Infographic | 3:12 min read

Travel Scam Prevention Tips


Don’t let fraudsters steal your sunshine! Learn about common travel scams and how to protect yourself.

Are you dreaming of your next travel getaway? Picture-perfect beaches, fine dining, and exciting adventures await. Before you book your trip, it's important to learn about common travel scams and how to protect yourself. Scammers are always on the prowl, ready to turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. With a few precautions, you can keep those scammers at bay and have a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

common travel scams infographic

Common Travel Scams:

  1. "Free" Vacations
    If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Chances are, you've stumbled upon online ads for "free" vacations. Or, you might have received emails, calls, or texts claiming you've won a free vacation, even though you never entered into a contest. Legitimate companies don't ask for payment upfront for a prize you've supposedly won. Always question offers that require you to pay hidden fees or taxes before you can claim your "free" trip.
  2. International Travel Documents
    You might see sites that claim to be able to help you get an international travel visa, passport, or other documents. These websites might look like the real deal, but they're actually just copying the U.S. Department of State's website. And the worst part? They charge you a lot of money for things that are free on the official government site.
  3. Fake International Driving Permit
    An International Driving Permit (IDP) helps translate your regular driver’s license into ten different languages, making it easier to drive in other countries. Unfortunately, scammers create fake IDPs and try to sell them to you online, in-person, or through other means. If you end up buying a fake IDP, you're wasting your money on a useless document. But it gets worse – you could also run into legal trouble or get stuck with travel delays if you're caught using it to drive abroad. Remember, only the U.S. Department of State, the American Automobile Association (AAA), and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) have the authority to issue legitimate IDPs.
  4. Vacation Home Rental
    It's simple to reach out to property owners who showcase their vacation home on the internet like Airbnb and VRBO. Scammers might try to hijack genuine rental listings and promote them as their own. So, when you arrive for your vacation, you discover that multiple people have booked the same property, leaving you without accommodation and out of pocket. Some scammers skip the real rentals altogether, fabricating listings for properties that either aren't available for rent or don't even exist. Scammers often pressure you to make quick decisions about rentals. Take your time and don't let anyone rush you into a decision.
  5. Private Plane Scams
    You might come across a tempting offer to jet off to your dream destination via a private plane. This offer may even include accommodations and sightseeing tours, making it seem like a perfect vacation package. However, after you make the payment, you realize it's all a scam. The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Special Authorities Division keeps a list of approved public charter flights. If the charter filing hasn't been approved by DOT before the package is sold, chances are you're dealing with a dishonest charter operator.

How to Protect Yourself:

  • Always understand the terms of the deal before signing or paying. Get cancellation and refund policies in writing before making any payments.
  • Research travel companies, hotels, and rentals for reviews or complaints before committing. Verify the property's address and legitimacy before booking.
  • Avoid paying with wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. Stick to secure payment methods that offer fraud protection.
  • When shopping for travel, seek recommendations from trusted sources and compare prices on reputable websites and apps.
  • Inquire about mandatory fees and taxes when booking hotels to ensure you're comparing total costs accurately.

If you think you may have been targeted by a travel scam, report it to the FTC at or your state attorney general. Travel smarter, not harder!

The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.