Travel Insurance

10 tips to avoid being scammed when booking a holiday

More than half of travellers fear being scammed as they hunt for cheap holiday deals, a new survey suggests.

A poll by the Post Office has found that only a third of people check the terms and conditions when booking a holiday, and 18 percent would impulsively book a trip if it meant getting a good deal.

A fifth (21 percent) said they wouldn't be able to afford a holiday unless it was cheap, while 17% were willing to book with unknown providers for a low price.

Another nine percent said they would consider booking through a website with negative reviews if it means saving money. And the Post Office says this leaves people vulnerable to scammers.

In fact, seven percent of those who responded admitted they had been scammed while searching for a cheap holiday.

Travel expert Rob Staines, who has appeared on shows such as BBC One's Morning Live and Rip Off Britain, ITV's Good Morning Britain and Channel Five's The Jeremy Vine Show, said it was imperative travellers checked terms and conditions and were suspicious of unknown websites or those with negative reviews.

He's given 10 tips to avoid travel scams when booking a holiday (and we've added our insight in too)

1. Purchase travel insurance at the time of booking a trip and consider annual policies for extra savings - Post Office is offering 20% off travel insurance with kids protected for free. (NimbleFins has reviews of the top providers and key questions answered in our travel insurance guide here).

2. Book direct - online agents aren't always cheapest. You also get better service - especially if things go wrong!

3. Research destinations to see where your money goes further - the Post Office's City Costs Barometer is great for this. (NimbleFins also has research on the cheapest holidays from the UK. Our research also includes the most expensive!)

4. Don't get caught out by star ratings - they are often based on amenities like conference rooms and don't always reflect quality.

5. Don't just look at economy seats - sometimes during holidays business travel is reduced as are the fares!

6. Airport parking - consider a "stay and fly" package with a hotel that lets you stay before your holiday and leave your car whilst you're away, it can be very cost-effective.

7. Haggle on Airbnb - yes you can! (NimbleFins has some details on what you need to know about Airbnb guest insurance)

8. Pre-order foreign currency and never buy at the airport - the Post Office is usually most reliable!

9. Book flexible for everything - if prices come down you can cancel and rebook.

10. Be scam aware - if it's too good to be true it probably is. Never book via social channels or pay by bank transfer. Only book through trusted channels/companies. (NimbleFins has a list of rogue websites wrongly claiming to be ATOL protected plus info on what ATOL, ABTA, SAFI and ESF mean)

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


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