One of the awesome services the Internet has brought to the consumer is the ability to book travel online. From hotels to car rentals to theme park tickets and more, you'll find that there are dozens of opportunities as close as your keyboard. But before you take the steps to actually commit to those bookings, take a minute.
Identity theft has become even easier with the increase of online transactions. With that in mind, take time to verify some information before you go those final steps toward booking hotels for your trip. Don't give out your credit card information until you're certain that you're working with a legitimate hotel company. If you have doubts, don't give your number at all. Even if you've found a great deal, the cost could be incredibly high if you're giving your credit card number or access to your bank account to unscrupulous people.
Be wary of any booking that requires immediate action. While it may be true that rooms are going fast, you do have time to verify the company, especially if it isn't a well-known name that you already recognize.
Before you book a hotel, make sure that you have the details of the transaction in writing. If this is to be a double room, non-smoking accommodations or anything specific, make sure that your receipt is going to say so. Ask about details of the rooms. Don't assume that you're going to be near the pool, near the parking lot or near anything else. You may be booking into the back corner of a mega-hotel.
If there are ratings or reviews of the hotel available, take time to read them. Before you just accept that this truly is a “five star hotel at one star prices, ” evaluate the source. If the reviews are posted only on the company's website, they have the opportunity to screen them. There won't be any negative comments here.
Booking hotels online is fast, easy and can save you some serious money. But you have to be smart about it.
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Hotels Resources a website providing information on Hotels