BBB tips on vacation planning


April 5, 2014

It has been a long winter! Are you ready to plan your summer vacation? The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to use care when making plans online and through travel agencies. Written complaints to the BBB about travel agencies remain steady. However, the BBB reports that consumer inquiries about travel agencies were significantly higher in 2013 than they were in 2012. BBB received 3,685 inquiries in 2013 compared to 2,324 inquiries in 2012, an increase of 59%.

While making travel arrangements through an agency can make planning a vacation less stressful, it also can depend on who you use. Vacation planners should check out different agencies to make sure they are reputable.

The Better Business Bureau offers these tips when booking with a travel agency:

Compare services and do not feel pressured. Be wary if you feel pressured to make an immediate decision or if there is a statement that an offer is good “only if you act now.” Compare the services, fees and travel costs from a number of travel agencies before selecting the most attractive package.

Be cautious about telephone, letter or postcard solicitations. Be careful of travel solicitations claiming you’ve won a “free” trip or can get “special discounts” on hotels and airfares.

Pay with a credit card. You can get some protection when using a credit card to purchase travel services. If you don’t get what you paid for, contact the credit card company and attempt to get the charges cancelled.

Consider investing in travel insurance. Travel insurance can provide protection in the event of an accident, an illness, lost luggage, or a cancelled or interrupted trip. Read the insurance contract to understand coverage and exclusions. Investigate trip cancellation policies and determine what they cover to see if they would be worthwhile to purchase the insurance.

Get it in writing. Don’t rely on verbal promises from a travel service. Request copies of any brochures and contracts before purchasing your trip package or making any reservations.

Always check out the business first. Check out the reputation of the travel agency before doing business with them. Check out free BBB Business Reviews at www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.