How can I tell if a travel package, tour, transportation arrangement or adventure tour is not a scam?As always, follow the age-old wisdom of ‘buyer beware’. Does the offer seem too good to be true? Is the price radically lower than comparable offers from other companies? Have all details of the offer been provided to you? Were high-pressure sales tactics used against you? Do they want to send a courier or messenger to your location for payment? Do you have to join a club to participate? Do they pressure you for your credit card or account information? Is the purchase of a companion fare required? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you may be dealing with a travel scam. Either walk away or check out the company with the Better Business Bureau and with your own research.
Frequently Asked Questions About Adventure Travel
How can I safely pay for travel using a credit card or electronic check?Credit cards are an easy way to pay, and also an easy way for crooks to try and steal from you and your credit card company. Never give your card number or checking account information to a telemarketer who calls you as they may part of a scam. You are a lot safer if you have called the company or visited one of their locations. No company needs your credit card or checking account for identification or verification reasons so make sure that you only provide that information when you intend to make a payment to a company that you trust.
Is it safe to pay for travel by overnight mail or to a company courier?In some cases, a travel scam will ask you to overnight your payment or to pay a courier who comes to your location. Once they have your money you may not be able to get it back if they don’t deliver as promised. Insist on visiting the company’s location to pay, or use a credit card after checking the company and its offering out for yourself.
What steps should I take to make sure that my travel arrangements are what I have been promised?Before you pay, be sure to get complete details in writing, verify things like the cost, carriers, hotel names, cancellation and change penalties. Make sure that you have been given the names, addresses and phone numbers of airlines, cruise lines, ground carriers, and hotels where you are being booked. You can also contact these companies to check up on the details of your purchase. Also be sure to call and verify all of your plans with the providers a week or so prior to your departure date.
How do I know that my travel, tour or transportation deposit and payment will be secure?There have been cases where a travel, tour or adventure company went out of business and left people who had paid their deposits in advance empty handed, with the travel arrangements being un-fulfilled, and no refunds given. While this is a relatively rare occurrence, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself. The best option is to simply use a credit card to pay for your deposit and/or trip. Credit Card issuers protect the consumer from merchant fraud and unfilled promises, so that if you have any problems you will be able to file a dispute with your credit card issuer and get a full refund of the moneys paid. You can also inquire with the Better Business Bureau in the travel companies home town to see if any complaints have been filed against them. Their web sites are bbb and bbbonline for Internet businesses. You can also make sure that the provider is a member of a professional organization like the American Society Of Travel Agents (ASTANET) or the National Tour Association. You can also take some basic precautions, such as verifying the name, address and phone number of the company. Generally speaking if you can visit their location then it is most likely a safe provider.
What precautions should I take when booking a travel package, tour or adventure package?Once you have done a little research on the company making the offer to make sure that they are legitimate, take a closer look at the tour package to see what is included and what isn’t. Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you are getting what you expect: - Read the fine print; asterisks will indicate special limitation and exceptions to the offer. - Make sure that the availability of the package is not limited to certain dates or off-peak times and seasons that you don’t prefer.
What kind of health and medical preparation are required before I travel overseas?When traveling to a foreign country you may be exposed to diseases and health risks that you normally wouldn't think about. Jungle areas may have Malaria carrying mosquitoes and other parasitic and bacterial infections. You will also be away from your normal doctor, so certain preparations are in order. In the world of today, the health risks of travel are far less worrisome than they were in the past. Most countries have Malarial control procedures to mitigate the risk to visitors for example. Your travel agent and/or doctor can tell you what precautions and recommended for the country and parts of a country that you plan to visit. You should also handle any outstanding medical issues you already have prior to your departure. Pack extra medicines that you need and bring detailed prescription and medical information with you in case of emergencies. Pack your medications in your carry-on luggage to make sure that they are not lost, and carry important medicines on your person. Most of the countries that tourists visit today are safe from disease and other medical risks, to do your homework first, and then enjoy your trip.
Should I be concerned about SARS if I plan to travel to Asia?On June 24th 2003 The World Health Organization (WHO) withdrew its recommendation that travelers postpone all but essential travel to any area of the world that has experienced outbreaks of SARS. This means that the risk to you as a traveler is extremely low or non-existent. Nevertheless, common hygienic practices will help you remain free of both SARS and other common illnesses. Always wash your hands before eating, as this will protect you from both SARS and many other common bacterial and viral infections. If you come into contact with someone who appears to be ill, try to leave their presence ,and wash your hands and any other of your possessions that may have been contaminated. Also make sure to only drink bottled water and cooked food, as this will prevent you from contracting food and water born illnesses. These basic practices will help you to have a safe and healthy trip.
How can I protect myself from terrorism related threats when I travel out of the country?The United States Government has issues a world wide travel advisory to Americans who plan to travel out of the country. This warning states that Americans are considered fair targets by terrorists and so some precautions are in order when traveling. The most important thing is to simply be aware of the potential for a terrorist attach, and use appropriate caution. Try to blend in with the local population, or at least try not to look like an American. When in places frequented by Americans, in American owned businesses and/or government offices, be extra cautious. This means being aware of your surroundings and looking out for people and things that seem abnormal. This travel advisory expires on September 20, 2003. Prior to leaving, you should check with the US Government to see if there are any specific advisories for the country you plan to visit by going to this website http://travel.state.gov or by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S.
Is it safe to purchase airline tickets for a carrier that has or may file for bankruptcy protection?
While there may be some risk involved in buying tickets for an airline that has or may file for bankruptcy, you can take certain precautions to protect yourself. The easiest one is to make your purchase using a credit card. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, credit card customers have the right to refuse paying for charges for services not rendered. Also, under Section 145 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, airline passengers holding tickets (paper or electronic) from a bankrupt carrier for a particular route are entitled, at minimum, to transportation on a space-available basis on ANY airline currently serving that route within 60 days after an airline has suspended operations. The maximum fee that an airline can charge for providing standby transportation should not exceed $25 each way.
Consumer Safety and Information
Travel Tips For Consumers - ag.ca.gov
Provides protection to consumers who purchase sea or air transportation.
How to Gear Up for a Great Trip! - www.ftc.gov
Tips on avoiding travel fraud.
Air Travel Consumer Report - airconsumer.dot.gov
The report is designed to assist consumers with information on the quality of services provided by the airlines.
Travel Info - travel.utah.gov
Utah Office of Tourism
Consumer Travel Tips - attorneygeneral.gov
Ensures that consumers are treated fairly and properly.
Consumer Protection - airconsumer.ost.dot.gov
Handles and reports air travel problems and complaints, offers aviation travel tips and publications, lists recent airline service.
Consumer WORLD NEWS- CONSUMER-GUIDES.INFO/NEWS
Provides headlines to world events and helpful links..
Domestic Flights - ostpxweb.dot.gov
Consumer Reports for Domestic Airline Fares.
Airline Fares - www.bls.gov
How BLS Measures Price Change for Airline Fares in the Consumer Price Index.
Airlines and Airports - www.bts.gov
Provides information on Air Traffic, Cancellations, Flight Delays, Passengers and Fees.
Travel Assistance - www.tsa.gov
TSA protects the nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.
Visit our Credit Card Fraud section for useful information.