Location: Folkestone and Dover, Kent
Wanted: A family of four with children aged seven and 10 would like to spend up to 10 nights in the Caribbean over Christmas but to be home for New Year’s Eve.
Budget: £7,000

47 Biggin Street, Dover

I was acknowledged soon after entering the agency and asked to exchange contact details. A polite and friendly agent gave me two quotes. The first was for 10 nights’ all-inclusive at the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya in Cancun in a junior suite, flying from Gatwick with Thomson Airlines on December 17, for £6,489. The second was for 10 nights’ all-inclusive at the Bavaro Princess in the Dominican Republic, flying from Gatwick with Thomson Airlines on December 21 for £6,529. The recommendations fulfilled all that I had asked for, with beaches close by and high standards of accommodation. The agent had good knowledge of both holidays, and discussed excursions and flight upgrades.

Crosskeys Travel
101 Sandgate Road, Folkestone

The service here was warm and friendly. I was given lots of choices, but the main suggestion was for 10 nights’ room-only at the Southern Palms Beach Club in Barbados, flying with American Airlines from Heathrow on December 20, for £6,293. Unfortunately, the flights were not direct and involved changing in both Madrid and Miami. Excursions were mentioned along with insurance but not airport hotels. Despite the long flights, I’d still recommend this agency to friends.


Thomas Cook
29/33 Sandgate Road, Folkestone

I was not acknowledged for 15 minutes. A polite but not very enthusiastic agent recommended 10 nights’ all-inclusive with Funway at Discovery Bay by Rex Resorts in Barbados, flying on December 20 from Heathrow with American Airlines, for £8,213. The recommendation was more than £1,000 over-budget and the flights back were poor with a seven-hour layover in Madrid. There was no mention of extras, upgrades or Esta clearance despite the flights travelling via Miami.

Winning agent

Carla Bennett, sales consultant

It is brilliant that I have come first, I can’t believe it. I have worked in travel for 23 years and love it as every day is so different.


The winner was the only agent of the three to offer holidays that involved direct flights – a key consideration for families flying long-haul.

Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location