5 Essential Tips for Booking Travel Safely Online

With the holiday season just around the corner, many people and families are looking to make the most out of their extended break by exploring the world. The good news is that making travel plans is increasingly easy in today’s hyperconnected world. You don’t have to make long calls to travel agents to secure lodgings, flights, and tours—you can simply make all the bookings yourself online through hotel booking and airline websites. While this convenience can’t be beat, navigating online bookings comes with its own set of precautions. A wrong click can bring you to unscrupulous booking websites that intend to scam, defraud, or steal your information. As such, you want to ensure that you’re adopting a certain degree of safety measures before putting in your personal or financial information on just any website. There are a lot more things you should know before making that booking online. Let’s dive into five essential tips for booking travel safely and to keep your online travel planning secure and hassle-free.

1. Verify Website Authenticity for Safe Bookings

When doing some pre-travel preparation, you’re likely going to make a lot of bookings. Flights, car rentals, hotels, travel insurance, the list goes on. 

Making these bookings online often requires you to fill up some personal and financial information on the business’s or third party’s webpage.

Before doing so, be sure to check the legitimacy of the website for booking travel safely. Many websites pose as the main original website, deceiving unsuspecting travellers and potentially trying to take advantage of them in some way, typically through stealing their credit card information.

As such, review the name of the website and see if there are misspellings or strange aspects of the URL. If there are any discrepancies, back out from the website immediately.

Furthermore, look for secure connection indicators like an HTTPS and padlock symbol in the browser bar. These are good signs that you’re dealing with a trusted website.

In addition to that, some websites may not exactly be mimicking another, but they could still be shady and fraudulent to some degree. So before engaging with these unknown websites, read up on their reputation through customer reviews or travel forums for assurance.

2. Secure Your Payments with Trusted Methods

One glaring red flag of a booking website is if they only accept bank transfers or cryptocurrency deals. These payment methods don’t offer much consumer protection, and there’s little you can do once you have sent the money and they don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

As such, be sure to choose payment methods that offer a strong degree of consumer protection against fraud and unauthorized transactions. Credit cards typically have robust responses when you file a dispute, making them a good payment gateway.

Similarly, a few online payment systems also have good consumer protection policies, such as PayPal and Wise. 

Before filling up your payment information on a website, however, be sure that the website link of the payment is secure and verified. 

Seeing an HTTPS in the URL is a good indicator that you’re dealing with a legitimate payment gateway. This can give you peace of mind knowing that the rest of your funds won’t be tampered with.

3. If It’s Too Good to Be True, Practice Precaution

Have you ever scrolled through social media and found a ridiculously cheap travel package in your news feed—so cheap that you’re wondering if it’s even profitable for the company to offer that?

An absurdly cheap deal should be approached with caution. These deals may be set up as a ploy by scammers to lure overly excited travellers to book and submit their personal and financial information.

As such, before you take that deal, slow down and look for signs that the website is scammy. Does the website have a traceable physical address? Does the website have a big social media presence? Is the CEO of the website a standup guy or gal, or even traceable?

Search the website in Google and read up on travel forums like TripAdvisor from people who’ve engaged with the website. If the experience is reported to have been overwhelmingly negative, then steer clear from that website.

Scammers can easily buy likes and comments to boost the credibility of their offering on social media, so don’t fall for their tricks so easily. There are likely many genuine travel companies that have credible reviews, so don’t let a few bucks off entice you to a potential fraud case.

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4. Check Your Booking Details Before Pushing Through With Payment

Another important step to take before confirming your booking is to review it. By making a booking, you’re binding yourself to the terms and conditions of a particular service provider. You want to ensure that you’re not making any undesirable agreements in your booking.

Furthermore, double-checking your details also helps you ensure that you’re getting to a deal that you truly want. 

You could easily overlook a mistake in the date you’ve chosen, the terms of the booking, or a lack of accommodations. These mistakes can be costly or can interfere with the satisfaction or accessibility of the tour. 

You can click here to learn how to avoid shopping scams in particular while booking travel safely.

Reverting or editing the information you’ve inputted post-booking can incur a cost or may not even be allowed in some cases, so be sure that your booking is the right one to avoid overpaying for your upcoming holiday.

5. Instal a Robust Cybersecurity Software

Even if you’ve duly done your research, you can make a mistake and expose yourself to phishing, malware, or ransomware during your booking spree.

Before this happens, you want to be adequately protected from these cyber threats. 

The best way to do so is by installing an antivirus program that offers comprehensive detection and blocking features to stop these threats before they cause harm to your computer or device or compromise your information.

There are many types of software you can install to protect you from threats from travel scams. 

Shop around and search for the ones with real-time scanning, firewall protection, anti-phishing and safe browsing tools. Ensure that these programs are also updated so that your computer is well-guarded from even the latest cyber threats.

And even if these programs don’t fire up because of your savvy browsing and self-threat detection skills, having them gives you peace of mind when browsing and booking, making it infinitely less stressful to go about your travel research knowing that you’re booking travel safely.

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it.

While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.”

Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book.

In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel.

Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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