Looking to book a trip for one last chance to hit the slopes or get an early taste of the summer sun? Be sure your spring break deal will get you there, hassle-free, by shopping wisely. Better Business Bureau of Central New England can help you get there with simple tips.
“Regardless of the product or service, it is always helpful to comparison shop,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “BBB Business Profiles offer comprehensive information on the background of businesses. If you are looking for a travel agent or service, find out their history on bbb.org first.” Vacation rental websites make it easy to connect with property owners, but be aware of the possibility of fake rental listings. Make sure your working with reputable agents, use these tips from you BBB as a guideline:
- 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 Profile.
- 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.
- Consider 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.
- Ask about mandatory “resort fees”. Hotels often come with resort fees, usually for services like Internet, fitness facilities and access to the pool. But the extra fees can add to the per night cost of your stay, and are mandatory, regardless of whether or not you use the services. Before you book a hotel reservation online, call the hotel and ask if a resort fee is included in the total cost.
- 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.