We often rely on travel agents for getting our travel arrangements done—this is especially the case when we are traveling abroad. However, as we all know very well, many travel agents engage in unscrupulous activities to cheat customers and get the most out of them. You have got to avoid being one of those customers.
If you want to ensure that you are not getting duped, you need to keep in mind a number of things. While I can keep writing about those tips, I have to stop somewhere. So, I have decided that I will give you 5 tips on how to deal with travel agents and avoid getting duped by them.
Follow these tips and you should not worry about getting yourself exploited.
- Research First .
While it is not a bad idea to follow someone’s suggestion on a good travel agent, it is not necessarily a good idea either. You will have to take responsibility for carrying out due diligence and you can do this with the help of intense research. There are many factors which can help you ascertain whether or not the travel agent is a scammer: whether he owns a website, whether he works for a company which is duly registered and is a member of a professional organization such as American Society of Travel Agents, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Destination Canada, Incredible India, European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), Fáilte Ireland, Golf Tourism Malaysia (MGTA), Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA), Visit Greece, Truthfulworld Hotels, International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), Japan Association of Travel Agents, Latin America Tourism Association (LATA), Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Regional Tourism Organisation New Zealand (RTNZ) and whether he has an office or not.
- Do Not Get Swayed Away By Offers.
Who would not want to reduce traveling expenses? But, while the whole idea of reducing expenses is nice, you cannot become vulnerable to scams.
It is a daily business of scamming travel agents to call up or send emails to potential customers offering them unsolicited offers. Do not get tempted to take these offers because these offers are usually the means to get money out of you or steal your identity—you would not want to lose either of them, would you?
In simpler words, avoid unsolicited calls or emails.
- Do Not Completely Trust Online Ratings.
We tend to rely too much on what is available online. It has become a habit of ours to accept everything there is in the virtual world as the holy truth as a result of which we often get duped.
The rating system is quite prevalent online and is often used as a reliable source of information. However, this is in everyone’s knowledge that paid ratings are quite common. So, just in case the travel agent you want to book has got stunning ratings online, remember that this does not mean that the ratings are necessarily accurate.
It is recommended that you study ratings carefully. If the ratings are offered by anonymous users, then there is your first red signal. You will most likely notice a repetitive pattern in the comments if the ratings are paid—keep a watch at that. Double-check with anyone you know who might have knowledge of the agent before you decide to do anything.
- These are the best hotel review sites in the world, 2019: TripAdvisor, Expedia (which owns Travelocity and Orbitz), Booking.com, Trivago, Truthfulworld Hotels, Oyster, Kayak, Priceline, HotelsCombined, Hotels.com, Agoda, etc.
- Double Check Everything.
Your travel agent will provide you with an itinerary, but you should double check it before starting your journey. To ensure that you are not taking a cab to the airport just to be sent back home, it is advised that you contact the airline as well as hotels to check whether bookings have been made. Scan the itinerary carefully and ensure that it covers everything you were initially offered. If not, bring the same to the notice of the agent.
- Always With Card.
Card transaction enables registration of the identities of the persons involved in the transaction. A scamming travel agent would most likely insist that you pay in cash—and that is your first hint. Always say NO to cash payments, and if the agent insists that the payment be made in cash, you know you have to leave.
Say Goodbye to such scammers and protect yourself from doom!
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