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The top 4 Vacation Scams everyone must Avoid! #vacationtips #travelsafety

4 Vacation Scams Rookies Must Be aware of!

4 Vacation Scams Every One Must Be aware of

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Okay I literally will scream is someone sends me another; click this link for a Free Emirates Flight, Vacation, Cruise etc etc. Bloody scam of the earth!

Excuse my passion, yet aren’t you tired of these soulless people? Ever heard of a FREE Vacation without paying or being part of a Legit promotion? Maybe you won it after you DID SOME WORK?

In today’s post we want to warn you of 4 common vacation scams so you save your cash. Your Smartphone data, and maybe even your personal details too.

Understand that I’m not talking about promotions that travel agencies, travel related companies and cruise lines offer from time to time.

Those are legitimate contests for whatever is on offer. 

And don’t mix these up with Tourist Scams, those are just as bad, yet different. Here is why….

Vacation rip-offs come in a variety of ways and you should steer the heck away from all of these 4 that we share below.


#1. Vacation scams – Timeshare Presentations

Trust me these are a rip-off par excellence. Imagine you are going about your holiday and a holiday/hotel rep approaches you all professional and asks if you have a moment, that it will be so worth your while. He/she will dangle a spa treatment for free, a meal, whatever.

Yep, pure Hard-Core Sales pitch. Who wants this on a vacation? “Give us 2 hours of your vacation and we will give you a free Stay, Cruise, Flight just for letting us tell you about our “Product” e.g. new hotel”. 

I tell you we had a whole half day of our last day in Orlando FL stolen from us! These timeshare presentations should be treated like a communicable contagious disease! Run brother run!

They won’t let you go, unless you tell them NO. And then they will try to wiggle out of giving you the promised freebie because you didn’t sign on the dotted!

Don’t get me wrong, some people are in LOVE and swear by the timeshares that they’ve bought. Yet the majority of people I have met, are miserable about it after one trial to get into their dream hotel and there is a blackout!

Every financial adviser we ever consulted told us not to touch them with a ten-foot barge pole. In fact, one sales man tried to pay us to take one off of his hands. RED FLAG, hello

We just about survived another one when we were in the Dominican Republic at the Dreams La Romana resort! We were out of there so fast the rep didn’t know what hit him…He waited and waited lol as we asked to go grab a call from our daughter scheduled at that very moment! 😊

Don’t be fooled and end up stuck in a 3 hour hard sell and the only thing you will have to show for it is a fake holiday certificate, not worth the paper its written on.

Do you want to be landed with a £500 – 1000/year maintenance fee for a property you never get to use when you Want it, until you find another sucker to take it off you or for life?

Well you get the picture then! 


Most of these are actually viruses so even clicking on it is dangerous. Click to Tweet

#2. Social Media Vacation Scams esp. WhatsApp and Facebook

This is so prevalent with WhatsApp and Messenger. It’s so sad that the owners don’t filter this stuff before it hits people’s phones. Most of these are actually viruses so even clicking on it is dangerous. Simply Delete.

This is how they manifest!

Ever received or seen a post shared by a gullible friend that says,

“click this link to be entered in a Free Flight with XYZ airline”. Or “Share this picture and be entered to win a free cruise?”

Sorry babes, 99% of such messages are scams, the airlines, or holiday company knows nought about them!

There is no free vacation, cruise or hotel stay to be had.  

All they want are your personal details. Or the suckers want to suck you into liking their Facebook Page so they can spam your timeline with ads soonest!

Pro Tips: It’s easy to spot if a page is the official page of an Airline, Holiday or Cruise line. Look for the blue check mark by their name.  The blue check mark means that the page has been verified by Facebook.

Another simple check is to see the number of likes a page has…Most of the Global brands have hundreds of thousands of likes and don’t need to resort to underhand ways to get more likes.

Head straight to the official page of the company supposedly running the promo. These are not hidden if they are running.

Remember, if something sounds too good to be true…

You do these simple common-sense checks and you won’t be scammed by vacation scammers and rip-offs doing the social media rounds.

There is no free vacation, cruise or hotel stay to be had, Gorrit? 

There is no free vacation, cruise or hotel stay to be had, Gorrit? Click to Tweet

#3. Vacation Rip-offs – “Free Vacation or Cruise” Certificates

Okay here is the thing, there are some real genuine free cruises, they are won after global competitions so the cruise company wins either way.

Or maybe you won it via a company competition…That is genuine.

Yet, there are some not so value you’re your effort or money and I wanna talk about those.

When I first heard about these, it was from an elderly neighbour, asking me to check something out. She thought maybe it could be too good to be true.

And it was.

She was targeted as a former cruise traveller and offered a “free cruise certificate”…And she could choose from cruises to the Bahamas, to Antigua, Nordic Cruises on the Silja-line, or Royal Caribbean…

Don’t get me wrong, many companies give out “free cruise” certificates as a way of shifting a specific product or service, usually out of season.

They send you a notice via mail or email to lure you into buying whatever they sell…They are in many travel agencies as well.

Listen up…You will end up paying more for that “Free Cruise” than if you went via their say website and bought your cruise direct. Ever read the small fine print with the T&Cs on your supposed free cruise certificate? Here is what you may end up paying for a supposedly Free Offer…

#1- Port taxes and fees are due since you didn’t buy the cruise.

#2- Booking fee – hello what? I thought it was free? Nada mate! Oh not forgetting staff gratuities smh before you are served lol.   And guess what they can be as high as £200 per passenger in your team.

#3. Shorter Days 3-4 tops – Not as value for your money thus far! So you now have paid the above fees so its not free, now you realise you are out some £5-700…The Price of a lower cabin on same cruise with a lot less hustle. And then they hit you with a…

#4. Proposal for a cabin upgrade as a pushy sales person will show you just how unenticing your cabin will be with your “Free certificate” No views, down the decks, no guaranteed meals… etc.

Did I say I noticed that my neighbour was very limited on when she could take her supposed “free” cruise? She could only redeem her certificate on select cruises.

With more research when we totted up the costs of her free cruise, we found that the price wasn’t that much different from booking a cruise straight through the cruise line. It was over £600…what?  

Imagine, if you live stateside you could be in the Bahamas for as little as £150 in the slower off-peak times! A bit more if you had to fly from Europe or anywhere else further out!

So, having seen the above, esp. if you are a newbie to travel, will you be suckered in by a “Free Cruise” certificate?

I sure hope not for they are not worth it!

Afro-Brit Travelpreneur Confessions


#4. Vacation Scams – Voicemail or Post Mail

So, you noticed that my elderly neighbour was targeted in a “Free Cruise scam” above?

Well poor little lady was targeted regularly by so called Road trip wins across UK and even Europe, usually in the mail. And some via landline voice-mail messages.

That was until we helped her get her phone unlisted from the local authority list! By the way, do that if you don’t want companies cold calling your home for all kinds esp. in UK!

Our neighbour was getting so many letters saying she won a free vacation! Despite her insistence that she did not sign up for them in any way. We told her she must have left a box un-ticked on some email or maybe on her last cruise booking so they could target her and their partners on future promos!

The thing is, being vulnerable, she had called the number on one of the letters, hoping to redeem her free holiday and road trip to Devon!  She thought she could take her grand children on a wee little beach holiday for free bless her!

Fortunately for her, the person who picked up her call was very rude she put her off! She literally demanded for her Address and Visa details…She was like:

If I won this holiday for free why would you need my visa details. And since you posted the letter to my address why do you need it? I gave you my names and the supposed reference on the letter I received! Common sense does win in the end…for some anyway!

I say never ever give out your details esp. bank card details to someone you don’t know ever on the phone!  

If I won this holiday for free why would you need my visa details. Click to Tweet

Here is our pro tip..

Pro Tip: if you ever get something in the mail with a surprise Free vacation, cruise, road trip, hotel stay, flights etc. tear it to pieces and bin it. Good riddance! Stay safe my friends!

Whew! That should help you not fall for these most common vacation scams. Save up and pay for your vacation mate. What else would you add to the list? We’d love to know!

For more tips on Travel Wellness, check out our blog Categories on the side bar!

If you got value on our cyber warning on vacation ripoffs do feel free to Share on Facebook


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Julie Sylvia Kalungi

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14 thoughts on “4 Vacation Scams Rookies Must Be aware of!”

  1. Great post I was wondering if any of this junk was real, and now I know it is just junk. Happy Summer, Kippi

  2. Whenever I get an email with TIMESHARE in the subject, I delete it. When I get a call about TIMESHARE, I hang up immediately!

  3. These all may sound good, but typically these TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE situations are JUST THAT. It’s sad that so many people could be gullible enough to actually believe them!! I would NEVER EVER get sucked into a timeshare or a social media something about a vacation… Even if I go to an expo of some sort and there are those travel booths where people try to get you to put your name down on their info list, NOPE!! RUNNNN!!!

  4. I think I have faced all of that at some time or another. The Time share scam is the one I have experienced the most often. I think it’s why i don’t answer the phone to anyone I don’t recognize any more. I just don’t even think it’s worth it answering. If they need me they will leave a message.

  5. I know a couple of people who have also fallen victim to these scams. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! Pinning and tweeting this.
    Greetings from the Blogger’s Pit Stop!

  6. I once sat through a thing where I was offered some sort of vacation deal where I could get some fantastic deals at 5 star hotels by buying into this company. It wasn’t a time share, it was being sold the ability to use their software which supposedly bought unused rooms to sell to people. If you acquired points, you could get the room cheaper. I got out of it with several packages of Macadamia Nuts and I didn’t even pay the $20 to save my spot. I checked on the company and it was one of those situations where the company kept closing down due to bad reviews and reemerging after being ‘reorganized’. I’ve sat through time shares but refused to get involved when they refused to let me use my prize until I paid some sort of fee.

    1. Hey Nidhi,

      You are not alone so many people don’t know about this and we really just need to get this out there to others so they can avoid being scammed like me

  7. This is a really helpful post. Sometimes we forget that there are these awful people around who scam others like this. It is great to be aware of these scams.

  8. I remember timeshares were a masisve problem when i was much younger but I didn’t know it was still an issue. Thankfully I don’t know anyone whose fallen for one of these but you have to be careful x

  9. I feel your frustration! I hate vacation scams – I love to travel and explore new places and I often fall for the oldest tricks in the book. Your Pro Tips are so useful I’m going to look out for these things in future! :)

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