How to book your holiday without being duped
The summer holidays are fast approaching and with it comes many unbelievable online deals.
With those unbelievable deals comes scam artists. Leigh Mulholland of Seeff ShortStay for Hout Bay, Llandudno and Southern Suburbs says that with the vast number of online holiday and accommodation advertising and booking sites, it is easy to get caught. Her advice: “Do your homework.”
She said travellers should research the options to ensure not to fall prey to scam artists.
“Check the legitimacy of the booking agent or site as well as the establishment being advertised. Never transfer money unless you are one hundred percent sure of the legitimacy of the advert and booking agent or site. Be especially scrupulous when it comes to unknown sites,” says Mulholland.
Sandra Cruz, Rental Property Asset Manager from Seeff False Bay recommends using reputable sites including Airbnb, Safari Now, Booking.com and Trip Advisor. Travellers should verify costs and plan a budget.
Some adverts are often unclear in terms of what is included and what is not. It is not uncommon for certain activities to be add-ons to the advertised price. There is nothing worse than arriving for your holiday only to find that meals or activities aren't included.
Double-check what is included and whether the advertised rates apply to the period of your booking as peak season rates are usually much higher. Mulholland says that you should also research the costs of restaurants and other facilities in the area to ensure that you budget correctly for your holiday.
“The terms and conditions of the booking should also be scrutinised so that you know exactly what you are in for. Internet research and social media can be a great way to find out about unknown places or establishments. Be sure to confirm your booking before departure and find out where to collect the keys and so on,” she says.
Mulholland adds that you should also research the location. She says properties advertised on sites such as Airbnb are often not clear about where they are located. Holidaymakers can be very disappointed to find that they are not getting a beach location but have to take transport to the beaches.
Travellers should also check what facilities and amenities are available.
“Scammers and fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated, and at this time of year use holidays as one of their tools to scam you out of your hard-earned money. They know that people look for good or last-minute deals and millions are lost to fraudsters in this way. An important final tip is to know that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” she added.