The grammatical phenomenon in question is called backshifting. For reported speech, it means that the tense of what is reported is dictated by frame of the reporter (who tells that something was spoken) and not in the frame of the speaker. For instance, if like in your example the report happens in the past, the tense of the report shifts back one step (as compared to direct speech). English has this for reported speech; German doesn’t. In German, the tense of reported speech is dictated by the frame of the speaker.
Thus, the correct translation of your example would be:
Kurt told me on the phone that he made a trip.
Since this difference in backshifting is not very prominent in real life and teaching English as a foreign language, many native speakers of German do not know about it, let alone apply it correctly all the time.
As the author of your example was a native speaker of German, I assume he just made a mistake.
For fun and another example, we can look at the English sentence in question:
Kurt told me on the phone that he makes a trip.
First let’s ignore for the sake of the example that makes may refer to the future (of reporter’s frame) and that you probably would rather say something like:
Kurt told me on the phone that he was going to make a trip
Due to backshifting, makes in the example means that the trip alleged by Kurt happens now (in the time frame of the reporter), and thus after Kurt has told the reporter on the phone. An example containing all this information with direct speech would be:
Kurt hat mir am Telefon gesagt: »Wir werden am Dienstag einen Ausflug unternehmen.« Heute ist Dienstag.
… and with indirect speech (using the subjunctive I of the future):
Kurt hat mir am Telefon gesagt, er werde heute einen Ausflug unternehmen.
Note that in German we need additional references to capture the exact point in the future (from the speaker’s time frame). Otherwise the trip could happen at any point after the phone conversation: before, simultaneously or after the time frame of the reporter.