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Spring break travel – here’s what to know and what to watch out for

Stats from the Better Business Bureau show the median loss for consumers who fall for travel and vacation scams is $543.
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Posted at 3:45 PM, Mar 07, 2024

The Transportation Security Administration expects this year’s spring break travel season to be record-breaking.

The agency defines the spring break travel period  from March 7 to March 25, and they expect travel volumes to be 6% above last year.

If you plan on traveling to Mexico,the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico say to travel smart and be informed of nearby crime, unregulated alcohol, and drownings, to name a few of the risks.

“Check out our travel advice on travel.state.gov. There we have unbiased and objective up-to-date travel advice on virtually every country in the world,” said Rena Bitter, the assistant secretary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs with the Department of State.

“Enroll in our smart traveler enrollment program, STEP, which once enrolled, you'll get information on the destination while you're traveling, information on security,” she said.

Travel warnings, scams, and busy travel are all things to be aware of before hitting the roads or the skies.

@scrippsnews Spring break is upon us, and the Transportation Security Administration expects it to be a busy one. Before you book your trip and pack your bags, here are some #scams to watch out for. #SpringBreak #vacation ♬ original sound - Scripps News

Watch out for scams

Before you head on spring break, keep these tips in mind to avoid scams.

Travel scams happen year-round. But right now, scams can be even worse.

The 2023 Risk Report released this week from the Better Business Bureau shows the median loss for consumers who fall for travel and vacation scams is $543.

And while planning a last minute getaway may sound enticing, vacation rental cons, free vacation scams, and third party booking site scams can be common when demand is high. 

So how can you prevent losing your money to scams?

The BBB says look for reviews and ask friends and family for references. Second, avoid wiring money. Pay with a credit card instead, so you have the option to dispute a fraudulent charge.

Finally, do some research on travel companies and vacation rentals before booking.

Before heading to the airport

Before heading to the airport, TSA recommends arriving early, packing smart, and remembering the 3-1-1 rule: Any liquids over 3.4 ounces must be packed in a checked bag.

Don’t forget to have the proper documentation with you.

“More Americans than ever before have passports, which means more Americans can travel overseas,” Bitter said.

“If you're planning to travel, please go check the validity of your passport. Make sure it hasn't expired," she said.

Many destinations require you to have six months validity on your passport to enter or leave. Right now, Bitter says it takes about 6 to 8 weeks to get a new passport when not expedited.

The State Department has more travel tips here.

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