Your credit card may protect you against fraudulent travel purchases. Here’s how.
Many travel businesses offer discounts if you pay by wiring cash. But should you? Here’s my take.
As she paged through Viking River Cruises’ glossy brochure one recent afternoon, Diane Moskal noticed a new way to save money: If she booked the Waterways of the Tsars itinerary sailing from Moscow to St. Petersburg with something called an e-check, the cruise line promised to knock $100 off the fare.
An e-check is an electronic debit to your checking account, and it’s billed as a quick, convenient way to pay for your vacation that is “as easy as providing your credit card number,” according to Viking.
But like any smart traveler, Moskal wasn’t content with that explanation. “I see that the cruise lines advocate consumer savings if you pay by e-check,” she says. But she also found several complaints online, which made her hesitate. She wondered: Are e-checks safe?
If you think the words “vacation rental” and “phishing” are all but synonymous, you’re not alone. Just talk to Ann Schutte, who recently found a rental villa with a “million-dollar” view in Sedona, Ariz., through the rental Web site VRBO.com.
A woman claiming to own the property quoted her a $645 rate for five nights if she wired her the money. “After a number of e-mails back and forth, I agreed to the rental,” says Schutte, a property manager from Phoenix. “I received a contract. Everything looked correct on the contract. It even had the rental property address and logo. I signed the agreement, and wired the money through Western Union to the U.K.”
Carole Brown’s airline ticket — or lack of a ticket — is probably a lost cause. But this being Monday, when I present a borderline case, I’m not 100 percent certain of it.
Let’s talk about money.
If you’re going to be a successful travel blogger, you’ll need some to pay your Internet service provider and web designer. You’ll have to pony up cold, hard cash for the equipment I recommended in the second part of this series.
It would be nice to have a little left over to pay the rent, too.
People think you have to take the vow of poverty when you become a travel blogger, or that your “payment” is press trips. Not necessarily.