Last Updated on November 25, 2019
A travel provider’s main job is to offer travel-related services and ensure that you have a smooth travel experience or vacation by providing a large choice of airlines, cruise lines, hotels, car rental companies, etc.
But, alas, not all travel providers are reliable—or legitimate—for that matter, so you have to be very careful before trusting a travel supplier with your money and time.
The questions you should ask first before making any advance payments online are: “Is the travel supplier legitimate?” “Is the travel supplier reliable?” “Is your money safe?” “If there is any problem, should this travel supplier fix or just ignore it?”
#1 – Verify the company’s legitimacy
Verifying the travel supplier’s legitimacy should be the first thing that crosses your mind to avoid scams!
Before booking or making any payments, use Google to make sure that the travel supplier or sales agent is licensed: Search for the agency’s financial information, references, check scam lists, online business review websites, or call the Better Business Bureau (BBB) that keeps lists of various licensed companies in the US.
Don’t just buy into the lies of fraudsters by hastily clicking “buy” whenever you see cheap flights or organized trips!
#2 – Check public ratings
After you verify the legitimacy of the travel provider, make sure that it isn’t unstable like some out there!
Search for customer ratings and reviews about the travel supplier you’re interested in by accessing their online pages or travel sites like TripAdvisor, AirlineQuality.com or ConsumerAffairs.com, etc.
The opinion of a company’s customer doesn’t just matter to the company itself but to other customs as well. Surely, travel providers or any other businesses can’t please everyone, but when you hear or read more bad reviews than good ones about its services, look for better options.
#3 – Check professional rankings
If you already verified the travel provider’s legitimacy and checked ratings about it on TripAdvisor or other sites but didn’t find reliable customer reviews, you can check out J.D. Power—a marketing research company that provides professional analysis and scores for airlines, car-rental agencies, hotel chains, and travel agencies.
Check out the J.D. Power’s annual reports like the Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index that asses hotel brands and their services, or the Rental Car Satisfaction Study, etc., before making a decision.
#4 – Check customer complaint sites
Sometimes the best way to separate good travel providers from the worst is by checking customer complaint sites or “gripe sites” where customers criticize and complain about certain travel suppliers including airlines, car rental, hotels, and travel agencies.
Although the criticism is not always constructive and some travelers use these sites to lampoon a certain travel supplier but there you can read more details about customers’ worst experiences, how the supplier dealt with the problem and whether the suppliers were quick to fix it or offer compensation.
#5 – Seek a travel agent
More and more travelers seek the expertise of travel agents nowadays and for good reasons because travel is getting more complicated than ever!
Some of the perks of using a professional travel agent include cost-saving and having someone help you pick the right trip, find exclusive events, good and cheap airlines, cruise lines, or anything, really!
Just ask a friend or frequent traveler to help you find a trusted travel agent and save your time and energy.
Lastly, when you find a legitimate, reliable travel provider and all is set, pay with a credit card because the credit card companies may refund you if anything goes wrong! Enjoy your vacation!