You are here

Make it a scam-free vacation

Share this page

It’s almost summer! Right now, you probably have beaches on the brain or you’re thinking about that long-planned trip abroad. Before you head out, take steps to help keep your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare:

Do some research — and then carefully read the details on travel offers.

  • First, get recommendations from family and friends on good travel agencies, vacation rentals, hotels and travel packages — before responding to offers.
  • Look up travel companies, hotels, rentals and agents with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
  • Look for extra costs. Resort fees (also known as destination, facility and amenity fees) can add $50 or more to your nightly cost.
  • Ask about taxes, which may be significant in many locations.
  • Get a copy of the cancellation and refund policies before you pay.
  • If you’re buying travel insurance, be sure the agency is licensed.
  • Bring copies of any confirmation details that show the rate and amenities you were promised. This also helps if the hotel or host says your reservation is “lost.”

Don’t pay for “prize” vacations. No legitimate company will ask you to pay for a prize. Also, look for catches to resort or timeshare offers. They may come with taxes and fees to pay, timeshare presentations to attend, and high-pressure sales pitches to endure.

Don’t sign anything until you know the terms of the deal. Say “no thanks” to anyone who tries to rush you, without giving you time to consider the offer.

Use a credit card, if possible, for your travel spending. This gives you more protection than paying by cash or debit card — and it may be easier to dispute unauthorized charges.

Protect your identity and account information while you’re traveling.

And while we hope it doesn’t happen to you, report identity theft and any other fraud you experience.


Thanking you in advance for your excellent advice. My vacation starts next Friday and I saw a couple of things I had not thought about. Continue your great work and I always read everything you email to me.

please consider using black print instead of grayscale which is hard to read.

lots of print is coming up gray these days. New to menus and magazine print. expect its to make all seem softer. Thought it was my eyes getting weak but its the ink. Hitting 70 this year, black is so much better. Thanks Jodee.

Couldn't agree more, especially for eyes of a certain age. High contrast is preferable to designer hues, such as grey [or white type on a pastel background.]

If you are having trouble reading the type (I agree it is too light) the press the "pancake stack" menu (≣) to the left of the location bar at the top of the page. This will re-render the page in a simple text format that is much easier to read (or can be read by an assistive reader tool). Many browsers allow you to adjust the text size and background color of the reader text page. If your browser does nit support this feature, then dump it immediately and get a good one.

And put all of the contact information (toll free telephone numbers) for your credit and debit cards into your phone so that it is easy to reach their customer support if needed. I also had to activate a phone travel plan for international travel.

thank you for all this info! got a lot to dive into and fix but thanks to you guys and your tips and info i had no idea about- i know ill be good :)

Right now someone has listed my condo for rent on Craig’s list! It is Not for rent. Someone is scamming people. I filed a police report, tried to tell Craig’s list and emailed FTC. This is such a shame! I’m so worried a family is going to show up and think I’m scamming them!

Leave a Comment