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Have you purchased a travel package over the phone? Is it legitimate?

Are You A Victim Of Telemarketing Travel Fraud?

Are You A Victim Of Telemarketing Travel Fraud?Hello...you have been specially selected to receive our SPECTACULAR LUXURY DREAM VACATION offer! Have you ever been tempted to sign up to win a "free" trip at a fair, trade show or restaurant? If so, you may get a phone call, letter, unsolicited fax, email or postcard telling you that you've won a vacation. Be careful. It may be a "trip trap." The vacation that you've "won" likely isn't free. And the "bargain-priced" travel package you're offered over the telephone or Internet may not fit your idea of luxury. While some travel opportunities sold over the phone or offered through the mail, Internet or by fax are legitimate, many are scams that defraud consumers out of millions of dollars each month.The word "offer" can be a clue to hidden charges. When you get the phone call, or place the call in response to a postcard, letter, fax or Internet ad, you also get a sales pitch for a supposedly luxurious trip - one that you could pay dearly for. The salesperson may ask for your credit card number to bill your account for the travel package. Once you pay, you receive the details of the "package," which usually include instructions for making trip reservation requests. Your request often must be accompanied by yet another fee. In addition, many offers require you to pay upgrade costs to receive the actual destinations, accommodations, cruises or dates you were promised. Some offers may require you to pay more for port charges, hotel taxes or service fees. See a pattern developing? New charges are being added every step of the way. You may never get your "bargain" trip because your reservations may not be confirmed or because you must comply with hard-to-meet hidden or expensive "conditions." Telemarketing travel scams usually originate out of "boiler rooms." Skilled salespeople, often with years of experience selling dubious products and services over the phone, pitch travel packages that may sound legitimate, but often are not. These pitches usually include: Oral Misrepresentations. Particular schemes vary, but all fraudulent telemarketers promise you a "deal" they can't possibly deliver. Unfortunately, you won't know it until your money's gone. High Pressure/Time Pressure Tactics. Scam operators often say they need your commitment to buy immediately or that the offer won't be available much longer. They typically brush aside questions or concerns with vague answers or assurances. "Affordable" Offers. Unlike fraudulent telemarketers who try to persuade people to spend thousands of dollars on an investment scheme, fraudulent travel telemarketers usually pitch club membership or vacation offers in a lower price range. The offers sound reasonable and are designed to appeal to anyone who is looking for a getaway. Contradictory Follow-up Material. Some companies may agree to send you written confirmation of your deal. However, it usually bears little resemblance to the offer you accepted over the phone. The written materials often disclose additional terms, conditions and costs. How To Protect YourselfUnpleasant surprises can ruin a vacation, especially when they cost money. That's why it pays to investigate a travel package before you buy. But it can be difficult to tell a legitimate sales pitch from a fraudulent one. Consider these travelers' advisories:Be wary of "great deals" and low-priced offers. Few legitimate businesses can afford to give away products and services of real value or substantially undercut other companies' prices. Don't be pressured into buying. A good offer today usually will be a good offer tomorrow. Legitimate businesses don't expect you to make snap decisions. Ask detailed questions. Find out exactly what the price covers and what it doesn't. Ask about additional charges. Get the names of the hotel, airports, airlines and restaurants included in your package. Consider contacting these businesses directly to verify arrangements. Ask about cancellation policies and refunds. If the salesperson can't give you detailed answers, hang up. If you decide to buy, find out the name of the travel provider - the company that is getting your reservations and tickets. This company usually is not the telemarketer. Get all information in writing before you agree to buy. Once you receive the written information, make sure it reflects what you were told over the phone and the terms you agreed to.Don't buy part of the package - the air fare or hotel stay - separately from the rest. If the deal is not what you expected, it may be difficult to get your money back for the part of the package you purchased. Don't give your "credit card" number or bank information over the phone unless you know the company. One easy way for a scam operator to close a deal is to get your credit card number and charge your account. Sometimes fraudulent telemarketers say they need the number for verification purposes only. Don't believe them. Don't send money by messenger or overnight mail. Some scam artists may ask you to send them a check or money order immediately. Others may offer to send a messenger to pick up your payment. If you pay with cash or a check, rather than a credit card, you lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act. If you charged your trip to a credit card, you may dispute the charges by writing to your credit card issuer at the address provided for billing disputes. If possible, do this as soon as you receive your statement. In any case, the law gives you up to 60 days after the bill's statement date to dispute the charge. Check out the company before you buy. Contact the Attorney General in your state or where the company is located to see if any complaints have been lodged against the travel firm or the travel provider. Be aware that fraudulent businesses often change their names to avoid detection. If in doubt, say "no." Trust your instincts. It's less risky to turn down the offer and hang up the phone. Where to ComplainSeveral organizations can provide additional information and help you with complaints. Your state Attorney General or the Attorney General in the state where the company is located probably has a division that deals with consumer protection issues. The American Society of Travel Agents, Consumer Affairs, at 1101 King Street, Alexandria,VA 22314, may be able to mediate your dispute with an ASTA member.The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Travel tips getting the most out of your limited space

Travel tips  getting the most out of your limited space

The number-one rule in packing for a trip is to pack lightly because we often forget how frequently well have to lift or carry our luggage during our travels. Consider how, youll be dragging your luggage into the trunk of your car and out again, through the airport, off of the luggage carousel, through another airport, back into the trunk of your rental car and out again until finally you get to the hotel where hopefully theyll have a porter.On top of having to lug your bags around, your airline will have strict rules on the size, weight and the number of bags you can travel withfor both carry-on and checked baggage. Make sure you check your airline's website for current information on restrictions and dont assume that what you took last time will be allowed this timeespecially if you are travelling on a different airline. Luggage size and weight restrictions can vary by airline or travel destination.*MONEY-SAVING TRAVEL TIP*Packing lightly for your travels can save you money. Many airlines are now charging fees for overweight bags, oversized bags, and for checking more than the allowed number of bags per passenger. Other great reasons for packing lightly: shorter waits around the luggage carousel, less need for porters (and tips!) and easier Customs inspections (after all, if you had to force your bags closed, imagine how happy the Customs agents will be!)Travel tips for packing your carry-onYour carry-on should contain all your most valuable items and must-have documentation like:Your walletYour passportYour ticketsYour travellers chequesYour emergency medical travel insurance Your medications (be sure to keep them in their original bottles)Phone numbers and addresses of where youll be stayingA small amount of local currency for immediate use when you arriveThe maps youll need to get where you are staying once youve arrivedIf you must bring valuables like jewellery with you, your carry-on is your safest bet but leave them at home if you can. "Travel tips" for packing your checked luggageThe following tips should help you keep your luggage light and leave enough room so you can pack souvenirs when you return:Find out if where you are staying offers laundry services or has facilities you can use. This is one of the major secrets of packing lightly.Coordinate your outfits around a central color so youll be able to mix and match.Plan your outfits so you can layer instead of bringing lots of coats.Take a solid color sweater that will match any outfit to use to keep you warm Why pack the rain gear if rain is nowhere in the forecast? Check the weather online, so you can pack weather-appropriate clothing without wasting space on things you wont need.Rolling clothes rather than folding them will help prevent wrinkles and optimize your limited space.Take small sample sizes of toiletries that will last just long enough instead of huge bottles. Dont waste an inch of your luggage space, pack underwear and socks inside your shoes. This will also help your shoes keep their shape. Pack your belts around the edge of the luggage. A final travel tipAlthough already mentioned as one of the items you should keep in your carry-on so it doesnt get lost, emergency medical travel insurance is a must-have for all Canadians. Even Canadas Consular Affairs dont mince words when they say on their website DO NOT leave Canada without supplementary medical insurance.Even for the smallest of accidents, or the most common illnesses, emergency medical travel insurance offers you protection by ensuring you get the attention you need, when you need it while not having to worry about how your emergency treatment will get paid.Before you leave, get emergency medical travel insurance quotes from competing insurers online and get the coverage you need. And dont forget to pack it with your other must-have documentation!Compare emergency medical travel insurance today!

How To Select Your Preferred Bali Hotels

How To Select Your Preferred Bali Hotels

Bali is a wonderful island situated in Indonesia, the ultimate tourist destination in Asia, is worth a visit. Most people come to Bali for its beach, waves, sun, some come for business, some come for its undying art and culture, some come for its breathtaking landscapes and some for pure relaxation.Choosing Bali for your holiday destination, of course you should select and decide your preferred Bali Hotel which would match your interests. There are myriad of accommodations to choose from in Bali, from five-star luxury hotels to budget accommodations. Bali Hotels by locations: Accommodations by the sea (has beach front), in town and hotels are situated in countryside. Or Bali Hotels by interest (boutique hotels, villas, small hotels in traditional Balinese style bungalow and big or leading Bali Hotels).Every place has its own attractions and features:Sanur: Famed for its white sandy beach, sun rise, sea activities, close to other places of interest. Is for gracious living, peaceful and quiet. More international but somehow far less cosmopolitan than frenetic Kuta. There are so many excellent hotels here that you can scarcely go wrong.Kuta: Frenetic, sometime chaotic, noisy, lots of hype, but a great playground. Originally what drew visitors to Kuta was the wide beach and the surf. It still has best sea front on the island. Kuta also famed for its shopping, dine and night lives. Though there are now many first-class hotels and home stays, caters best to the economy traveler who likes to be in the thick of things.Legian & Seminyak: Lie at the north end of Kuta Beach strip. This is the place to stay if you want the best of both worlds. Conveniently located within 15 minutes from the center of Kuta, yet safely removed from the nerve-wrecking intensity and hype. The villages are perfect for extended vacations. There are several first-class hotels, a great number of intermediate-range bungalow, and inexpensive accommodations.Nusa Dua & Tanjung Benoa: The area is rather isolated from the rest of Bali. Nusa Dua is providing a total hotel environment, everything you could possibly ask for is available on the premises. White sandy beach and a wide range of sea activities.Jimbaran bay: Has nice and wide beach, good sunset (weather permitted), and close to Airport. There are two leading hotels, good villas and nice hotels in Balinese style bungalow.Ubud & environs: The heart of arts and cultures of Bali. There are many small resorts deluxe and intermediate accommodations, most blend of typical Balinese and modern amenities. Situated either in town or in the countryside, most have wonderful gardens and views. Ubud is a paradise for shopping too.The east: Offer more restful vacation.Nusa Lembongan: Is a surfing, snorkeling and diving paradise. There are some excellent hotel resorts and some inexpensive hotels.Balina beach: Buitan Village, this is spacious, gorgeous white sand beach, is one of the major scuba diving centers of Bali. There are a deluxe hotel and some intermediates and budget hotels.Candi Dasa: The beach (at low tide, at high tide there IS no beach) because it has been eroded by the waves, but Candi Dasa offer restful vacation. There are first-class, intermediate and inexpensive hotels. You will be treated here with the utmost of graceful service.The North:Lovina beach: A northern beachfront alternative to Kuta and Sanur, this is a serene and infrequently visited vacation spot. Black sand beaches and quite waters nestles inside of extensive coral reefs distinguish this idyllic beach. Snorkeling is superb here and the reef is close enough that even children and beginner swimmers can feel comfortable here. There are first-class, intermediate and inexpensive hotels.Western Beaches:Up along this coast north of Kuta and Legian lies a stretch of black sand beach with a dangerous reef and heavy undertow, these beaches are not ideal for swimming and beginner surfers. At Canggu there are some luxury hotels. Yeh Gangga boast a small luxury resort Waka Gangga is facing the Indian Ocean. Tanah Lot boast a leading hotel Le Meridian and a world championship golf course with breathtaking view of famous Tanah Lot temple and sunset.Western Interior:Bedugul: This mountain resort is famous for its air, restful and serene. There are a number of places to stay here, from luxury hotels to budget accommodations (losmen).The quickest and easiest way to select your preferred Bali Hotels is to go online and visit hotel reservation website. Do a search for the city or place (Indonesia, Bali, Hotels) you are traveling to and you will be presented with a list of available hotels in that area. There are also more information about hotels and rooms facilities. Most luxury hotel has excellent spa facilities.The wide choice can be confusing especially for first-time visitors and its sometimes difficult to select the right accommodation. So still go online and click travel. Choose your reputable travel agent (contact him by e-mail). Just let him know your personal needs and preferences that he can recommend those hotels he feel suit you best.My immense thanks to you readers.

Shopping in Bangkok Can Save You Oodles Of Money

Shopping in Bangkok Can Save You Oodles Of Money

Most of the time, I really hate shopping. I dont even like to shop for a bottle of milk. But, in Bangkok, I find myself shopping almost every day.When I first arrive in Bangkok, I go shopping to fill up my refrigerator. Even though it is fully stocked, I tell the concierge to empty it. I like to stock it with cheaper items from the local 7-11. I have the hotel remove everything except the two free bottles of water and pick up some beer, soda, red bull, and a couple of extra bottles of water I also get some chips and candy.Since I travel light, I usually go out the first or second day and pick up some shorts and T-shirts. I will also get a few DVD movies to watch back in the hotel room. I have some preferred local toiletries and pick these up too. I really enjoy using Lux shower soap. I usually pick up these few items at one of the many street vendors on Sukhumvit Road. Never accept the first price. Always bargain and dont be afraid to walk away if they dont meet your price. Walking away may drop the price drastically. If not, walk 10 feet and you will see the same items.I make it a point to go to Pantip Plaza to check out the latest in electronics. This is a five-story electronics heaven. I may or may not pick up an unlocked, tri-band cell phone that I can use in Thailand and also back in America. I will also take a look at the latest in pirated software and Thai movies. I enjoy Thai music so I will buy some CD's, MP3's and videos. Hardware is not really a bargain in Thailand, so I dont bother looking at PCs or laptops.My favorite place to shop is at the flea market. In Thai, this is called talat naht. It is open daily and may be in the Guinness Book as largest open air market in the world. It is called Chatuchak or JJ market and it is open at about eight in the morning and I try to get there by nine. If I am early, I will just grab a bite to eat at one of the many street vendors.You will want to arrive early and complete your shopping by about eleven o'clock. Otherwise it will be way too hot. Shopping under all those canvas tarps in close quarters can be extremely hot. Make sure you bring a bottle of water or buy when at the market.Most of the items are 99 or 199 Baht. This works out to about three US dollars or six US dollars. This is the place I buy most of the clothes I want for me and for my family and friends. You can also find clothes for less than that. I have gotten many outfits for my 1-year old granddaughter for about $1.25 per set.I also pick up some additional Thai music and videos. The vendors will have stereos and TV's set up so that you can hear and see what they are selling. You can also the items to make sure they work. Prices for videos and music are about 3 dollars per CD.It seems like you are always buying something just walking around Bangkok. I can be out going to dinner or to a bar, and I will see something that catches my eye and I buy it. Vendors also sell their wares while you are eating or drinking. They can be pests but every once in a while I will see something that I want to buy.Bangkok seems like it is one giant "flea market" . Shops are everywhere, vendors are located every 10 feet, and malls are popping up all over the city. Large outlets are also available in Bangkok, but I prefer the smaller places where I can still use my bargaining skills.So, even if you are like me and absolutely hate shopping, you will find that you will be shopping daily in Bangkok and actually enjoying yourself. Maybe it is because of how cheap all the goodies are.

Turkey Holidays - Marmaris

There are many places on Earth that you can spend your time and money, and all of them are vying for your attention. However, there is one city that should be on the top of the list of places to visit before you die, and that city is Marmaris.Marmaris is a small city in the southwest corner of Turkey, sitting on the Mediterranean Sea. It has an amazing history that dates back 8,000 years, as well as beauty that will leave you breathless.When you are choosing where to holiday, you need to give this city a thought.One reason, is the history.This region of Turkey has seen some great men go through it in history, including one known as Alexander the Great, a man who Julius Caesar idolized growing up. As well, it has been a major vantage point for the Ottoman Empire from the 16th to 20th centuries.If you are a history buff, then you cant go wrong with visiting a place that has 80 centuries of history to look at.One of the best places to see during your holiday in Marmaris is the castle. This castle has stood, been built and rebuilt, over the course of thousands of years and has served as a garrison for Alexanders armies, as well as Knights of St. John during their fight against the Ottoman Empire.This city is a great place to spend your holiday if you are a history buff. The sheer volume of history here means that you are going to need to keep coming back each year, just so you can see it all.Think about it, how do you cram 8,000 years of history in a week-long vacation? You cant, so if you really want to see everything this city has to offer in terms of history, then you are going to need to keep coming back on a regular basis to see the mosques, castles, historical structures and museums, just to understand how vast and important the role this place played in human history.A wonderful place for a historical holiday.

Business Apartment Rentals Spain

During the last few years, many small companies have popped up like mushrooms in popular business destinations such as Barcelona & Madrid, all promising to be the best at renting out business apartments. So how do you choose between them? What should you be looking out for? What should you try and avoid? How can you be sure that the business apartment you are renting out isn't miles outside of town in a place that even the taxi driver hasn't heard of? How can you be sure that you haven't just rented out a holiday apartment on the Costa Brava?What you are looking for which sets the business apartment rental industry apart from holiday rentals is a certain degree of professionalism. You want and need a rental company which does what it says. You need to be able to rely upon check in times & dates, apartment costs, rental availability, extra services and furnishing quality. You don't want your company staff or guests, staying in a place with rats and cockroaches, any less than you want them staying in a place without the advertised wireless Internet connection, without the promised telephone line and without the washing machine and tumble drier to get those shirts ready for that next-day important meeting. Look for a company that has a good reputation. Speak to people who have used these companies. Check out their web sites. Do they have a good image? Do they instil confidence? You can't always judge a book by its cover, they say. But if a company can't get a simple thing like a web site working properly, can they really provide all that is necessary to rent out professional business apartments? Take a look at customer testimonials, but most importantly, try actually speaking to someone at the company before you go ahead and book the apartment online. Whilst you may never be able to go to the place in person before the planned business trip, there really is no substitute for speaking to a real human being. So pick up the phone, give them a call and ask them all the questions you have in your mind. Chances are that if they cannot answer all your questions and make you feel happy and confident, then you have chosen the wrong place. Customer service is paramount these days, and a good business apartment rental company will be aware of this. The decision making is then up to you. Whether you are visiting for business, to work on a project, to attend a congress, to give a course, to take a course, or maybe you start living there and building up the next step in your life, and you require temporary housing, you need to concentrate on a company which focuses on professionals.With all these issues in mind, there are a few things you should ask for:Are there basics such as a sofa, bed, TV & bathroom facilities? How far is the apartment from the centre of town or the place of your business meetings and/or conferences?Will there be someone who can be contacted at all times during the stay, who speaks your language?Do they offer a taxi service and/or airport transfer? Are there extra services such as a cleaning service, catering & baby care facilities? Is there flexibility regarding your length of stay, in the case that you might need temporary accommodation whilst looking for a permanent place to live?Is there flexibility in payment methods?Is there a safe place for your belongings?Are there any hidden costs such as agency fees?If you have an emergency, will someone be there to help you out? Who takes care of the small daily incidents you may encounter, such as a blind that gets stuck, a washing basin that suddenly starts leaking or if you happen to lock yourself out?At the end of the day, you want to find a business apartment that suits you, one where you will feel at home. Not exactly like your own house, of course, but pretty close - a nicely decorated place, cosy, pleasant, where you can keep your clothes, books, music, sit down in the sofa and watch a good movie or check your emails on your laptop on the terrace, prepare the meeting for the next day while you cook your own meal. You want to be able to invite people over for dinner or to stay for the weekend. You need a place to stay where you can feel relaxed and do as you wish.Of course, the final decision making is up to you. But you can make this process far easier by simply doing some investigation first.

Summary

Have you purchased a travel package over the phone? Is it legitimate?