Don’t Fall for Holiday Company Tricks

Once again the holiday season is on the horizon and many of us will be looking to book a holiday in far-off places. Sadly though, many people will end up getting ripped off by companies trying to get their hands on their hard earned cash. For this reason you should watch out for their devious methods of making you pay more than you should.

Which? Magazine

The much respected Which? consumer magazine in Britain has come up with some of the methods used by travel companies.

This Can Be a Costly Key

In a survey they found that when booking via the internet, 20% were using the automatic opt-ins in which boxes for extras are checked, and you must uncheck them if you do not need the service. Most were using the expensive 0871 and 090 telephone numbers to take bookings by phone, and  with 44% of companies you are being charged extra when using your card for payment.

Apparently, some travel firms are even adding a £2 charity charge without giving the customer any option, but one of the most expensive is the ‘free’ hire car scam where you supposedly get one at your destination, but the insurance costs a whopping £126. It is without doubt much cheaper to book one at your destination.

Ryanair in the Dock Again

Ryanair naturally tops the list when it comes to booking by phone, charging £1 a minute, but many others are not far behind. When you consider that one of the Which? investigators was on the phone for more than an hour booking a holiday, this can get mighty expensive. Budget airlines are also raking in extra cash by charging exorbitant fees for things like extra leg-room, early boarding and lounge access.

Know Where You Are Going and the Fare

Sadly, once you get to your summer destination your problems are not over. It is also essential to watch out for the local scam artists like taxi drivers who take unsuspecting tourists ‘the long way round’ to their hotel or a restaurant. They will also try to persuade you to eat at a particular restaurant because they get cash from the owner for every customer they bring in. Always agree the price and destination before getting into a taxi, and that way you can avoid being scammed.

Black African Lookies Are Harmless in General.

Here in Spain we have the Black African ‘Looky-Lookies’ who will try to sell you fake designer handbags, watches and the like. I have to admit, here they are not so bad as in other countries, because if you tell them respectfully ‘No Thanks’ they will not bother you further. In some countries (and other nationality sellers in Spain) they can be a pain in the backside with their insistance. In cases such as this it is best to be very firm when replying ‘No’ without being rude, and walk away.

‘Over friendly’ strangers can be a problem for tourists, for the holiday mood brings out the ‘niceness’ in people, and its often that which causes some to trust strangers too easily if they offer a trip, a lift to a restaurant or some such thing. The best defence is to politely say ‘No Thanks’ and walk away.

Some Restaurants Will Try to Rip-off the Unwary Tourist

In some holiday places there is also the chance of being overcharged at a restaurant or other tourist spot. For this reason, a bit of internet research into local customs, prices etc, is a good idea. There are numerous sites that contain all the relevant information on tourism for most countries.

According to information available, in some countries there is the risk of fake ‘plain-clothes policemen’ who will ask to see your wallet and passport. If you are daft enough to hand them over you had better be a fast runner. That’s all I can say on that subject.

As more and more people find it impossible to find work, some are turning to petty crime to make ends meet. However, these people are not to be pitied, for there are other alternatives for them.

Typical Holiday Apartments

Consequently, it is always best to close and lock the balcony doors and/or shutters etc. before leaving your hotel room or apartment, for thieves are extremely adept at gaining access to one apartment, and then using adjoining terraces and balconies to gain entry to a whole row. Theft from holiday hotel rooms and apartments has far from diminished over the years, and is a constant threat. So be warned. 

Here’s hoping your holiday experience of 2012 is a happy one and you have a great time!


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