Saturday, October 01, 2011

Apple Vacations Travel Agency

So far with all my travels, I have always avoided going through a travel agent because everything is conveniently online. Flight tickets, hotel bookings, even booking for tours can be purchased online.

For our upcoming Japan trip, as usual, everything has been purchased online except the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass). One can only buy this overseas cheaply otherwise it will cost a bomb if you were to purchase when you're in Japan. And it is only available from very select agencies.

My friends immediately directed me to Apple Vacations who position themselves as the Japan experts tour agents. I saw from their website that they have the JR Pass, a Mt Fuji tour and travel insurance which I am interested to purchase and decided to go to them.

I shall just summarize my experience and leave this tip in the event you wish to use them:
1. They don't reply emails despite following up. Call may result in them saying, "We'll get back to you on your email" but don't expect them to revert.
2. They don't come across as being knowledgeable about their products (by being unable to tell me more about their products except from what is on their website).
3. They will charge 3% for using credit cards as payment. Mind you, for purchases in thousands, this is not a small amount. If you wish to avoid this charge, please bring cash or cheque. If you bring cash, bear in mind you're walking around Bukit Bintang (where their office is located) with a load of cash on you.

Armed with these expectations, you should be okay dealing with them if you are prepared to accept all of the above. But for me, discovering all these in a short period of time was truly disappointing. I only bought the JR Pass because I found the same Mt Fuji tour cheaper on Viator and I'd rather pay more to buy my insurance online than give them the extra sale.

I did think that with the internet convenience, business for travel agents would be affected and they would surely need to up their service in order to differentiate themselves. My bad.


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