With Spring Break around the corner, people are beginning to finalize their plans for their week of fun in sun. Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) advises consumers to do their research beforehand to make sure they don’t fall victim to “too good to be true” travel deals.
“If you are looking for an alternative to staying in a hotel, renting someone’s home, condo or apartment may be appealing,” said Alyssa Gutierrez, Director of Communications for BBB serving Eastern NC. “Vacation rental websites make it easy to connect directly with property owners who advertise their rentals online. However, consumers need to be aware of the number of fake rental listings that aren’t actually available or don’t exist at all.”
Last year, BBB received nearly 13,000 vacation industry related complaints nationwide. In most of these cases consumers were misled by travel offers that failed to deliver as promised. Complaints ranged from paying hidden charges to paying for travel arrangements that were never made.
BBB offers the following tips to ensure you’re planning your vacation with a trustworthy business:
Research last-minute travel deals. Bargains on airfare or a hotel may be tempting, but be cautious when booking on an unknown travel website or through an online advertisement. Common travel-related complaints to BBB reported trouble with reservations, online advertisements and incorrect charges. Before booking any reservation, make sure to read the company’s cancelation and refund policy.
Consider travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover such things as trip cancelations 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. Whether you’re staying in a hotel, rental or at a resort, call to confirm all arrangements. Don’t only rely on a receipt or confirmation email. Get all details of your vacation in writing, including contact information, travel itineraries and booking confirmations.
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’ve really won a free vacation, a legitimate business won’t ask you to pay any upfront or processing fees.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org.