Despite the horrible economy, there are always those who are attempting to separate us from our hard earned cash! There are scammers EVERYWHERE and they aren't going anywhere; they will become increasingly more savvy as the consumer becomes savvier too.
I'm a skeptical person by nature, so it doesn't take much for my "spidey" senses to start tingling. If I receive anything in the mail and/or email regarding an unbelievable deal, I become even more leery. These scammers are becoming increasingly inventive, and they are no slouches because they know (especially in this economy) that people are desperate to have a great deal, but not wanting to sacrifice staying at a undesirable location, or cruising on a sub par cruise line. Some of these companies are using the credentials and logos of reputable companies in their mailings and attempting to pass off their timeshares, etc, to unsuspecting consumers.
As a travel professional, the most sage advice I can give anybody is to do your OWN research and due diligence. If you receive a flyer/postcard, etc, in your mail or email, make sure you are getting what you think you are paying for. If you have a travel agent that you work with, make sure you contact them with any of these "deals" because oftentimes we are aware of unscrupulous companies out there, and we can let you know if that "deal" you've received is actually from the company you believe it's coming from, and if it's being honored. Are there companies out there that buy cruise line overstock or hotel rooms that haven't sold? Absolutely, but again, you must be careful, because that great trip you think you've booked on X cruise line, or with X hotel, may turn out to be a less than stellar "deal" you thought it would be.
- Special Deals Worked out in Advance - Travel agents may have a relationship developed with certain tour operators and could be able to get you a special price that might not otherwise be available.
- Make Travel Meaningful for Children - Travel agents can offer fun information about your trip for kids to make the experience exciting and meaningful.
- Where to Shop - Travel agents can offer excellent advice on great shopping neighborhoods in your destination City.
- Avoid Scams - Not all 5 star hotels are treated equally. Many times photos are outdated and information about the hotel you are considering may not be true. ravel agents can have a network of opportunities to make sure that what you are seeing beforehand is what you get.
- What You Can Buy Later - New airline restrictions make packing for long trips hard. Travel experts can give you advice on what you might be able to purchase while you are on your trip to avoid having excess weight in your luggage beforehand.