You go on a vacation to relax and unwind. The last thing that you want to deal with is getting your identity stolen or having to pay for hidden fees that you weren’t expecting. There are ways that you can protect yourself and avoid these common travel scams so they don’t ruin your vacation. It takes a little bit of time and research but it will give you peace of mind. Here are the most common travel scams that you might run into this summer.
Your hotel may offer free Wi-Fi but make sure you read the fine print. Some hotels only offer free internet in the lobby, but if you access it in your room, you will be charged a fee. Make sure you ask the front desk about the internet usage guidelines. If they do offer free Wi-Fi in your room, make sure you get the correct hot spot name and password. There are identity thieves who will set up a hot spot and just call it “Free Wi-Fi”. You might click on it assuming that is the free hotel internet and they then have access to all of your information. Most hotels require a password so make sure you get all of that information when you check in.
Fake Delivery Menus
When you get back from sightseeing or going to the amusement park, you are exhausted and will want some take out for dinner. Some identity thieves will slide a delivery menu under hotel room doors. You call to order your meal and give them your credit card info to pay. You won’t get any food and your credit card numbers have been stolen. The best way to avoid this is by ordering room service or going out to eat. You can always do a quick Google search to see if the delivery place is real or you can call the front desk and ask customer service if this is a place that they know of.
Late Night Call
It is the middle of the night and you get a call from the front desk claiming that there is a problem with your credit card or their system is down and they need to reenter your information. These are scammers calling to get your info when you aren’t fully awake enough to think straight. The front desk will never call you in the middle of the night; these things can wait until the morning. If you still aren’t sure, you can always walk down to the front desk and ask about any problems in person, not over the phone.
Hidden fees aren’t necessarily “scams” but they can put a damper on your vacation. Always call the hotel you will be staying and ask for the nightly rate with all fees included in the total so there aren’t any surprises. You can usually negotiate any fees, especially the “Resort Fees” if you aren’t going to be using the amenities. For example, if there is a safe in your room that you won’t be using, you can ask them to remove it or give you a room that doesn’t have one. That way you won’t be charged for it. If you aren’t going to be using the gym, pool, or internet, ask if they will remove those fees before you even check in.
You can sign up for the hotel’s loyalty program, which is usually free, and customer service will be more willing to negotiate any fees with you. They might even give you some of the amenities for free. Also, ask if the bottled water or any goodies left out that look “complimentary”, really are free. A lot of times they will not be marked but you will still get charged if you use any of these things.
These are the most common travel scams that are going on this summer. If you are going out of the country, do your research on what kind of scams to look out for in that particular country or part of the world. This isn’t to scare you away from going on vacation. I think it is smart to just do a little research and become more aware of your surroundings. You will feel more relaxed and able to enjoy your much deserved vacation. If you know of any other travel scams going on, please leave them in the comments below so others can look out for them as well.