There is no better feeling than being able to escape from the rat race for a few precious days with your loved-ones. You will treasure the memories for years to come, and re-live the fun every time you glance at one of your well-positioned framed pictures from the holiday.
So, imagine how devastated you would be if your dream holiday turned out to be a vacation scam? There are some unsavoury characters trading as travel operators or villa owners, just waiting to take your heard-earned money and sell you something that will fall significantly short of your expectations, or perhaps worse still, be non-existent.
Follow our tips to protect your family from vacation villains and ensure your vacation dreams don’t turn into a nightmare:
It’s all in the detail
Gather as much information about the resort and holiday location as possible. Ask for contact details (which you should check) and enter the name of the travel company into a search engine to see what’s returned. Use Google Maps to check the location of the property or hotel and make sure all the details add up.
Talk the Talk
The Internet is a fantastic creation that has enabled us to do most things without speaking to a single living person, if we really don’t want to. However, booking a holiday should not be one of those occasions as this is the perfect opportunity for fraudsters to scam you out of money.
If you’re booking a villa or apartment, make a point of actually calling and speaking to the owner. Ask pertinent questions about the apartment and surrounding area; he should have no problem recommending best beaches, days out or places to eat.
Word of Mouth
They say the best advertisement is word of mouth, and this is never truer than when booking a vacation. Check online review sites to see what other holidaymakers have said about the company renting the property, and the property itself.
Flex the Plastic
Pay for your vacation on your credit card, then if it does turn out to be a scam you are covered, and stand a much better chance of getting your money back. If you pay in cash and it turns out you’ve been taken for a ride (pardon the pun) then you can say goodbye to your money forever.
Wait for a contract
Don’t sign or pay for anything until you’ve received a contract that clearly states the terms and conditions of your holiday, signed by the owner of rental company.
Kathryn Thompson is a freelance travel writer; throughout her career she has seen many families stung by vacation scams and is currently on a mission to make people more vacation and travel club scam alert.