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