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Be safe not sorry when booking travel online

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(NC) With so many travel websites available these days, many people are choosing to book their vacations from the comfort of their own home. Many travel websites are easy to navigate, and offer great vacation packages, so it seems to make sense.

But before you hit “submit”, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Here are a few tips that can make you more aware when booking travel online:

  • Look for the TICO registration number or logo. All Ontario travel agencies and websites must be registered with TICO, the provincial travel regulator that provides consumers with protections if they don’t receive travel services. The registration number or logo is usually found in the About Us or Contact sections of the website.
  • Know where your credit card payment is going. Some websites are only search engines or booking agents for other providers.
  • Review the terms and conditions, particularly those that relate to cancellation, changes to bookings and refunds. Know what the travel agent or tour operator’s responsibilities are.
  • Keep a paper copy of your transactions, correspondence and confirmations.
  • Double check which currency the prices are quoted in. You could be paying in Euros instead of Canadian dollars.
  • Research your destination to find out if there are any travel advisories, which can be found on the Government of Canada website.
  • 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.

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Travel & Escape

48 hours in . . . Bruges, an insider guide to Belgium’s city on water

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Little Bruges, the perfect pocket-sized medieval city, was a Sleeping Beauty. Laced with canals, it was one of the great North European trading ports in late medieval times. The magnificently detailed paintings of its artists, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, record its wealth in clothing, jewellery and ornament. Then it fell rapidly into decline and slept until rediscovered and restored to glory in the 19th century.

Today its new riches are in tourism, carefully managed and constantly refreshed by year-round cultural events, so that it retains the dynamism of a living city. The best way to appreciate all this is to stay a few days, luxuriating in the dreamily romantic boutique hotels, and visiting the rewarding museums and churches at your leisure. Above all, this is a place to walk and wonder, and there are still plenty of quiet corners to discover, where historic Bruges sleeps on.

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Travel & Escape

Europe’s most incredible cosy cabins for watching the Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights are a phenomenon likely to appear on the wish, bucket or to-do list of any intrepid traveller. And what better way to experience them in Europe than by bunking down in cosy cabins, surrounded by miles of forest, still water or the peaks of mountains. They might be pared-back but still boast polished elements, whether it’s a heated hot tub in Sweden, an ‘igloo’ extension in Norway or a glass roof above your bed in Finland. Nothing distracts as the Aurora Borealis flames across the sky – curl up under a blanket and take a look inside. . .

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Travel & Escape

The curious idiosyncrasies of the Icelandic, from elves and nudity to dark jokes and shark meat

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Iceland: the land of fire and ice, home to long winters, pickled foodstuff and perhaps the world’s most confounding alphabet. Considering a trip there? Arm yourself first with five of its more curious cultural quirks…

They believe in elves. Sort of

… at the very least, the ancient mysticism around them remains alive and well. According to an oft-quoted survey conducted by the University of Iceland, nearly 10 per cent of citizens actually believe elves to be real, while more than 80 per cent are on the fence but refuse to deny their existence.

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