How To Avoid Being Ripped Off When Planning Your Family Vacation On The Internet

By Shelley Cheny

The internet has lead to a remarkable new wave in organizing, purchasing, confirming and sharing information for a family vacation which can mean the difference between the family vacation being a seamless, cost effective holiday experience or a total travel disaster.

Unfortunately for many people who are planning a family holiday, there are many scammers or individuals that lead the whole industry into disrepute, either intentionally or by sheer bad luck and miscommunication.

Here are seven top tips for a successful online booking and planning experience:

[1] Book with larger, reputable firms- larger airline companies, accommodation companies have a lot of reputation and industry standards they must abide by, and therefore, even though the customer service is not terrific all the time, usually mean you are less likely to be taken for a ride.

[2] Pay with a credit card that has insurance if you can. This may not always be the cheapest option as sometimes there is a surcharge, but if something goes wrong, there is documentary evidence and you can appeal through your bank or merchant. A check or direct deposit via the internet is often lost money with no recourse for a refund. Additionally, ensure it is a secure site – check the security of the site (https) or other icon at the bottom of the page such as a lock or an eye with a cross through it.

[3] Check the website – a little research can go a long way. Use your search engine tools and look up ” (company name) scam” or “(company name)refund policy”.

[4] Get referrals from friends, the online community of travel forums and blogs which provide free advice and honest dialogue.

[5]Ring the phone number and ask a stupid question. This will test how good or bad the support is, and when you are travelling with children life is full of unexpected surprises and stupid seemingly impossible scenarios.

[6] Read feedback and testimonials. Check the fine print. Read the weasel clauses. Many people have lost money and been unable to cancel a trip regardless of circumstances because they did not realise that the booking once paid was set in stone

[7] make sure to confirm and have documentary evidence, and a copy elsewhere, even a digital copy on a USB is a worthwhile idea.

There is no real absolute guarantee that booking holidays online will be a successful one, especially when you are dealing with small independent operators. But there are many ways of trying your very best to check it all out beforehand. A Family vacation, especially with children is already full of adventure and special surprises. Plan carefully, Take care of yourselves and the kids and keep the adventurous spirit alive!

For more tips on “Keeping the kids happy on your Luxury Family Vacation” visit

Shelley Cheny is a working mother of 2, and an avid traveller who likes to do it in Style. She is based in Sydney Australia.

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