Planning travel can be difficult and finding the right agency to help you is not always easy. In the Philippines alone, we have thousands of travel agencies that claim they can provide affordable and great travel experiences. Unfortunately, fake travel agencies are surfacing in this busy market place and you, the traveler, must be aware. Here’s a few tips to help you deduce whether or not the travel agency you are dealing with is the real deal!
1. Too good to be true?
It probably is! Packages that are too cheap – When you see a travel package that seems priced surprisingly low, beware! Don’t jump in immediately as it may well be a scam! There are many people who have been scammed by very cheap travel packages. You must understand that with travelling you most often get what you pay for. It is very rare for great local tour agencies to provide quality travel experiences at very cheap prices, especially in prime locations. Look for the deals but be wary of the risks!
Sure they have a Facebook account, but a Facebook page is so easy to make! Also, look at the website, does it look professional or more like a prop to make them believable? The Devil can be in the details, do they have their own official email address? Or is it a generic g-mail or yahoo account?
3. License to thrill?
If you have any doubts at all about the legitimacy of the agency you are interested in then ask to see their business registration and permits to trade. Legitimate agencies shouldn’t mind posting their licenses on their website or even showing them to you if asked. When you visit their office you should see all their business registrations and licensing displayed in the reception area or somewhere equally prominent
4. Laughing all the way to the Bank?
Genuine Travel Agencies have their own business accounts and bank details under the company name, not under an individual’s name! Banks require valid documents to open corporate accounts so it is best to go to travel agencies who provide you with legitimate business bank details.
5. Where now? No Actual Office Address?
There are fake agencies that will post an address but it’s very hard to locate or far away to deter visitors, equally their ‘business premises’ may look rather more like a home or even be nonexistent! This should set your alarm bells ringing. Active operating Travel Agencies will have their own established offices.
6. Pay now, cry later!
Are you being asked for your credit card details over the phone? No agency should ask for your credit card details over the phone. The normal procedure for legitimate travel agencies will be for you to visit their offices and have your card swiped there. Or more usually they will provide suitable secure online credit card facilities (remember your antivirus computer security software updates!)
Travel can be the most wonderful thing in the world when organized and executed well but also one of the most stressful and disappointing experiences when it goes wrong! Do yourself and your family a favour and don’t compromise your travel experiences with bogus travel agents!
Fortunately for you Random Travelers will provide you with the very best prices for the very best travel experiences so you the lucky reader never need to worry!