Scams are everywhere, and the travel industry is far from exempt. But if you’re going to look at traveling this high season, you need to be aware of some of the scams circulating the industry right now. The Telegraph recently reported that there is a rash of fake holiday villas being advertised on places like HomeAway.co.uk, where villa owners can advertise their holiday rentals to tourists passing through the area. As you can imagine, this is a situation that’s ripe for scamming. If you live in England but make your holiday in Spain, what’s going to actually protect you from getting ripped off on a nice villa?
Staying in villas has become a holiday preference over time, given that it’s like having a home literally away from home. This is preferable to having to deal with hotels all of the time. Even though there are some pretty nice hotels, chances are good that you don’t want to spend your entire holiday away from home in one of them. This is understandable, and it has given rise to plenty of villas.
Yet many UK tourists are getting ripped off by phony listings that ask for deposits to be paid and then the rest of the balance quickly…with a discount of course. Thousands of pounds down the drain, and an unhappy holiday has been born.
Here’s how to avoid this from becoming your reality. You want to make sure that you take out separate travel cover to protect yourself in case your holiday villa isn’t what you think it is. You also want to make sure that you call the number and talk to someone that is associated with the rental. Bonus points if the number is the same on every advertisement. Look for sites that verify the villa directly. This cuts down on the likeliness that you’re going to be running into problems getting the booking to go through.
Some tourists decide to make a small deposit up front and then put the rest of the cash in the hand of the villa owner when they arrive. This is still tricky because many villa owners do not want to run the risk of not having their booking fulfilled, or be without the money at the last minute. You’ll have to work things out.
If a deal on a villa is too good to be true, trust us — it really is too good to be true. People often get caught into scams because they get greedy thinking that they’re going to be able to beat out the competition on a highly sought after villa. This isn’t the case at all, and it creates problems down the road. You’re better off avoiding all of this misery by employing a little common sense.
The holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to soak up the sun. Why not check it out today, while it’s still on your mind? Good luck!