Booking Travel Online? 9 Tips To Ensure Nothing Goes Wrong
Booking travel online? For that added peace of mind, and to make sure you’re making an informed decision, here are a few tips to help things go smoothly.
1. Look For A TICO Registration Number
Ontario’s travel industry is regulated and there is consumer protection in place. The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) is Ontario’s Travel Regulator. The easiest way to protect yourself against some of the risks involved with booking travel online, is to make sure that the company is a registered travel retailer in Ontario. If they’re registered with TICO, they’re required to show an Ontario registration number on their website, as well as their address and phone number. If in doubt about an online travel agency, you can search TICO’s database of registered travel agencies and travel wholesalers here.
2. Check Where Your Credit Card Payment Is Going
When making an online purchase, know who is charging your credit card and how your payment will be processed. If other companies or travel suppliers are involved, they may not be registered in Ontario. You only have protection under the Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002 if you make your payment to or through a registered Ontario online travel agency.
3. Be Clear On The Cost
Are you paying for your trip in Canadian or US currency? Do you know the total price of your travel services? Are they charging any additional fees? Ontario travel agencies selling travel services online are required to disclose the total price of your travel plans.
4. Protect Yourself With Insurance
Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance and out-of-province health insurance when you book your trip. While nobody ever expects to cancel their vacation plans, unexpected situations can occur, and cancellation charges by airlines, cruise lines, hotels and tour companies can be as much as 100% of the purchase price. Online travel agencies in Ontario are required to advise you of the availability of trip cancellation insurance and out-of-province health insurance during the booking process. The travel agency receipt should indicate whether you purchased or declined insurance.
5. Ensure You Have The Right Travel Documents
Online travel agencies in Ontario are required to advise you what travel documents are needed for each person travelling prior to accepting payment for your booking. Your receipt should include information regarding travel documentation.
6. Track Your Transactions
Be sure to print out all records related to your online booking, including transactions, confirmations, and correspondence as proof of your purchase. Print out the information for all portions of your trip including hotel accommodations and transfers to/from the airport.
7. Read The Fine Print
Before you book, take a look at the Terms and Conditions. Fortunately, many websites won’t let you book until you’ve acknowledged that you’ve read them, but you should be aware of the fine print regardless. Know what their policy is for cancellation, changes to bookings and refunds.
8. Do Your Research
If you’re going somewhere new, be sure to find out details about the destination, accommodation, and travel provider ahead of time. Additionally, find out if there are any Travel Advisories or Reports for your destination. Visit: www.travel.gc.ca/. Check the online travel agency’s website for a live chat feature, email address or toll-free number to talk to a travel agent. Travel agents are a great resource to answer any questions you may have to ensure you are making an informed travel purchase.
9. Ensure You Have Customer Support At Your Destination
Find out what type of customer support service the company offers at your destination. Most tour operators have destination representatives to assist travelers with any issues that may arise. Some may have a toll free support telephone number or a live chat feature on their website to provide customer support while at your destination.
Book with a TICO Registered Travel Agency
To verify if a travel agency or website is TICO registered, check our online directory.
Take the TICO Traveller Quiz to see what type of traveller you are.
For more travel tips and information, visit the Smart Traveller Guide.
All travel agencies and websites located and operating in Ontario are regulated by TICO. Registered travel agencies and websites provide additional consumer protection for your travel investment that may not be available when booking with travel agencies and websites based in other countries or provinces. For more information about how TICO helps, click here.
Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-451-TICO (8426).