Home Travel n Tour 6 tips to avoid travel scams when planning your summer vacation

6 tips to avoid travel scams when planning your summer vacation


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Summer is here; for many, that means taking some time off to travel. The problem is that many scam artists are out there looking to take advantage of people planning their vacations and trying to rip them off.

From securing your plane ticket to choosing travel insurance, you must do homework before heading on your next trip. But you also want to protect yourself from summer vacation travel scams. Here, we walk you through all the key steps you can take to avoid costly mistakes and scams and ensure you get the most out of your travel purchase.

Tip #1: Book with known travel partners

The most important thing to remember when buying a vacation travel package is to read the fine print. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting and your responsibilities so there’s no confusion or misunderstanding when booking your trip. If you want to save money on flights, hotels, and car rentals, use well-known travel aggregators like Expedia, Booking.com, and Travelzoo. These websites allow you to compare prices across various companies and websites.


Some scammers set up travel websites that look official but are merely phishing schemes meant to steal your data. Using a product like Malwarebytes can help detect websites that aren’t what they claim to be. Malwarebytes is software designed to detect and block malicious activities and help protect you from various sophisticated cyber threats, including online scams and phishing sites.

Shop it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial then $4.99 monthly, subscriptions.yahoo.com.

Planning a vacation? Make sure you book through legitimate, well-known travel companies. (Photo: Getty)

Tip #2: Check for negative reviews online

Always do your research and check the company you’re purchasing from. If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of a company, do an internet search through the Better Business Bureau or by typing the company’s name followed by the word “review” or even “scam.” This 30-second step can help save you from potentially getting caught in a phishing scam.

Tip #3: Do your research

When you make travel purchases online, it’s essential to read the refund policy carefully. If you purchase a product or service online and have to cancel or delay your trip, you must understand what you’re entitled to receive in terms of a refund.

Tip #4: “Free” vacations aren’t usually free

The biggest problem with travel and vacation scams is that people often don’t realize they’ve been scammed until they’ve spent the money on the trip. If the price seems too cheap to be true, it probably is. Sure, you can “win” free legitimate vacation packages, but there are often strings attached. Even if you score the free vacation, it’s important to remember that you will likely still have to pay for your flights, food, and any other expenses that you might incur while you’re away. Be aware that some scammers set up travel websites that look official but are merely phishing schemes meant to steal your data. (Photo: Getty)

Tip #5: Get it all in writing

Getting your policies in writing and making sure they are clearly outlined before you buy is crucial. It’s critical to read the fine print of your travel plans so you’re aware of any penalties or substitution policies.

The fine print is also where you’ll find extra costs, such as resort and transfer fees. If the fine print only specifies a ‘five-star’ hotel and not your accommodations’ actual name and address, that’s a red flag, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Post-COVID, legitimate travel companies have revisited the cancelation of our revision policies. “Many airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators have been flexible regarding revisions, cancelations, and refunds to help travelers cope with the burden of the pandemic,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of travel at AAA, tells Yahoo Life. Check the fine print before you book travel. (Photo: Getty)

“As travel begins to surge and the demand for space is high, many travel providers are reverting to their normal terms and conditions,” says Twidale. “It is advisable to review all terms and conditions when making travel reservations. Travelers should consider working with a knowledgeable AAA travel agent to help take the guesswork out of vacation planning and enable them to make informed decisions.” As an additional step, make your travel purchases with a credit card. The built-in fraud protection will help you if something goes wrong.

Tip #6: Report travel scams when you come across them

If you encounter a travel scam online, a complaint can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission or your state attorney general’s office. While the FTC will investigate your complaint, they cannot resolve issues regarding individual complaints. You may be able to resolve your dispute with support from your credit card company if you pay by credit card. The proper authorities can catch more scammers if the public comes forward and tells them about travel scams. If you don’t report the fraud, the scammer will keep taking advantage of others.

Shop it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial then $4.99 monthly, subscriptions.yahoo.com.

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