The Anatomy of a Travel Scam

The Anatomy of a Travel Scam

A couple of days ago I had a bride come into my office for a honeymoon consultation. I sensed some hesitation on her part, so I decided to dig a little deeper into what some of her concerns were about the honeymoon planning process.

This particular bride had recently attended a bridal show. And following the bridal show, she was bombarded with telephone calls from companies who claimed that she had won a free honeymoon. While a free honeymoon may sound exciting, the sad truth is that these companies that claim to give away honeymoons, are really just

There’s nothing worse than realizing the honeymoon you thought you were getting isn’t what you wanted

trying to sell you china or fancy cookware. In exchange for purchasing several thousands of dollars with of kitchen items, they’ll send you off to a mediocre resort where you can endure countless timeshare presentations on what you thought was going to be your honeymoon.

Over the years, we’ve complained to many a bridal show organizer about these organizations. Rather than offering brides a valuable service, they’ve racked up countless BBB complaints, and duped more than one couple into believing they were get something that they weren’t . And, much to our frustration, they’ve made many couples who attend a bridal show suspicious of anyone offering honeymoons.

So, if you’re looking for someone to help you plan your honeymoon, but don’t want to get duped, here’s some questions to ask of a potential travel services provider:

1.       How long have they been in business?

2.       What professional certifications do they carry?

3.       What professional organizations do they belong to?

4.       Did they ask a lot of questions about what you’re interested before making a recommendation, or did they just throw a resort at you based solely on price?

5.       Have they been to the resort or destination that they’re recommending within the last 3 years?

6.       Is your package complete, with airfare, hotel, transfers, and insurance?

7.       What is their specialization? Do they usually plan fishing charters, or do they have a lot of experience with the romance travel market?

8.       Will they be available to you while you are traveling should something come up?

9.       Will they manage flight schedule changes for you?

10.   Do they offer a “no walk” policy, so you’re not at risk of getting bumped to another hotel upon arrival?

Here are some big ole red flags!

1.       If they ask you to pay in cash for your trip, run!! Your credit or debit card offers the most protection. Never pay a travel agent in cash for your trip. In some states, it’s even illegal for a travel agent to take cash for your travel package.

2.       If they ask you to purchase something in order to get a free trip, run! A legitimate travel company will not try to sell you household items in exchange for a “free trip”.

3.       If they only recommend one resort chain, and don’t seem to know about anything else-again, this is a big red flag. If an agent is only offering one resort chain, they’re working in their best interests, not yours.

For more great tips, check out our Top 10 Booking Blunders!