What a summer! The team has been busy at Luxe Travel Consultants and that means we have had the privilege of helping many clients. That also means we’ve heard a lot of horror stories about travel (and travel agency experiences) gone bad.
That’s why we wanted to dedicate two blogs to letting you know what to look out for when booking travel. Below are the first 3 indicators that you should run (hopefully to a phone to call Luxe Travel Consultants). In our next blog, we will cover the remaining 2 travel red flags
- Unsolicited vacation offers sent to you through emails or faxes
Hundreds of thousands of these emails and faxes are sent to workplaces every day. Often, the consumer jumps at the low price travel deal, thinking they are getting a special discount. When they call about the trip, they’re hit with a slick, high-pressure sales pitch. If the person on the other end of the phone says, “You’ve got to book now, I need your credit card right now, or else you’re going to lose this trip,” that is a red flag. Do not purchase from these offers that aren’t from reputable travel sites or travel expert subscription lists you’ve opted into.
- Pricing that seems “too good to be true”
You need to know the real price of a trip and that means you need to know the final price. Airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and cruise lines all have some “deceptive” pricing practices, meaning that their advertised price does not include taxes and fees. The deception is in the fine print; “too good to be true” pricing is usually for one-way fares based on round-trip purchases. In addition, they usually do not include the cost of luggage, meals, and other items that used to be included in the price of an airline ticket.
Another scam? Travel companies often advertise an incredible travel deal and when you call to get the deal that is advertised you find out it’s already sold out. Instead, they try to upsell you another trip that, conveniently, is still available for a few hundred dollars more per person.
Finally, beware of “split pricing” –-the practice of offering below-market pricing and then adding charges for items that appeared to be included in the first quote. Reputable firms will offer vacations “starting at” a certain price, and show you all the upgrades. Scammers bury their pricing structure in the fine print. You may not find out until you’ve arrived at your dream vacation destination on your incredible travel deal that your hotel is 10 miles from the beach or your ski chalet is 30 miles from the actual ski slopes
- Timeshares and Discount Travel Clubs
It is estimated that 90% of people who buy timeshares never use them…. Most timeshare offers are made while you are already on vacation, relaxed, and your guard is down. Never, I repeat, never agree to a meeting or a timeshare presentation. Ask that any information be sent to you. Once in a presentation, you have put yourself in physical and fiscal danger.
I recently met a man who was bragging that he had just purchased a timeshare in New York City for $13,000 plus $800 a year in dues. He thought he had gotten an incredible deal! IU felt too bad to tell him this, but the fact is that you can visit New York City every year for thirteen years for a week and not spend that much money!
Also beware of the discount travel club offers. If a travel club is asking for more than a few hundred dollars for membership, they are probably scamming you. Travel clubs should be geared towards true discounts or added value—like a discounted menu of trips only available to members.
See, you already feel more educated and confident, right?
Stay tuned for our next blog, Top Travel Red Flags Part 2.