(WETM) — Warm weather is approaching, so it’s the perfect time to start traveling. The New York Department of State released tips to help New Yorkers travel safely and avoid scams.
Plan For Possible Cancellations and Delays
Make sure you keep your essentials in your carry-on in case of delays or lost luggage. Keep your medications, a phone charger, a change of clothes, and some snacks in your carry-on so you can stay comfortable until you’re reunited with your luggage. Additionally, budget for a couple of extra days in your location just in case your flight home is canceled or another emergency affects your journey home.
Pay with a credit card if you can
Credit cards often have more protection than other forms of payment. Some credit card companies also offer perks like concierge, trip insurance, or cancelation protection.
If a trip requires you to pay in an unusual way (like gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency), this can be a sign of a scam. Scammers often ask for payments that are difficult to track and hard for people to recover.
Use reputable travel agents and tour companies
Thoroughly research any companies you book with to avoid possible scams, surprise fees, and problems with cancellations. Review all terms and conditions (especially cancellation and refund policies) before you book your trip. Some reservations require nonrefundable deposits, and others only reimburse canceled trips with credits for future travel. Also, consider reviews from other customers before booking with a company to gauge what kind of experience you’ll have if any problems arise.
Do your research
In addition to researching all of the companies you book with, you should research your destination. Not only should you know what activities your destination has to offer, you should also know how much they cost ahead of time for proper budgeting.
It’s important to check if your destination has any COVID-19 restrictions and if there are any safety tips specific to the area. You can also check the State Department’s website for travel advisories.
Consider trip insurance
Travel insurance can help if you have an emergency while traveling and help keep your mind at ease. Insurance can help with medical emergencies, lost luggage, and missed connections. Some travel insurance policies offer coverage to “cancel for any reason,” but at a much higher cost. This coverage typically only reimburses up to 75% of your expenses, too, so it may not be worth the additional cost.
It’s also worth knowing that most standard travel insurance policies will not cover any cancelations due to public health events, such as COVID-19. When buying travel insurance, make sure you find out what is and isn’t covered with your plan before purchasing it.
Beware of “all inclusive” or too good to be true offers
“All-inclusive” doesn’t always mean “all-inclusive.” These offers might have hidden fees that are not part of the advertised price. Sometimes these fees may not appear until you check-out from your hotel or resort.
All-inclusive offers might also require you to sit through presentations or join a membership of some kind. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is, so make sure you research to avoid surprise fees and scams.
Look out for signs of a scam
Like deals with hidden fees, scams often appear to be too good to be true as well. If you won a free vacation without having entered a reputable contest or the free trip requires some sort of payment to accept, it’s probably a scam.
Vague details can also be a sign of a scam. If the offer doesn’t include the name of the hotel or resort you’re meant to be staying at and is light on details, it’s probably a scam. Scammers also like to put pressure on people, so limited-time offers can be a sign of a scam. Purchasing a vacation package quickly often means that you didn’t have time to do thorough research and spot signs of a scam.
For more travel tips and information about avoiding scams, visit the New York Department of State’s Consumer Protection website.