Contact a professional travel agent before making a travel purchase. Experienced travel professionals can help you avoid potential hassles and costly mistakes.
Use a reputable company and ask if your travel agency has a Web site. Most sports teams, theaters, arenas and other tourist attractions have informative sites. Check newpaper sites for such local details as movie schedules, restaurant reviews, religious services and more.
Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints against some of the internet agencies.
Look for signs that sensitive information, such as travel itinerary and credit-card number, is encrypted. Two signs that indicate a site is secure are the closed padlock symbol at the bottom of your browser and a URL that begins with "https."
Find out about the site's policy on cancellations and changes.
Don't book online unless you've done your homework and know what questions to ask and where to ask them. The Internet can respond only to the questions you ask. If you don't know what to ask, you won't get the answers you need to make an informed decision.
Beware of misleading promotions. Too-good-to-be-true deals often come with the condition that you buy additional airfare or accommodations.
If you are eligible for discounts -for example, as a senior citizen or AAA member- be sure the site handles such special discounts.
Don't book with an online agency unless you know its location and contact information.
Don't book direct with a travel supplier without really understanding all your choices and options.