Planning a vacation sometime next year? Prevent a disaster before it starts. Here’s how to protect yourself against dishonest travel agents and their possible scams:
Shop around. Never rush into booking a vacation without getting offers from at least two agencies or tour providers.
Deal only with reputable travel agencies or tour companies. Ask for a referral or do your homework to learn if any complaints have been filed against the company.
Beware of any too-good-to-be-true offer. This can include ridiculously cheap prices or “free” trips that require you to attend a seminar. If anything is two-for-one or includes a free stay, then read the fine print before signing anything.
Ask for details. Find out about all the terms before agreeing to buy. Ask for specific names of airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour providers or any other vendor mentioned as a part of the package. Also ask if there’s a cancellation policy.
Don’t pay all at once. If you’re told to pay in advance, then ask if you can pay only a deposit. Using a credit card is safest because you retain your right to dispute the charges if the services were misrepresented or never delivered.