Tips to avoid scams when booking your holidays online

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More and more people book their vacations through the internet, but 6% admit that they have been scammed on some occasion. And, with the increase in online travel searches, the number and variety of scams have also increased. Here we tell you some tips to avoid these scams when booking your holidays online, be it an apartment, a hotel, when buying plane tickets or when taking out travel insurance.

Avoid scams when booking holiday apartments

Scams when renting vacation apartments generally occur when, upon arrival at the destination, the apartment does not exist, is already occupied or does not meet the conditions that it had in the advertisement. To prevent this from happening, these are the recommendations:

Be wary of bargain holiday prices Be wary of bargain prices

You must compare the prices that are offered in the area and on different websites; If the price is too low, it may be a scam.

Apartment location Confirm the veracity of the ad

Check the location of the apartment and that the images in the ad match those of Google Street. You can also do a search of the images to see if they have been used in advertisements for other apartments.

Landlord identity Verify the identity of the landlord

If you are a private individual, you can verify that you are the owner by requesting a simple note through the Property Registry.

If you rent through an online travel booking agency or platform, confirm that it is the official website to avoid phishing. One way to do this is to call by phone, as in some cases they may be pages that supplant the official ones.

Book vacations Keep a copy of your reservation

If you are contracting directly with an individual, it is advisable to sign a contract to have a document containing the rental conditions and the price.

Use a holiday credit card Pay through secure payment methods

The safest thing is to pay by credit card, because in certain cases the order can be revoked for a certain period of time and, in addition, they have anti-fraud insurance.

If it is an individual renting through a platform, never leave it to complete the reservation through WhatsApp or email, nor, especially, make transfers or other similar payments outside the platform. All have the means to make card payments.

Holiday booking documentation Save all documentation

Invoices, advertising brochures, contract, messages with the landlord … They will serve as evidence if a claim has to be made.

What is the best way to book a hotel?

The hotel reservation can be made directly on the establishment’s website or through hotel reservation platforms, but keep in mind that the price of the room may vary depending on when and where you book. These are the tips to get the best price and book safely.

Book vacations in advance Book in advance

The earlier you book, the more options you have to choose the hotel and the room. And, except for rare last minute offers, you will also be able to save on the price.

Find hotel Use filters for search

Filter by price, distance, stars, arrival and departure dates, number of people per room … and delete cookies after the search to avoid the price being more expensive when you book.

Compare hotel prices Compare prices

You should always do a search on the web for the hotel and on different reservation pages to find out where the best price is for the same room and dates. This can be done easily with different comparators.

Book vacations in advance Be careful with the dates available in vouchers and coupons

Some very attractive offers are sold in the form of vouchers or coupons that you can spend “whenever you want”, but they often do not allow reservations during high season.

Associated expenses Check that there are no hidden costs associated with it

In certain types of offers, it is possible that the price of the room is very cheap, but that it forces you to make a certain expense at the hotel, such as eating one meal a day at their restaurant. Take this expense into account when comparing prices.

Holiday cancellation conditions Review the reservation conditions, especially the cancellation conditions

This is the most delicate point. Many offers come on the condition that you cannot cancel once the reservation is made. In addition, it is important to also check other fees and taxes that may be charged at the destination.

Hotel customer reviews Read customer reviews of both the hotel and the booking platform

It helps you to know the real weaknesses and virtues of the hotel, and also if the reservation platform is reliable.

Hotel reservation currency Pay attention to the currency in which the reservation will be charged

If you travel abroad, check in which currency the charge will be made. If it is not in euros, the exchange rate at the time of payment may be different and, in addition, you will probably have to pay a small commission for the currency exchange.

Use a holiday credit card Use your credit card to book

If you pay for your vacation with a credit card, it usually includes travel insurance. In addition, the hotel may ask you for a credit card when making check-in as an additional guarantee.

How to buy plane tickets online reliably

Airlines are free to set the price of airline tickets and this may vary depending on the destination and the dates of the flight. In times of higher demand the prices are more expensive, but if you are flexible you can get cheaper prices.

This is what you should check when buying airline tickets:

Flight rate type Check the rate type

It can be flexible, allowing changes of date, holder or even cancellations; or without the possibility of modifications, which is usually cheaper. If an airline offers a big discount, it is likely that you will not be able to make any changes once the flight is booked.

Check in baggage Take a good look if you have the right to check luggage

Airlines may charge a fee for each checked bag. You should also be attentive to the dimensions and limitations of the luggage that you can take into the cabin of the plane.

Check plane ticket Check the ticket

You have to include the correct details of the flight, the passenger and the reservation number.

Check additional travel services Review additional services before paying

The price of the ticket can be increased if services such as priority when boarding, seat reservation, travel insurance, issuance of boarding pass, the possibility of making changes to the ticket or even according to the payment method are included.

Check website booking flights Check the website where you buy the ticket

You must verify that it is an authorized travel agency or airline before paying.

What to look at when renting a car on vacation

Book a rental car It is another aspect of planning vacations in which you also have to be attentive. Especially in relation to the conditions of the insurance included, as well as other possible extra expenses.

Rent a car vacation Use comparators

As when booking flights and hotels, the price of renting a car can vary greatly between doing so on the company’s official website to using an online travel agency. In some cases, it is also possible to book the car at a good price when buying the plane ticket.

Car rental insurance Check the insurance well

All rental cars include third party insurance where it is mandatory. That means you would be covered for third party damage, but you should pay for the damage you did to the vehicle. Additionally, you can take out comprehensive insurance (with or without excess), and that is where it is important to be careful: it is not the same to contract it with the rental company as with a third party (such as the agency). In this second case, you should pay the damages to the rental company and then claim the insurance bill.

Rental car return conditions Check the return conditions well

The most important is whether you should return it with a full or empty tank. Keep in mind that if you have to return it full and you don’t, they will charge you for gasoline at a higher price and, sometimes, a fixed amount for doing so. There may also be an added expense for returning the car later than the scheduled time or at another rental location.

Children car rental Do not forget other possible extra expenses

Most rental companies charge an extra fee if you want to add a driver or a child seat. They can also charge you extra if you exceed the mileage provided in the contract or if a driver is under a certain age or with a few years of driving license.

Credit card book car Remember that you may need a credit card

Many rental companies may ask you for a credit card as an additional guarantee or, failing that, they will withhold an amount from the debit card for the amount of the insurance excess.

Travel insurance, insurance?

Travel insurance offers protection against the risks involved in traveling. There are different types of insurance, that cover some or more of the following situations.

  • Assistance and medical expenses in case of accident and emergency.
  • Repatriation if you suffer a mishap abroad.
  • Cancellation compensation From the trip.
  • Loss, theft or delay in baggage delivery.
  • Coverage of legal expenses and civil liability for damage caused to another person.

To travel to certain countries, such as Cuba, Brazil or Ecuador, it is mandatory to take out travel insurance, although It is always advisable to do so if you travel outside the European Union.

For example, if you travel to the United States, travel insurance that includes health expenses is recommended, because the costs are very high. However, to move through the Schengen zone in Europe, it is enough with the European Health Insurance Card.

Usually, these insurances cover you for the duration of the trip and they are contracted when the trip is acquired or in the following seven days.

Your credit card insurance

Remember that, if you pay for the trip with a credit card, these usually include travel insurance that covers medical expenses, transfers and hospital stays, and even the loss or damage of luggage and the delay or cancellation of flights. However, before traveling, check well the specific insurance conditions of your card.

What to do if you are scammed when booking your vacation online?

If despite following these tips to avoid scams when booking vacations online you are a victim of a scam, the first step is to notify the platform to remove the fake ad.

In the case of reserving an apartment for a private individual, you must file a claim with the court. On the other hand, if the reservation has been made through an agency, a claim form must be filled out and, if it is not solved, the lawsuit is filed.

You can also go to the National Police or the Civil Guard’s telematic crimes group to file a complaint.

In Orange | Vacation guide
Image | Bram naus

Save on vacations, online scams, phishing, internet security

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