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Another reason to consider dealing local when you can. Online travel scams.

Posted Monday, September 20, 2010, at 8:44 AM

I am not saying that you can not find deals online. I sure hope you can, but know what you are doing and if your gut tells you something is wrong, repect it!

A news snippet from the Kim Komando Show "Scammers are increasingly taking advantage of vacationers. The scammers are offering fake vacation packages and holiday homes online. Few travelers check the scammers' credentials and lose their money. Digital scams are getting harder to detect."

Suggestion? If you have a local travel agent, they will probably be glad to compete with these offers and will offer security in getting the the REAL DEAL. I do not want to let someone I have never met set up my family's vacation for several reasons. The success of the vacation, my family's safety and the fact that someone I do not know is aware that we will be away from home, where and how long. What an invitation to clean your house for you?

A quick disclaimer, I am not involved in the travel industry and I am not recommending anyone in particular. Komando's article just struck a note of concern for our neighbors.

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Good question. I don't know specifications on police vehicles, but it would be good to know the answer. I could think of reasons that have to buy out of town, but maybe someone could explain who knows?

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Oct 9, 2010, at 8:43 AM

Buy Shelbyville!!!!!! I got behind one of the City Detective cars and lo and behold I see Neil-Sandler on the back. Did the City go out of town to buy police cars?

-- Posted by olderthandirt on Fri, Oct 8, 2010, at 2:20 PM

I like Trip advisor also Jax but I also like Orbitz, Vacations to go, Hotels.com, Expedia. I have used all of the above to book vacation deals and have yet to be disappointed. If you want to plan a vacation to the mountains the best package deals I have found for Pigeon Forge area is : http://www.mypigeonforge.com/vacation_pa...

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 24, 2010, at 1:42 AM

I usually book my Southwest flights 'cause I like to be in control but our travel agent challenged me to bring her my best arrangements after I checked out everything I wanted.

Darn if she did not improve it somehow for the same money or better. Then I looked at how much time I spent digging and eventually just accepted that she was a full-timer and I wasn't.

The company president of one of the companies I represent and his business partner used to wear me out with "what about this, what about that" and "I found it cheaper here" but when I checked it out they decided they did not want to connect through Siberia (the current ads on TV about reward mileage are rather accurate) or the timing was not right.

Speaking of reward miles, I found only one straight forward program and even that one has changed a bit more with less available award seats. The last one I was going to use to fly to Chicago was going to cost me as much as if I had booked it two weeks ahead of time. BIG DEAL!

I gave the award points to a charity and asked the airlines to stop bugging me about their rewards program. It was not worth the bother.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Sep 20, 2010, at 2:43 PM

I use a website called Tripadvisor.com and it is a great website to find out information about hotels and vacation places from real people and their experiences. They also have forums where you can get a lot of great ideas on anything from hotels, restaurants, and attractions. I use this all the time when I am booking my vacation online and so far have such great experiences wherever I go. I would never use a travel agent myself because I can definitely find better deals online but I also definitely do my research before I pay money.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Sep 20, 2010, at 1:57 PM

As a Travel Consultant for the past 23 years, I saddens me when I hear of people falling for scams. I am all for a good deal, BUT when it sounds too good to be true...it usually is. I also love when I find my clients a good deal, but I'm about burned out from people telling me "I can find it cheaper online and not have to pay your service fee"...yet who is the first person they call when their airline goes out of business, goes on strike or cancels a flight...because I have "fixed" it in the past?!

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Mon, Sep 20, 2010, at 11:43 AM

Good point, Steve. Another piece of advice for security's sake is: Don't post on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever when you're going on vacation. While most of these people are friends, some of the people that you have on your "friends" list might be willing to take that opportunity to relieve you of some of your belongings.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Sep 20, 2010, at 9:48 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.