Travel has become part and parcel of many consumers’ lifestyles, whether it’s for business or pleasure. These days, almost every aspect of a trip (except for the actual physical traveling by plane, land, or boat) can be done online – from booking a seat on a flight, cruise, train, bus, or car, to reserving accommodations at your destination. Travel sites exist for this very reason. They are here to serve the modern traveler all types of conveniences and service via the Internet, with no more need for a customer to queue up and wait at an actual brick and mortar agency.

Unfortunately, there are also travel sites that are scammy. Most of them promise convenience and the best value for your money but end up running away with your earnings while failing to deliver their guaranteed services. In order to avoid this kind of fraud-induced headache, it’s best to be aware of what makes up a legit travel site by knowing the features that usually go with one.

Competitive Deals and Price Guarantees

There are different kinds of travel sites out there. Each one engages in services for their target market, such as those seeking discounts and the lowest prices on flights and accommodations. There are also those that offer booking services via their sites on behalf of their clients so that they won’t have to worry about anything once they get to their destination. And then there are the travel agency sites that specialize in vacation packages for the complete travel experience and convenience.

It’s one thing to know what specific travel service you are looking for, and another to get the best deals and price guarantee for it. A good travel website will see to it that you have a menu of affordable travel choices and that you can go ahead and compare their prices against those of other travel sites’. Things like price matches where you can scour for the best possible price online so that the travel site can offer it at a cheaper rate, rebates for future bookings, and refunds for services spell out confidence on the part of a legit travel website.

Reasonable Pricing

It’s essential to compare different travel sites offering different types of services to get the best deals. But reputable ones will always provide reasonable pricing even during peak season while making sure customers will keep doing business with them via discounts and loyalty rewards programs.

Discounts are always an attractive feature for a legit travel site. Look for ones that allow you to earn miles, knock off significant chunks for reservation services to hotels, restaurants, and events, and even give you exclusive deals to partner retailers and institutions to make traveling an enjoyable and hassle-free experience.

Reliable Customer Service

Traveling, especially if it’s long distance, can open up a lot of potential situations that cause inconvenience to the traveler (delayed or overbooked flights, long queues, mistakes in booking, etc.).

A good travel site will make sure a customer service representative is always on call for any information or service that can be extended to their client. So one of the first things to look for in a travel site would be the availability of customer service in any form – be it by phone, chat, or email. Those offering their services 24 hours a day for seven days a week are the best and most reliable ones. They can help customers with any travel-related concern, be it flight, accommodation, rental, or travel package-related, at any time of the day.

Value-Added Services

Having described a critical value-added service above (24/7 customer service availability), it’s good to know that there are even more ways to discern if a travel site is just after your hard-earned money, or is really willing to serve you to the best of their ability.

One of the things to look for prior to booking a service with a particular travel website includes a mobile app (or at least a mobile-responsive) version of the site. This provides an extra layer of convenience for travelers since it means they can access their accounts and itinerary practically anywhere, at any time. It also allows for faster and more secure payment for upgrades or services while saving a traveler precious time.

Another value-added service to look for goes beyond booking and well into convenience. If a travel site offers clients the option to compare hotel accommodations, restaurants, and events for the best possible price, and are willing to map out a customized itinerary that fits your needs and preferences, then chances are it’s an excellent service-oriented travel site to book.

Safety and Privacy

Most, if not all, of travel-related transactions, will likely be done via online payment. A legit travel site will make sure customer information remains private and protected, and that all payment gateways are secure.

If you are trying out the services of a particular travel site for the first time, it’s best to look up verified customer reviews about it. Any red flags pertaining to credit card fraud, identity theft, unexplained credit card charges or debits, and other security and privacy breaches must be taken seriously. To further protect yourself, ensure that the site’s web address and its payment portals are secure before using your credit card information to pay for anything. Some of the things to look out for: the site will use “https” (the ‘s’ stands for secure) instead of just “http,” and there will be a padlock icon on the search bar.

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