The Federal Trade Commission is providing some helpful hints before you head out this summer to keep your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare.
First, get recommendations from family and friends to start your research and then carefully read the details on travel offers.
Look for reputable travel agencies, vacation rentals, hotels and travel packages. Search the words scam, review, and complaint after each company, rental, or agent before responding to offers.
Be aware of any extra costs like resort fees and be sure to ask about taxes as they may be significant in many many locations.
Request a copy of cancellation and refund policies before shelling out any money and if buying travel insurance, make sure the agency is licensed.
Keep a copy of any confirmation details that show rates and amenities you were promised to avoid any type of bait and switch or a case of a “lost” reservation.
Never pay for “prize” vacations because no legitimate company will ask you to pay for a prize.
Check for any catches to resort or timeshare offers to avoid any unexpected taxes and fees.
Never sign anything until you know the terms of the deal which is common with high-pressure sales pitches for timeshares or anyone who tries to rush you without providing time to consider the offer.
Whenever possible use a credit card which provides more protection than simply paying by cash or debit card as well as offering assurances to dispute unauthorized charges.
Avoid unnecessary baggage like additional IDs, credit or debit cards to protect yourself from identity theft while traveling. Also make copies so if someone steals your luggage, wallet or purse you’ll know exactly what was lost and what to cancel.
Additionally, make a copy of your insurance card to take with you, but leave all other important documents safe at home.
Finally, learn how to protect your mobile device so personal information is not easily taken by hackers, thieves or malware.
The FTC encourages anyone who thinks they may be a victim of a scam on vacation to report it.