Dorothy Albee has traveled more miles in the past decade of her life than most people cover in a lifetime. An active member of the nonprofit organizations Earthwatch and Global Volunteers, as well as a frequent participant in ElderHostel trips, she's been to Africa alone eighteen times.
When she needs assistance booking a trip-to anywhere in the world-she consults Marco Ruiz, her preferred travel agent at the Monterey, CA AAA Travel office.
"I like working with AAA agents generally because they make such an effort to find the best and cheapest way for me to travel," Dorothy says. "But I've found Marco to be particularly outstanding. He always remembers your name. He's so friendly and easy. He gives you the impression that you're his only customer."
After Marco initially helped Dorothy book a volunteer trip to Costa Rica that was structured around some stringent time constraints, Dorothy called him again when planning a trip to Kenya. "I told Marco I was going to be out in the bush and wouldn't be able to confirm my return flights," Dorothy says. "He said, 'Oh, I'll do that for you.' No other travel agent has ever done that for me!"
Marco also advised Dorothy to transfer her own luggage-rather than letting airport staff manage it-when she changed airlines in London for her flight to Nairobi. "Although he had no way of knowing that this would happen," Dorothy marvels, "an accident in Nairobi meant that all the flights on my departure date were canceled. When we arrived a day later, many people were without luggage. But not me."
Dorothy will be volunteering at the Honolulu Zoo this July. Marco made her travel arrangements. When she's ready to plan her next adventure, Dorothy's sure to consult Marco again. "His office has such a comfortable atmosphere that I feel good going there," she says. "From the time we first met, he treated me as if we were friends. And now, of course, we are."
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