Thanks! You're all signed up.

X

Be wary of ‘too good to be true’ travel auctions

SmarterTravel

We’ve all been tempted by a seemingly great deal: Three nights in Cancun for $100. Two-for-one airfares. You know the ones I mean. Oftentimes these deals don’t actually exist (once you read the fine print), but there’s no real harm: You check prices, find they’re not available, and head off, a few minutes of your time the only thing lost.

With auction sites, however, things get trickier. The deals are tempting (I saw an eight-night vacation to Italy starting at a $1 bid), but you may pay in other ways, with tacked-on fees and poor customer service. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you are enticed by a travel auction deal, take the following precautions:

  • Research the seller on the Better Business Bureau. Does the company have an unsatisfactory rating? Why did customers complain? This can show you if the company is reputable.
  • Post on travel message boards, inquiring if others have used the company and if the experience was positive. The forums on Frommers.com and TripAdvisor are pretty active: In my experience, I’ve had answers within a day of posting. Googling the company name can link to forums and blogs that praise or trash the seller.
  • Compare other offerings. What should you be paying for a similar deal from other providers? By having a benchmark, you can determine whether the auction deal is realistic or not. Read thoroughly the fine print on the auction’s offer. Will you be gouged with taxes and fees?

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

(Editor’s Note: SmarterTravel.com is published by Smarter Travel Media LLC, a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network.)

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From

Comments