Should you trust travel agencies that you see online advertising their travel packages at a bargain? Coz, we almost thought that we’ve been shammed.
Few months ago me and my travel buddies planned to explore Ilocos. Our objective is to have an affordable but memorable travel experience. We looked into different travel agencies, compared their packages and offers. The Triple 8 Travel & Tours have the most enticing package among other offers we had.
I am not going to enumerate the different agencies we had to choose from so I could focus on the subject.
After we narrow down our choices we did our research, where is their office located, looked for their official website, read reviews on their Facebook page and reviews from different bloggers. Also, we were able to speak to the owner Mr. Mark Buizon who in my personal opinion is professional enough to keep his words. one thumb’s up
Our sales agent was Janet. We have spoken to her for numerous times. Which I think is normal for a person/group inquiring.
I think she is used to clients like us. First time to avail online travel package She have handled and addressed our concerns properly. Another thumb’s up
Well, our basic concerns were the following:
1. Terms and conditions
2. Cancellation/rescheduling of travel date
4. Payment terms
5. Itineraries, accommodations, entrance and activity fees.
But I am not going to go over each of our concerns. I’ll leave it to the sales agents
Moving forward, the package we had cost us Php 2,999/person all-inclusive for 3 days and 2 nights travel and stay in Ilocos. Plus the travel agency provides you complimentary breakfast on the 2nd and 3rd day. The complimentary breakfast for 2 days were just fine and ordinary. They served us scrambled egg, and longganisa on the 2nd day. Then, scrambled egg and meatloaf the next day.
When we made our down payment Php 500/person, an unfortunate thing happened. We could not contact the agency for a week! We feared that they ran away with our money, the research we did was not enough, and all other negative possibilities. Panic mode on. So we kept on calling their office telephone, read further below the reviews on their page and found messages from other clients telling that they had experienced same. Oh my! Browsing further down the page I saw a message from the agency apologizing to clients that they were not able to entertain calls because all of them were out-of-town accommodating a big company outing. Whoo thank goodness! It made us wishful, thinking that it could be just the same situation. Gladly it was. They apologized for not being able to answer our calls as they were out for their company outing. They should have left a message before doing such, I think. Thumb’s down.
The tour. Nothing is extra ordinary on their tour service. They don’t have a tour guide to accompany us in each places explaining facts, telling local stories, myths and the like. The driver would just drop us, and pick us up after 15 mins. to an hour depending on the place. The good thing is you own the experience. You get a chance to roam around wherever you want to go and stay for a little longer. Also, you may get a chance to have a conversation with the locals which would be extraordinary.
The vehicle. It was a comfortable 10 sitter van, customized with a flat screen television; so passengers could watch movies while on travel or sing karaoke. Also, the van is equipped with electricity outlets where we could charge our gadgets should we run out of battery. Another good thing there is wi-fi on board! Wow! A comfy and convenient travel vehicle. Thumb’s up!
The driver. Coming from Manila we reached our first destination after the fast 8 hour drive; considering we had a couple of stopovers along the way. It was a good thing, but there were instances that the driver drove so fast that we felt unsafe. Followed by a couple of instant stepping on the breaks, and zigzag driving as if we were on a race or we were being chased. At first, there was a bit fun, excitement, and thrill on his driving stunts; then it became uncomfortable. He even hit a dog while on our way back to Manila! Everyone was taking a nap on our way back. Suddenly, we heard a bang! Something hit the hood of the van. I know the driver hit something. I turned my head to peek at the back window and saw a dog lying on the road. He hit a dog! Dang! He did not stop, I did not do anything I was shocked. Triple thumbs down
Luckily we arrived safe going to Ilocos and back to Manila.
The itinerary. Guaranteed Triple 8 Travel Agency will take you to the must visit places in Ilocos. Thumb’s up Just be sure to know your itinerary well; so you could check whether the driver skipped a place by any chance. Should you experience same, and if you really want to visit the place you missed, inform the driver right away. If possible insist that you would want to drop-by.
Overall I will rate the Triple 8 Travel and Tours 6 out of 10 (1 being the lowest and 10 highest). It was not bad at all. Maybe it is not the best, but we had a good travel experience. It was indeed a tour at a bargain. And yes, the travel agency is real not a scam. They have good sales agents and with easy payment terms. All in all we were not short-changed I just did not like the unsafe driving.