Everyone wants to go way at the end of the year, and for many of us the thought of sea and sand is the only thing that keeps us going and that keeps us sane while we’re working up a sweat in the office. With the current state of the economy however, holidays are becoming more and more a luxury rather than an expectation and many people are no longer to afford the kinds of trips they would like.
Of course there are ways to go on holiday more cheaply, and if you know how to plan sensibly you can have a great time without breaking the bank. Unfortunately though, this is a situation that some unscrupulous companies are taking advantage of and so you also need to know how to spot the less-than-fantastic deals. These companies will think nothing of dressing a sub-standard experience up to sound like a great holiday and don’t care if you lose lots of money and have a horrible time in the process. Here we will look at some of the warning signs you watch out for and how you can avoid being duped.
Holiday Packages With No Set Dates
If you look on sites like Groupon then you will find a lot of offers from companies that promise to get you a holiday ‘within’ a set range of dates for a certain (very good) price. The way these companies make their money is by taking your cash then scouring the web for the cheapest deals they can find on the dates no one wants. Then, if you explain that you aren’t happy to be leaving at 3am for a ten hour flight over Christmas, you’ll find that they’re incredibly unhelpful in finding you alternative dates. If you think it seems odd to book a holiday without setting specific dates… then you should go with that instinct.
Hotels in the Middle of Nowhere
Another thing to look out for in holiday packages is the precise location of the hotel you’re staying in. It might seem like a great deal to stay in Rome for $100 – but not if you’re not actually in Rome and are nowhere near any good transport links. Make sure you do your research before you agree to any hotel and be very wary of any company that ‘upgrades’ you to a better hotel – ask to see it first.
Budget airlines aren’t a con but only as long as you’re aware what you’re getting. If you book with RyanAir, Flybe or any other budget airlines then you should expect them to try and squeeze extra money out of you at every possible opportunity. This will include paying for any luggage you take on or choosing seats next to your family – so if you really want to get the price advertised be prepared to squeeze everything into your hand luggage and to sit next to strangers (or just get there early).
Those are some things to look out for but being ‘generally vigilant’ against scams is also important. Be sure to always research the company you’re using before you choose to go with (particularly if you’re not dealing with them directly), book using a credit card that’s insured and don’t be afraid to write the odd angry letter.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2010/12/13/10/07/beach-2342_640.jpg?i
- License: Creative Commons image source
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2012/04/12/20/59/symbol-30629_150.png
Amy Sawyer is a freelance writer based in the UK. She writes on travel issues and gives quality advice to her readers. She warns people against falling for cheap holiday trips. She also suggests using the services of Alamo car hire in Italy, if you intend to travel in the European nation.