Thousands of people book holidays online each year, and the vast majority of the time, this is a safe, cost-effective and hassle-free way of organising a trip.

But if you are worried about doing it, rest assured there are ways for you to ensure your booking is secure and legitimate, and we’ve compiled a check-list to put your mind at rest.

Older couple booking a villa

1. Do your research

On a simple level, does the website you are thinking of booking through look legitimate? Low-resolution logos and images could be an indicator of fraudsters cobbling together a scam website to try to make a quick buck. To be diligent, check any travel company or holiday booking site is trustworthy by searching for them online. Look for reviews, independent customer feedback (from sites such as Feefo.com), Facebook pages etc. Look on Twitter to see if other people have referred to the company at all.

Can you see an address and landline phone number on the website – and if you dial the number, does your call get answered?

2. Listen to your instincts – if an offer looks too good to be true...

Then it probably is. Check the details; a special offer may have such strict terms and conditions that it would be unfeasible for you to benefit from it, or may have hidden catches which will lead to extra costs later. But more significantly, if a package holiday looks strikingly cheaper than similar holidays you can find, then this should ring alarm bells as being possibly fraudulent.

3. Always read any Terms and Conditions and Booking Contracts

Tempting as it is to simply tick the box, you could be saving yourself an enormous headache later if you read the small print now, before committing to a flight, accommodation booking or car hire. And definitely beware of any companies without T&Cs or contracts.

4. If renting a villa, get in touch with the owner or agent.

Does the owner / agent of the property respond to your questions?

If in doubt, phone the customer services team on the website you’ve seen the property advertised. They will be able to help confirm how long the owner has been advertising with them, whether the property has had previous bookings and if necessary contact the owner or agent for you.

5. Be careful how you pay

When making your booking, don’t pay by bank transfer, cash or cheque. If this is the only payment option, we strongly advise you don’t make the booking. If booking accommodation, pay by credit or debit card, or via the holiday rental booking site. Before you do this however, check the renter protection policy the company has to see how your money is protected – will you be reimbursed in the case of fraud?

When you are making a payment online, the same advice applies whether you are booking a holiday villa or buying your weekly shopping; look for a small padlock sign next to the web address, which shows traffic to and from the website is encrypted; only that website can read any payment details or passwords you enter there.

 

We hope you feel confident in searching for and booking your ideal holiday online now. Happy travelling!