If you have been offered a great bargain on a cruise or resort vacation, but you cannot seem to get all the details unless you pay the company first, you may be dealing with a travel scam.
Typically, scam operators won’t give you full and complete information in writing until after you’ve given them your credit card number. Once you do get further information, there will be restrictions and conditions which may make it more expensive, or even impossible, to take your trip.
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While getting a refund is sometimes possible, it’s better to avoid paying anything in the first place. While there is a chance that you might be missing out on a great deal, it’s best to avoid something that looks like a scam and just look for the genuine travel deals from reputable places.
Be extremely skeptical about unsolicited e-mail, postcard and phone solicitations saying you’ve been selected to receive a fabulous vacation or anything free. Be especially wary of firms requiring you to wait at least 60 days to take your trip.
Some offers might sound great on the surface, but be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully. Certain offers impose so many requirements and restrictions, such as black-out dates and companion fees, that you will either never have the chance to take the trip or you will have to pay more.
Keep private information private. Never give out your credit card number unless you initiate the transaction and you are confident about the company with which you are doing business. This applies to things other than just travel.
You should receive complete details in writing about any trip prior to payment. These details should include the total price; cancellation and change penalties, if any; and specific information about all components of the package.
Know when to walk away from high-pressure sales presentations they are often a waste of time anyway, even if they offer a free gift.
Always pay with a credit card if possible. Even legitimate companies can go out of business. Countries have laws to protect consumers, and banks will often give you a refund if you paid by card and the payee went bust.