Login | Register | Subscribe to the GG RSS Feed

Online Travel Fraud

Fraudsters book trips to the cleaners, not paradise

Imagine booking your dream vacation online but instead getting the holiday from hell. In the most elaborate case of its kind, a travel company that booked vacations between July 2003 and August 2006 has been prosecuted for advertising and selling vacation packages that didn't exist.

Online Travel FraudOnline Travel FraudThe phony companies convinced thousands of online customers to pay for bogus holidays. While most of the cash was refunded to customers through credit card companies, the victims lost out on their vacation.

If you're looking for the best price for your next trip (and who isn't), know how to protect yourself from fly by night companies pedaling their wares online.

Instant travel agent: You send money for travel agent training books and they send you an ID to qualify for insider discounts. Trouble is, the travel industry doesn't recognize the ID, and you're left with useless training materials and a lighter wallet.

Vacation certificates: Buy a special certificate that guarantees a bargain-priced holiday. But, the certificate doesn't figure in all the extra fees. Your airfare may be free, but your $50 hotel room racks up an additional $400 in hidden costs.

Free for a price: You get a bargain basement trip, but your room is cramped and dirty, the food is worse than cafeteria fare and your miles from where you really want to be. Complain and you'll likely be offered an upgrade - at a substantially higher price.

Down-payment lock-in: You win a super travel bargain - but only if you secure your spot with an immediate deposit. When you try to firm your dates, the promoter strings you along with one excuse after another until your deposit expires - or he disconnects the phone and moves onto another sucker.

Protect yourself against travel fraud

  1. If it's too good to be true, it is.
  2. Never make a decision without comparison shopping.
  3. Ask lots of questions - the only stupid ones are the ones you don't ask.
  4. Get all the details before signing on the dotted line.
  5. Never give credit card information on the phone unless you've met the travel agent.
  6. Buy travel services only from companies you know and trust.
  7. If you're in doubt, say no and move on.

Got any tips for avoiding travel fraud online?

Related Stories

Rate This post


Seems logical that to avoid most of these issues, you should go to a travel agent who will guide you to that perfect vacation and protect you from all the pitfalls encountered in this article. The price will not be that much more, if any different. The agent receives most remuneration from the vendor although special extra planning can incur fees for time. Remember the old proverb: Don't be Penny wise and Pound foolish. This applies to travel more than anywhere else!

Great tips!<br/><br/> One thing I would add is to do a little research on the company before you book by looking them up on the Better Business Bureau website (http://welcome.bbb.org/). The reports they offer outline the company's record and customer complaints. You can even contact the BBB for help in resolving a problem. It's worth taking a look.<br/><br/> I've written more about this issue here: http://informedtravel.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-reliable-is-your-travel-company-and.html

Post new comment

GoGirlfriend Recommendations

Connect With Us



Membership is free and with it you can set up a profile, vote on stories and post your opinions.

Already a member?

Not a member? Join!

Most Recent Comments

  • On Lesbian Adventure Travel, ELLA Travel said "Thanks for the great article!! If you're travelling to Europe check the ELLA International Lesbian Festival (ellafestival.com) and ELLA Travel (ella-travel.com), organising lesbian events and trips! "
  • On 5 Nudist Resorts that Will Blow Your Mind, John Ruze said "Hi Julia, There is a brand new, very popular nudist resort you should think about reporting on in your next article about naturism. It is the New Terra Cotta Clothing Optional Resort and Spa in sunny Palm Springs, California.. The original Terra Cotta Inn was a fantastic nude resort. Repeat guests from around the world stayed there. TCI was sold in Nov 2015 and greatly missed. Well, this July 2017, it was revived at a new location in Palm Springs. The site is HotelTerraCotta.com. Guests are super happy. It's perfect for couples and girlfriend getaways. And Tom and Mary Clare from the original Terra Cotta Inn work with us, so it has the same relaxing, fun feel. "
  • On The Best Naturist Resorts in Ontario, Dennis Wilson said "Love the freedom feeling going nude . 1st time ever was at freedom fields ranch near Tamworth On,Hector & Eyvon are super hosts ,hope to visit this summer but want to learn of more places to visit."
  • On An Open Letter to Hotels Everywhere, Lynn said "I agree on the night light thing. Since hotels have none, I end up keeping the bathroom light on all night with the door ajar. Windows. I understand in the litigious US of A, hotels need to prevent folks from throwing themselves out the windows (or else the hotel could be sued?!!). Ok, fine. But for those of us who dislike A/C and only use it when absolutely necessary, can't we still have the option for some FRESH AIR? There ARE ways to allow windows to open up only so much, while at the same time preventing an entire body from throwing itself out the window. Bedskirts. Am I the only one who gets the skeevies when I see hotel beds with bedskirts that hit the floor? I always had images of food crumbs, bugs, and god only knows what...as being hidden behind that bedskirt. I'd much rather a bedskirt that's at least 2" above the (usually carpetted) floor. Towels. Can't we get nicer towels that don't feel like cardboard? Carpetting. Am I the only one who never walks barefoot in a hotel room ...esp when there's carpet? Blech. I'm sure those things are very rarely cleaned. "
  • On How to Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin on Your Next Cruise, Tinu said "Thank you for this post! I was dragging my feet about going on a cruise. Now that I know there's such a thing as a balcony cabin, I can't wait to book a trip!"

Blogs We Love

beautiful Vancouver, British ColumbiaCheck out our GoGirlfriend Facebook page to follow us as we seek new adventures and create memories in our own part of the world.