BBB Tips for Safe Spring Break Getaways

March 05, 2013

Are you in the midst of planning your spring break getaway? Whether you’re jetting to Costa Rica, headed on a cruise, or driving to Destin, Florida, don’t just book a trip because it looks like a good deal! Do your homework first – spring break is not the time to book a trip from a provider you aren’t familiar with!

Out of the almost 4,000 industries the BBB monitors, the travel industry consistently ranks near or in the top 25 for number of complaints, costing consumers as much as $10 billion annually.

While some bargain travel companies might provide all that’s promised, a good many others are nothing more than a means to let your hard-earned cash take a permanent vacation from your checking account. Consumers should also be weary of travel clubs that charge hefty upfront fees even before a destination is selected.

When planning your trip, the BBB advises:

Gather Information. Don’t be fooled by professional-looking travel mailers, websites, e-mails or seminars. Few legitimate businesses can afford to give away products and services of real value or substantially undercut other companies’ prices. Always check out the business with your BBB at

Ask detailed questions and get it in writing. Get names of airlines, hotels, car rental companies and travel providers and check them out to avoid surprises later on. Contact these businesses directly to verify arrangements. Always ask for confirmation of your travel arrangements.

Cancellation and Refund Policies. Ask for cancellation and refund policies in writing – and get copies!

Pay with a credit card. Always pay with a credit card in case you need to dispute charges. Don’t pay for your trip via a wire service as those funds cannot be tracked or refunded.

Contact the BBB if you are a victim of fraud. Victims of travel-related scams should file a complaint with the BBB at or call 1-800-388-2222.