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Better Business Bureau offers tips for safe summer vacation planning

TUCSON (KVOA) - With many people looking for a summer get away the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has provided the following tips to help plan a safe and scam-free vacation:

  • Plan ahead. Allow plenty of time to research hotels, flights, and the area where you will be staying. Typically, the earlier reservations are made, the better the deals and the lower the risk of the destination being booked solid. Making reservations in advance also locks in rates and prevents higher prices later during prime spring break, peak summer, or holiday travel seasons.
  • Avoid broad internet searches. Entering phrases like ‘best deals’ into whichever search engine used can sometimes bring up-websites that look official, but are designed solely to rip people off.
  • Be alert for travel scams. Watch out for phone calls or letters claiming a 'free trip' or websites offering prices that appear too good to be true. It’s easy to extend questionable offers like these, but the vast majority of them leave hopeful travelers in limbo – and out money. Learn more about travel scams here.
  • Do your homework. Ask family and friends to recommend a travel agent or travel website and visit BBB.org for free Business Profiles. Research the business and read customer reviews about any rentals under consideration. 
  • Get trip details in writing. Before making a final payment, get all the details of the trip in writing. This should include the total cost, restrictions, cancellation penalties, and names of the airlines and hotels. Also, review and keep a copy of the airline’s and hotel’s cancellation and refund policies, as well as the cancellation policies of the travel agency or booking site used.
  • Consider travel insuranceTravel insurance covers things like trip cancellations or medical emergencies. There are different levels of coverage based on what type of plan purchased. Ask a lot of questions, and always read the fine print to see what’s covered and what’s not.
  • Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card provides additional protection if something should go wrong with the travel reservation.
  • Planning to travel internationally? Check to see if there are any advisories affecting Canada and the U.S. Travel Association for any issues that may impact the trip.

The BBB warned that no matter when or where you are traveling; take extra precautions such as waiting to post on social media until you return home, checking your home insurance before leaving your home unattended, bring an old-school map in case your phone map does not work, be prepared for the weather, use a hotel safe for expensive and important belongings, and do not travel alone if you do not have to.

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Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

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