Leaving home to go on vacation can be exciting and fun. Though most travel companies are legitimate and may help you have a great time, some unscrupulous businesses may take advantage.
Many timeshare resorts, travel agencies and clubs offer vacation packages and travel specials. Before committing to a promotional offer, ask for it in writing and read the fine print.
Some offers come unsolicited saying that you have been "selected" to receive a "free vacation" provided you attend a company's sales seminar. Get the offer in writing and check the cancellation and refund policies.
Once you have a written offer, read the fine print. Pay special attention to asterisks or footnotes. These often indicate restrictions such as limitations on the length of your stay or prohibitions on certain days or times of departure. You may also find that you will be responsible for additional charges like transportation fees and taxes.
You should confirm your reservations independently. Promises of "five-star" hotels sometimes in actuality turn out to be cramped rooms with bad food and questionable facilities. If you complain, you may get an "upgrade" for a much higher price that you will then have to pay.
Request information directly from the hotel in question and ask what features they include with your package. Also ask the vacation promoter whether you can make your own travel arrangements if the designated hotel is booked.
Take care to protect your identity. Do not provide credit card information unless you initiated the call or email.
Finally, secure your passport early if you are traveling internationally. U.S. citizens must have a valid passport to visit Mexico and Canada.
Even if the company is located in another state you can file a complaint through the link below, but you may also consider filing a complaint with that state's attorney general's office. You may also want to contact the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.
Most air travel is overseen by the federal government. If you have concerns about flight safety, contact the Federal Aviation Administration. For concerns about air travel service, contact the U.S Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division.
If you have concerns about a cruise line, contact our office and the Federal Maritime Commission.
If you have concerns about a hotel or motel, you can file a complaint with our office and contact the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association. During times of evacuations and disaster, hotels and motels may be subject to the laws that prohibit price-gouging. Learn more on our Disaster and Emergencies Scams page.