About Us

While you likely found us online, tripcentral.ca’s origins date back to a travel agency started in Hamilton, Ontario in 1989 where our head office remains.  You can book online, but our phones are answered by skilled agents that used to work from 25 retail locations in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that were closed permanently in response to the pandemic.  Our agents now work completely from home answering calls and requests for appointments from our website.  You have many choices to book online.   We are Canadian owned and operated, accountable, with qualified agents that used to work in our retail locations.  

Our Mission 

To make the best planning, booking, and travel experience for our customers by matching their changing needs, providing advice, and saving them time.

While we do not fly the planes, hand out the room keys, make the food and serve the drinks, we know that the right choices while planning and booking affect your travel experience.  We also know that your needs change from trip to trip based on who you’re travelling with, your available budget for each trip, and as your travel experience evolves.  The more we know about what you and your travelling companions want and need, the better we can make recommendations.  In short, we have to do it better than you can on your own.

Our Values

  • We are enthusiastic about leisure travel
  • We are curious and attentive to our customers’ needs
  • We value time, both our customers’ and ours
  • We express confidence about our knowledge & skills
  • We are innovative, trying new and better ways
  • We are friendly to our customers, suppliers, and colleagues

Why Book with Us Instead of Airlines, Hotels, Cruise Lines Directly?

Any company directly providing the travel service is obviously biased towards their own offer.  They have a goal of filling seats and rooms and trying to create loyalty to their brand along the way.

Almost all travel suppliers deal with travel agents and wholesalers because the costs of dealing with customers directly is very high.  We also have the ability to mix suppliers to make unique itineraries.

In most cases, you pay no more, and sometimes even less, when you book with us – whether on our website or with our agents by phone or in store.  The only exception to this general statement is about booking flights with our travel agents versus on our website.

In short, you are a speck of dust, a number, a file, a “passenger” to our suppliers.  Mostly these are massive companies with big bureaucracies.  If everything goes right, you may not notice the difference.  But if things go wrong (schedule changes, weather, cancellations, overbooking, etc), this is when you’ll really notice the difference.  You’re a number to them, but to us, you are a real person – with feelings, expectations, wants, needs, and a reputation to uphold for your travelling companions.

Why Book with Us instead of other travel agencies and websites?

We were once a small travel agency.  It’s in our DNA.  Richard Vanderlubbe, founder, President and majority shareholder, started by booking and selling travel in the first office.  The personal service of the small independent travel agency is still present.

But along with that, the company has grown into a powerful leisure travel website, with multiple locations pre-pandemic, extended hours, and most importantly, systems and a team of people responsible to back our agents and help deliver reliable service (double checking bookings, tickets, documents, schedule changes, and accounting).  If something goes wrong (weather, strikes, etc) our team mobilizes, prioritizes and communicates with our customers directly.

Don’t Listen to Us - Read Our Unfiltered Customer Reviews

We are proud of our reputation.  The vast majority of our competitors and suppliers don’t even have the ability to leave a review on or even a post on their company Facebook page.  Check it out before you book.  Our customer reviews are in social media Better Business Bureau, Google, and Facebook.  They cannot be edited or deleted on Google and BBB – and on Facebook our policy is to leave up all of our 1-star reviews.  We are not perfect, and we make good on our mistakes.  

Reviews on our website are from OUR customers only.  Unlike other hotel review sites, you cannot just write a review.  You can only write a review from a link we email on your return.  The hotel reviews on our site are from Canadian travelers like you.

About Our Travel Agents

Many of our agents have been with us for a very long time.  We invest heavily in their travel experiences by providing more familiarization trips than any of our competitors.  There is a lot of value added for our customers in that we market “Agents Who’ve Been There” – and direct you to the phone extensions of our agents who’ve actually visited the destination, hotel, cruise line, or itinerary you are viewing.

It is impossible for everyone to have been everywhere, and everyone starts out new in the business.  But our collective knowledge from our “agents who’ve been there” and marketing team are shared with our agents who have not been there.  Every agent has access to insider information on destinations and resorts and often consult each other on behalf of their clients.  It’s not unlike specialists and general practitioners, or even lawyers that specialize in some areas but have not dealt with every scenario.

Our agents are backed by systems that have much more power than shown online.  They can often find things that are not shown online or appear sold out.  We can often request space or re-price in different ways than what can be shown on our website.

Our people are trained to ask questions – to uncover things you haven’t thought about that might affect your choices.  It is not about “up-selling”.  Everyone has natural sales resistance.  We just want to be sure that the choice your about to make is really the best for your needs and expectations, your travelling companions’ needs, and “bang for your buck”.

Do you Charge Booking Fees?

We charge no additional fees for packages, cruises, and tours.  There is no difference between our online price for packages, cruises and tours or dealing with one of our agents on the phone or video conference.  An automated system for re-booking future travel credits offers a no-fee online solution.  If you prefer agent assistance, a re-booking fee will apply only if the online service is available.  

There are no booking fees for online flight and hotel bookings you make yourself.

If you want the services of one of our travel agents for a flight booking, we do charge a “complete flight service fee” as almost all of our competitors (and even some airlines) do.  It is not a fee for booking – it is a fee for the time invested in researching multiple fare options, different pricing methods with human intuition, providing advice on baggage and other fees not included in the airfare, change and cancellation charges, connection times and connecting airports, advice on seat selection and booking, etc.  And if something goes wrong (schedule changes requiring choices and re-booking, etc), you have a human who is accessible and willing to help.  We have contacts at the airlines that you don’t have, and we will put up with the ridiculous phone queues and reservation staff to fix things.  You can certainly do this on your own on our website for no fee for straight forward bookings – but there are still many traps in the lowest fares these days.

If you have a complex itinerary requiring significant up-front research, you may be quoted a custom travel planning fee to compensate for thorough and uninterrupted research that may end up in no booking at all.  It is not always applicable if you are researching and booking component by component incrementally as opposed to an all or nothing approach.

One thing about our travel agent planning fees.  In many cases, you end up saving money compared to muddling through on your own.  It’s like any other professional fee you pay – for tax preparation, legal services, hair cutting and styling, car repair – you get what you pay for, and in most cases it gets done better and faster than you trying to play travel agent yourself.  You don’t have the tools we do, the knowledge, or the relationships with travel suppliers to necessarily get the best deal.

Give us a call, or set up an appointment with one of our agents.