First off, I would like to preface this review by saying that despite our frustrations with the travel itinerary, my fiancé and I had an absolutely spectacular time in New Zealand.
When I first reached out to Zicasso regarding a trip to New Zealand, I was perturbed to have only travel specialist reach out to me. Between my family and I, we have used Zicasso many times and typically there are at least two companies that will inquire about your travels to set up an itinerary, but for me, my only option was this travel company. So, when faced with travel plans for this trip, it was either myself or this company. I hope Zicasso will fix this in the future and make sure their guests are presented with multiple options.
When arranging the itinerary in the beginning, it took several, as in over 3, revisions to the itinerary for the agent to actually listen to us and plan a trip that would meet our specifications. She kept including activities that we deliberately told her to leave out or that we did not wish to participate it, or she planned things without even discussing it with us first. She did not seem to pay attention to what types of vacation we were looking for and instead tried to arrange an itinerary with a huge portion devoted to things we had no interest in. She had left our MAJOR details in the initial arrangements, such as planning a self-drive tour without even informing me or presenting the other options available, when driving was not something we had even planned on doing. And when she booked the car, we were not given any options about insurance coverage or anything, she just arbitrarily picked one for us. After the 3rd version of the itinerary still missed the mark, I essentially mapped out exactly where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, and relayed this information to her so she could book our car and accommodations. Sadly, I felt that I had planned the majority of the trip and looking back, I should have backed out from this travel company at that time to plan my own travel, but felt I was too far involved at that point to do so. The reason I turn to companies like Zicassso is to avoid planning my own trip! I was actually amazed when I budgeted everything out at just how much more expensive traveling with the travel company was, as compared to planning my own travel. For instance, our domestic flights in New Zealand were around 50 USD pp. Our agent, when she included these flights in her itinerary arrived at over 200 USD per person! You can imagine my frustration at having to plan almost 75% of this vacation by myself, yet still having to pay a tremendous upcharge for services that were sub par. I feel like for this trip, I would have been way better off planning my own, and may consider doing so in the future.
Another tremendous disappointment were our accommodations, of which I had suggested over 3 star. We had a very reasonable budget for this trip, and our budget would have been flexible had she asked. I had used similar budgets for Spain and France and was delivered two of the best trips of my life. 2 out of the 5 accommodations we had were in motels. One of the motels had no air conditioning in the middle of Summer in New Zealand. Another hotel had off site parking which was both expensive and inaccessible. I feel that if you're going to arrange for a self drive trip, and you are planning your guests' itinerary, you should pre arrange for on site parking (which was available) and include that in the cost of the trip. Two of our hotels were 2 bedroom suites, which was completely unnecessary. Instead of having this broad spectrum of accommodations, I wish they just streamlined the types of accommodations: 1 hotel room with 1 king or queen bed. When we picked up our vehicle in Auckland (which was another hassle as we waited for 2.5 hours in line), we ended up having a late check out at our hotel and was charged a $50 fine for being 7 minutes late on check out. We explained the situation to the front desk that we had to walk to the car depot and therefore could not walk with our luggage, and we just needed grab our luggage and leave, but they were completely strict and unrelenting in their "policy" of late checkout. Perhaps this travel company might choose accommodations with more hospitable and compassionate staff.
Spending quality time with my fiancé, exploring the different cities of New Zealand on our own, tasting the wine and food, making up our own adventures like going on an unplanned detour to Tongariro National Park. Driving on the narrow, winding, mountain roads on the opposite side of both the car and road were definitely memorable!
I would plan it myself! I would have had better accommodations, a better vehicle, more activities geared toward our liking, all while paying less, I'm sure. I would probably have avoided some of the large tourist traps she pushed for (like the Maori culture dinner where I felt like I was being herded like sheep).
I would have also allotted for more time in some areas. It was a fast paced trip and while we saw a lot, it was very busy. Travel Company Comments
Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed review about your time and experiences in New Zealand and I’m glad to hear that overall you enjoyed your time here. We do take your feedback, positive and negative, very seriously.
I pride myself on working closely with my clients to ensure they will indeed experience the trip they envisioned. So, I’m disappointed to hear that I was not able to achieve this for you. It is not my intention to push you towards destinations or activities that you had no interest in. We endeavor to offer what is best for each individual traveler, and this is why it was important for me to connect with you over the phone.
I also want to be approachable to each and every client, prior to travel, during their time I New Zealand and once returned home. I am always reachable over phone or email. I aim for my clients to feel comfortable to reach out to me and tell me any concerns they have at any time.
Despite your disappointment with my service, I’m glad to hear that you still had a great time, especially enjoying the driving experience, which is something that I had highly recommended to you.
I sincerely apologize about the miscommunications that have resulted in you feeling frustrated and dissatisfied with my service. I have taken your feedback on board and will work on bettering my service towards my future clients.
Each review is written by a verified traveler who was matched by Zicasso to the reviewed agency. Traveler must have purchased and traveled.
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