Planning Your Next Vacation or Trip without Getting Scammed

Whether you are looking for a good deal for summer travels, planning an annual holiday trip, or have just decided you need a getaway, Better Business Bureau Serving CT warns people to plan ahead to save money, avoid scams, and travel safely.

Scammers commonly target people looking for last-minute deals online by offering tempting vacation packages at unrealistically low prices. That’s why it is important to do your research first.

According to the 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, susceptibility of falling for a scam rose 86.7% percent—meaning that all scams are getting increasingly harder to identify.

Don’t get burnt from booking your next vacation.

Don’t rush. Trying to book the cheapest hotels, flights or vacation packages quickly is when consumers run the highest risk of being scammed. Allow yourself the time to research the travel agency or website that you are booking through. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of your booking and what the refund policies are.

Avoid searching “cheap travel”. Try to avoid entering phrases like ‘best deals’ into whichever search engine you use. Broad search terms can sometimes lead you to websites that look official, but are designed solely to rip people off.

Be careful of free trips. Watch out for phone calls or letters claiming that you’ve “won a trip” or websites offering prices that are too good to be true. It’s easy to extend questionable offers like these, but the vast majority of them leave hopeful travelers in limbo – and out money.

Get trip details in writing. Before making final payment, get all the details of the trip in writing. This should include the total cost, restrictions, cancellation penalties, and names of the airlines, flight numbers and hotels. Review and keep a copy of the airline’s and hotel’s cancellation and refund policies, as well as the cancellation policies of the travel agency or booking site you are using.

Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card gives you additional protection if something should go wrong with the travel reservation.

No matter when or where you are traveling, there are things you should always do to protect yourself, your home, and your belongings:

Wait to post on social media. We all like to share our vacation adventures with friends and family, but wait until you get back from your trip. Giving too much detail about when you will be away, and your home will be empty, could attract thieves.

Share a copy of your itinerary. Let family or friends know where you will be. Include the contact information of someone joining you on your trip.

Use hotel safes. Store extra cash and keep any valuables under lock and key especially when traveling outside the country.