand having to be ushered and rushed around by a guide and having to wake up so early every morning.
Wat about Chan Bros, which seems to me has got lots and lots of publicity, especially, in TV, you know those package with a mediacorp personel to act as a promoter as well as a tour guide. it looks like it is more of another TV program then a tour package. Anyone tried.??????? Chan bros seems to be one of the big bozs.
 

user12343

Senior Member
May 15, 2005
1,032
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#12
Wat about Chan Bros, which seems to me has got lots and lots of publicity, especially, in TV, you know those package with a mediacorp personel to act as a promoter as well as a tour guide. it looks like it is more of another TV program then a tour package. Anyone tried.??????? Chan bros seems to be one of the big bozs.
Those mediacorpse hosts go for free, at the expense of other participants in that tour group. They only talk and guide and PR along the way.
 

#13
Wat about Chan Bros, which seems to me has got lots and lots of publicity, especially, in TV, you know those package with a mediacorp personel to act as a promoter as well as a tour guide. it looks like it is more of another TV program then a tour package. Anyone tried.??????? Chan bros seems to be one of the big bozs.
Make sure you personally check out the hostess is not a ladyboy. :bsmilie:
 

hanzohattori

Senior Member
Apr 16, 2010
999
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#14
Wat about Chan Bros, which seems to me has got lots and lots of publicity, especially, in TV, you know those package with a mediacorp personel to act as a promoter as well as a tour guide. it looks like it is more of another TV program then a tour package. Anyone tried.??????? Chan bros seems to be one of the big bozs.
Yeah they are one of the best agency. I went with them few years ago.. service is good, a fellow group commented how contrast the tour with her previous travelling with cheaper company lol.
 

#15
Wat about Chan Bros, which seems to me has got lots and lots of publicity, especially, in TV, you know those package with a mediacorp personel to act as a promoter as well as a tour guide. it looks like it is more of another TV program then a tour package. Anyone tried.??????? Chan bros seems to be one of the big bozs.
Chan Bros is good. But I strongly recommend you go with Chan Sisters for obvious reasons. :bsmilie:
 

richiemccaw1

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2013
3,103
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#16
Those mediacorpse hosts go for free, at the expense of other participants in that tour group. They only talk and guide and PR along the way.
Not sure about going with Mediacorp celebrities.. Some of the travel shows Ive seen look very contrived. I wonder whether the people who signed up for such tours had good experiences, notwithstanding that they get to appear on TV.
 

donut88

Senior Member
Nov 14, 2008
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#17
Its the same common sense as buying cameras. Only buy from reputable shops. Avoid all dodgy shops.
 

snatchsg

New Member
Oct 6, 2013
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#18
sometimes you have to pay more for quality services else do it by yourself.
 

user12343

Senior Member
May 15, 2005
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#19
Not sure about going with Mediacorp celebrities.. Some of the travel shows Ive seen look very contrived. I wonder whether the people who signed up for such tours had good experiences, notwithstanding that they get to appear on TV.
To be honest, I wouldn't want such publicity when appearing on national TV.
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,353
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#20
Not if someone is going on the trip with his mistress and hopes the wife/in-laws never find out - on TV.
 

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