Travel Deals and What to Watch Out For

As consumers, we see hundreds of travel deals advertised on a daily basis by many of our favorite travel websites or through Twitter and Facebook. However, there are some, not so legitimate entities out there fishing for your business. There are two pretty valid sayings out there one should always imprint into their memory when they are shopping for deals. One being “buyer beware” and the other “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” Now of course you can give the offer the benefit of the doubt but you really should educate yourself on things to look out for. We hear stories all the time from people who were scammed out of $500 for an all-inclusive vacation package to the Caribbean or other exotic island getaways. These offers claim to include air travel, hotel, transportation and food vouchers to various restaurants. Of course that sounds like an amazing deal. However, the odds of it being legitimate are fairly slim. There are also those deals that are deceptive on what they offer. They may splash an ad with what looks to be a 4 star hotel with beach views but in reality, it’s a cheap motel located next to the freeway. We highlight some things to watch out for when shopping for good travel deals.


If you or anyone you may know hasn’t heard of them, beware. Do you do diligence on companies offering these ultra-low packages. Do they have a website? How is their Google presence? Do they have any customer reviews? These are just a few things you can check into to ensure the company is a legitimate source for purchasing travel. If they don’t have a website, stay away. You can also check on their Better Business Bureau status as well.


No credit cards, no deal. Using your credit card to make travel purchases protects the consumer against fraudulent purchases. Cash does not. Use extreme caution if the travel company does not take credit cards.


Beware of those breathtaking photos. If the company in question provides amazing photos that almost look too amazing, do a Google image search or find reviews on that particular hotel. More often than not, many legit sites like Travel Adviser will have customer reviews that feature photos. Those are great sources to see what you might be getting yourself into.


How do their reviews look? Online reviews are important selling points for many of us. Personally, I always check online reviews to places I have never been to. I have also noticed on many occasions the good reviews are written by someone who has only reviewed that particular place and nothing else. That’s a red flag and it’s likely they either wrote the review themselves or hired someone to write positive reviews for them.


How is their BBB (Better Business Bureau) rating? This investigation option only exists in North America. They monitor complaints and scams provided by consumers and give them A+ through F grades accordingly. Steer clear of any company with a poor grade. We would recommend staying within the A+ to B range.


No email contact! If the travel company in question refuses to do business online, go elsewhere. It could be proof they are looking for a way to not have anything in writing in the event you decide to dispute a claim that you received a fraudulent product or were deceived.


It’s too good to be true. Watch for deals that don’t specify taxes. Bad offers tend to leave out those fine details and round of to the cheapest number. Check around on the more popular travel sites to see if they are offering a similar deal. Compare the difference in cost. If there is a huge price gap, it’s probably best to stay away.


Stay out of the club. If a travel provider will only give you the deal if you sign up for their club membership, walk away. Nothing good can come out of this and it’s in your best interest to just find a better travel provider.


Stay away from Craiglist! Beware of ads on Craiglist offering travel deals. Many of these companies are 3rd party vendors and not legitimate travel providers. Not only will you get ripped off but there are cases of unsuspecting consumers becoming victims of identity theft.


A consumer’s best tool for finding spectacular travel deals are through the variety of sources available online. However, it’s smart to know what you’re getting and who you’re getting it from. Our best word of advice is to always do your research with those travel providers before you make a purchase. Today, most travel providers are required to include all taxes and fees in their online advertisements. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, the odds are that it is.