I was chatting with a travel agent friend of mine this morning, who told me she was amazed at how some people pay her. In this day and age of credit transactions (and protection in case a business goes belly-up) she has people making very large payments to her with checks, and in some cases, even cash.
So she asked me to remind folks to always use a credit card when purchasing travel related services. That way, if the company goes bankrupt, you can recover the funds from your credit card company, as you didn’t receive the service you paid for. Remember, this also applies to airline tickets, although I’m hesitant to use the word “airline” and “service” in the same sentence.
Debit cards are not the same as credit cards, and your bank may not refund the money for services not received. So again, use that credit card!
I also have to add, that just because you use your credit card doesn’t mean you have to pay the charge off over time. If you pay the balance in full at the end of the billing cycle, you don’t have to pay any interest. So use that charge card next time you make any kind of travel arrangements.
Additionally, if you are working with a travel agency, ask them if the charge will be payable to the provider (airline, cruise line, etc.) or to the travel agency. If the latter is the case, then you might want to reconsider your choice of travel agents.
Standard practice is to make the charge payable to the provider, however some agencies close to the edge credit the funds to the agency, and then use the money as working capital. Legally there’s nothing wrong with crediting it to the agency, if the agency actually turns around and pays the provider. But the point is, who wants to work with an agency that is that tight for capital. It’s just not a good practice, especially in these economic times.
So, shop wisely, ask the right questions and pay with a credit card.
And have a good vacation!