General Travel Advice
Even the experienced traveller needs to take a great deal of care in planning a trip. Most of the time nothing goes wrong, but if it does you really do need to be prepared. Take advantage of our printable travel trip check list and avoid the pitfalls that are regularly reported to us.
In recent months we have had many cases where holiday stopping events have occured after booking. ALWAYS arrange travel insurance as soon as you make your flight or holiday booking. Tour operators and travel agents will not normally refund however bad the tragedy. They make sympathetic noises but some see it as a bonus rather than a problem. To them it's a holiday they may be able to sell twice! Use our travellers check list at this link.
Travel Regulation Care
Travellers must be aware that it is their personal responsibility to ensure that they meet all Visa and other travel requirements before commencing their journey. The consequence of not doing so can be profound.
Mr K's family recently travelled to Brazil without him, but when Mrs K and her children attempted to return to the UK, they were prevented from doing so by the Brazilian authorities who will not allow a lone parent to take children out of the country. In this case, not being aware of the regulations before travel has caused a great deal of distress and additional expense.
Expect travel agents and airlines to offer advice on such matters, but they do not have the final responsibility; YOU DO! Check with the visa section of the relevant embassy if you are not certain that you are absolutely aware of the requirements you must meet for your journey.
Stop being a 'Sticky' Customer!
What is a 'sticky' customer? This is a term companies apply to those customers who either by design or ignorance can be relied upon to stay with the company. This happens where a company earns a reputation for being good value and despite market trends offering better value almost everywhere else, the company retains its customers because those customers are too lazy or too foolish to research other opportunities.
Beware Europcar on the Continent
Over the past couple of years we have had a number of e-mails about outrageous charges levied by Europcar for minor damage to hire cars. Europcar, owned by EURAZEO, is a franchise organisation with some very dodgy franchisees. Nice seems to be the worst place to hire from this company. The credit card of one customer was debited over €919 for a small dent in a bumper caused when they left the vehicle in a car park. More recently, another Europcar Nice customer's card was debited more than €500 for a dent in the steel wheel of a Peugeot and another in Malaga, €800 for a broken clutch cable! You can avoid such overcharging by using a credit card with a very low spend limit or avoiding this company altogether.
Before Travelling to any suspect region, check the latest travel advice with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
Finding new experiences is one of the great joys of travel. In these days when conforming to a pattern is more and more a part of life, when you find something different it is worth letting people know. If you are going to the Auburn area of California drop in and see Charlie Green at his fabulous winery in the hills.
USA Car Hire Scam - Read and be Prepared
You may be charged hundreds of dollars for rental car insurance -- even if you decline it!
Hundreds of stories on consumer advocate website InvestigativeGuy.com describe being overcharged hundreds of dollars by Dollar Rent a Car and its sister company, Thrifty Car Rental. The website is run by San Diego attorney and investigative journalist John Mattes, who is currently counsel in two insurance overcharges lawsuits against Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
How does the alleged "scam" work? Consumers complain that the employees do one or more of the following:
a) Claim that the rental car insurance is mandatory (often claiming a "new law" specific to the state/country the traveler is in)
b) Tell the consumer they won't be charged for insurance, but add on the charges before the consumer signs
c) Direct the consumer to click a button or sign on an electronic screen. The consumer is told they're declining insurance, when they're actually accepting the charges
d) Fold the receipt so that any extra or unauthorized charges aren't immediately visible
When consumers complain at the counter, they're often rebuffed with "You signed the contract, there's nothing we can do." How can you prevent this from happening to you? Learn what your existing insurance (auto, credit card, travel) covers. Be very clear and vocal that you do not want any extra insurance. Be wary of items called "Loss Damage Waiver" and "RoadSafe". If directed to check a box or sign a contract, have the employee confirm what it is for. Review your contract/receipt at the counter and note any discrepancies beforehand.
Have you been overcharged for insurance by Dollar / Thrifty Rent a Car? You're not alone. Attorney John Mattes wants to hear from you. Please see InvestigativeGuy.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
The information in this message is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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