Before you pay any money read all the terms and conditions relating to your travel services including cancellation conditions, fees and other restrictions.
You have a right in certain circumstances to have credit card charges reversed if you do not receive what you paid for. Check with your credit card company for details. This protection is not available when you make a payment with a check, money order, or cash.
Check beforehand with your local Better Business Bureau or California Department of Consumer Affairs, which may tell you how long the seller of travel has been in business, whether there have been any law enforcement actions brought against it in the past, and the nature of consumer complaints it has received, if any.
It is a good practice to confirm all of your travel arrangements directly with the businesses providing the transportation, hotel, or car rental.
While there are legitimate businesses that offer free trips, there are others that offer "free" trips to entice consumers into buying their products or services, which include hidden costs.
There are many legitimate sellers of travel that provide great deals on the Internet, but if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
Sellers of travel must register every year with the Attorney General's office in order to do business or market in California. They must clearly display their registration number in all advertising materials. Do not deal with unregistered travel companies. While registration does not mean that the seller is reputable, you should avoid any seller who has not taken the safeguards required by law to protect your payments.
Taking money without delivering goods or services that are promised can be a crime. If you believe you have been a victim of a crime, call your local police agency. If your travel seller's main place of business is in California, and under certain other circumstances, you may be entitled to make a claim for restitution from the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund. Please find more information about how to file a claim.