With spring break just around the corner, now is the time to finalize your vacation plans. Whether your destination promises a relaxing week on the beach or the ski slopes, BBB Serving the Heart of Texas advises students and families to be aware of travel scams.
A travel company can make the process of booking your spring vacation quick and easy. But using the wrong one could turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. In 2017, BBB received more than 2,500 complaints against travel agencies nationwide. Most complaints alleged consumers felt misled by travel offers that failed to deliver on promises. In some cases, consumers paid money for travel arrangements that were never made.
If you are looking for an alternative to staying in a hotel, renting someone’s home, condo or apartment may be appealing. Vacation rental websites make it easy to connect directly with property owners who advertise their rentals online. However, BBB warns consumers to watch out for fake rental listings that may not be for rent or don’t exist at all.
BBB offers the following tips to ensure you’re finalizing your vacation plans with a trustworthy business:
Use a travel company you trust. Ask family and friends to recommend a company they have used and go to bbb.org to find a BBB Accredited Business and view the company’s BBB Business Review.
Get all vacation details in writing. Get all the details of your vacation in writing, including travel itineraries and booking confirmations. Get a copy of the company’s cancellation and refund policies.
Onsider travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover such things as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. The U.S. Travel Insurance Association maintains a list of licensed travel insurance companies. Certain travel companies have different policies and levels of coverage based on whether you purchase the car rental, flight or hotel. Ask questions, and always read the fine print to see what’s covered.
Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card — rather than by cash or check — gives you additional protection if something were to go wrong with the travel reservation.
Verify reservations. Get the contact information of the airline, car rental agency and hotel. Call to confirm all arrangements with them. Don’t only rely on the word of your agent.
Be alert for travel scams. Unsolicited mail, email and websites offering deeply discounted travel packages could leave you out of a vacation and money if you’re not careful. Watch out for scams saying that you have “won a trip.” If you have really won a free vacation, a legitimate company won’t ask you to pay any upfront or processing fees.
For information on Spring Break scams, or any other types of scam, head to BBB.org.
Heather Massey is the Senior Regional Director for the Permian Basin office of Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas. Heather is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can reach her by phone: (432) 741-2592 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.