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It’s almost summer! Right now, you probably have beaches on the brain or you’re thinking about that long-planned trip abroad. Before you head out, take steps to help keep your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare:

Do some research — and then carefully read the details on travel offers.

  • First, get recommendations from family and friends on good travel agencies, vacation rentals, hotels and travel packages — before responding to offers.
  • Look up travel companies, hotels, rentals and agents with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
  • Look for extra costs. Resort fees (also known as destination, facility and amenity fees) can add $50 or more to your nightly cost.
  • Ask about taxes, which may be significant in many locations.
  • Get a copy of the cancellation and refund policies before you pay.
  • If you’re buying travel insurance, be sure the agency is licensed.
  • Bring copies of any confirmation details that show the rate and amenities you were promised. This also helps if the hotel or host says your reservation is “lost.”

Don’t pay for “prize” vacations. No legitimate company will ask you to pay for a prize. Also, look for catches to resort or timeshare offers. They may come with taxes and fees to pay, timeshare presentations to attend, and high-pressure sales pitches to endure.

Don’t sign anything until you know the terms of the deal. Say “no thanks” to anyone who tries to rush you, without giving you time to consider the offer.

Use a credit card, if possible, for your travel spending. This gives you more protection than paying by cash or debit card — and it may be easier to dispute unauthorized charges.

Protect your identity and account information while you’re traveling.

And while we hope it doesn’t happen to you, report identity theft and any other fraud you experience.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Reno Nevada
May 23, 2019
Thanking you in advance for your excellent advice. My vacation starts next Friday and I saw a couple of things I had not thought about. Continue your great work and I always read everything you email to me.
May 23, 2019
please consider using black print instead of grayscale which is hard to read.
May 24, 2019

In reply to by bud61

lots of print is coming up gray these days. New to menus and magazine print. expect its to make all seem softer. Thought it was my eyes getting weak but its the ink. Hitting 70 this year, black is so much better. Thanks Jodee.
May 24, 2019

In reply to by bud61

Couldn't agree more, especially for eyes of a certain age. High contrast is preferable to designer hues, such as grey [or white type on a pastel background.]
May 25, 2019

In reply to by bud61

If you are having trouble reading the type (I agree it is too light) the press the "pancake stack" menu (≣) to the left of the location bar at the top of the page. This will re-render the page in a simple text format that is much easier to read (or can be read by an assistive reader tool). Many browsers allow you to adjust the text size and background color of the reader text page. If your browser does nit support this feature, then dump it immediately and get a good one.
Nancy from New York
May 24, 2019
And put all of the contact information (toll free telephone numbers) for your credit and debit cards into your phone so that it is easy to reach their customer support if needed. I also had to activate a phone travel plan for international travel.
June 08, 2019
thank you for all this info! got a lot to dive into and fix but thanks to you guys and your tips and info i had no idea about- i know ill be good :)
Loving the beach
June 14, 2019
Right now someone has listed my condo for rent on Craig’s list! It is Not for rent. Someone is scamming people. I filed a police report, tried to tell Craig’s list and emailed FTC. This is such a shame! I’m so worried a family is going to show up and think I’m scamming them!
December 20, 2019
I received a call yesterday from .gotravel caribbean. com saying I was called due to recently staying in a Hilton or Marriot (had just stayed in one over the weekend so was immediately hoodwinked) and was being offered a stay in Puerto Vallarta for an unbelievable $1198 ( Promo Package ) providing me with 5 days and 4 nights all inclusive at the beautiful, 5 star resort, Occidental Nuevo Vallarta Riviera Nayarit - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico...and an additional cruise or stay in Costa Rica for no additional charge! But wait! Since I don't have children, it would actually only be $799. Wow. All I had to do was sit in a 90 minute spiel on the 1st day of my trip and then tell my friends about the wonderful vacation I had at these resorts. I didn't have to buy anything from the 90 minute spiel and would never have to take my wallet out during the trip. I was on the phone with this person for an hour telling them it was a scam and I wasn't interested. They gave me their website name...the explanation for why the number they called from showed up as local in Virginia, when they are located in Cancun, and even encouraged me to call the hotel to confirm the legitimacy (after I paid of course). I asked if I could think and discuss with my husband, not an option of course. Once the call is ended my 'prize number' associated with my call or some such non sense would be gone. After asking too many questions I was put through to a closer agent named 'Nancy' who assured me that not only was everything legitimate, but I would receive a full refund if anything they had gone over and recorded was not provided. If I had to pay for a single drink or food item on any trip, I would be fully refunded. Also, I had 2 years to decide the dates i would travel but it would be a fee for the high travel dates. I was eventually offered a THIRD trip for only an additional $100. When I said I had adequately researched the offer and found it to be a scam, they informed me that they would have hung up if it was a scam. I hung up and was called at 9:30 pm and asked very ubruptly, where did you read that this offer was scam? We want to look into that because this a legitimate offer, we are affiliated with RCI (timeshare company) and are legitimate! I relayed that I was eating dinner and would confirm with RCI today (which I did) that this was not scam. RCI responded today that they are not authorizing this company to offer trips in their name. I contacted the hotels who relayed it was not a legitimate offer, that their stays run $1500 minimum.
December 20, 2019
there is one scammer in Ukraine who calls India from +380638040292 and promise to give jobs in other countries and provide all offer letter , this guy always call in whats app , He has taken hug amount from many innocent people from India , Already logged police complain ,
Booking scam
September 20, 2019
Watch out for booking scams. I just got scammed when I booked a home for the weekend. After getting my confirmation and taking money from my account I was told that they need to cancel my booking . The meantime they’re showing that it is still available for that weekend and several other people have booked it after me for the same weekend. I was told that my payment was nonrefundable when I booked. They are requesting that I cancel. I still need a place to stay for the weekend. They are saying that the only way I can get my money back is if I confirm their cancellation. Scam! Scam! Scam!
October 05, 2019
Be aware of this classic scam marketing ploy targeting Senior Citizens This company has nothing to do with Southwest Airlines, they just use a similar name on the postcard to get your attention so you call in and attend a travel show. Presentations are held in various hotels around the country for about a week at a time. They are not selling a timeshare but it is a very similar hard sell. My husband did the research before hand because the nice man on the phone mentioned Expedia, Travelocity and said they were a new internet travel company. We found their prices were not at all a savings. Don't think we will ever be able to use those 2 round trip airfare tickets because we kept getting hung up on this morning trying to contact the gifting department. We felt sorry for the other old folks who fell for their emotional marketing ploy of leaving a legacy to their kids, grandchildren, extended family members. We love to vacation and are financially able to travel about 6 months out of the year. Who doesn't love to save money? My husband almost laughed at the salesmans "closing" questions. He sold IBM back in the day when most people were polite and honest about the product they sold. It's a scam if you buy into this company's vacation website... We still use a friend who is a real travel agent and find she is a better bargain hunter than either my husband or myself...the big company's like Disney pay her a commission. Stay and watch TV for 2hrs or go to the travel presentation. I must admit we did enjoy the $200 dinner certificate and spending $50 visa gift card.