Booking a vacation can be exhausting. Finding and price checking transportation, lodging and excursions can leave you wondering if maybe you should really just stay home. It’s why many people find a travel agency when planning a trip. Having an agency take care of the finer details can mean you’ll get deals you may not have found otherwise and can also save you a lot of time. You want to make sure, though, that the travel agency you use is legitimate and trustworthy. Protect yourself with these four quick ways to make sure you don’t get ripped off by a travel agency.
Ask if they’re licensed or certified
Depending on the state or country, it’s not always required by law that a travel agency be licensed or certified, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your money is safe if you work with a travel agency that has appropriate financial protection and certifications. Travel agents in each state of the U.S., however, are required to have a travel agency bond. This protects you and your money in the event of any unethical circumstances. Ask your travel agent if they are bonded before giving them any money.
Be wary of “free” or discounted travel offers
You should question any time you get a call or find out that you’ve won a vacation or flights. These are almost always scams and ways of taking your money or identity. Also avoid agencies that require a waiting period of 60 or more days before taking your trip, as these waiting periods are usually put in place so that you run out of protection that you may have with your credit card or PayPal account.
Talk to friends and family
Reach out to your network of friends, family, and co-workers. Ask if any of them have a travel agency they would recommend, or if you’re already working with one, ask if anyone has had good experiences with them. You can also take a look at online reviews. You can’t always trust online reviews, but they can be a good place to start to find the best travel agency.
If they don’t offer it, request that the travel agency give you documentation of all the reservations and payments that they do on your behalf. Whether they book a 10-night stay in a hotel in Venice or a day trip to the Grand Canyon, make sure you receive a confirmation of the reservations and that the names and amounts paid match what shows up on your credit card or PayPal statements.
With just a little bit of caution, you can look forward to a relaxing trip knowing that the details have been taken care of by a good travel agency you can trust.