Spring Break Advice – From Scams to Scares

We’ve been seeing a lot of advice for Spring Break vacations, tips for everyone from from college kids to families, and we’ve boiled it down to some useful guidance good any time of year.

Watch for Scams

You’ve won a trip – or have you? The Better Business Bureau be wary of any communication (phone, email, letters or brochures) that say you’ve got a free trip coming because chances are there are strings attached. FareCompare has reported on such scams in the past and the airlines are equally wary. You know if you’ve entered a contest with a reputable company but if you win a “free trip” from a business you’re not familiar with, read the fine print. Then, read it again.

Travel scams from around the world

Beware Super-Amazing Deals

Another tip from the better BBB says, if a package deal or hotel room or meal or an excursion sounds too good to be true, that might be the case. Check out such deals thoroughly, giving special attention to any cancelation clauses, or late fees or if there is a certain amount of money you have to spend in order to get this great deal.

Find the best available flight deals (no scam)

Stay Alert

Use the same kind of precautions you would when at home including:

  • Watch your belongings: Do not hang your purse over the back of your chair and keep your phone in hand or on your person
  • Watch for con-artists: Pickpockets and other disreputable types love popular tourist attractions because that’s where the money is.

Note on thieves: They often work in teams – one to distract, one to get the money or passports or electronics. If someone you don’t know says, “Hey, would you like me to take your picture?” it might be completely innocent – or not. Hand your phone to friend instead.

Go Easy on the Celebrating

You’re on vacation and you want to have fun – we get it. But don’t endanger yourself or others. If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive. Have a designated sober driver or even a designated sober buddy to make sure your group walks from point A to point B safely. Also, do not leave any drink unattended; if you do (or you’re not sure), spend the extra $10 (or $20!) and get a new one.

Don’t Scare the Parents

A FareCompare reader heard this from his Spring Breaking college student: “Can you give me money to go skydiving?” Be gentle with your parents. They’re going to worry about you anyway and do not need any extra excitement.

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Published: March 18, 2014