How To Spot Legit Agencies Amid Scams

Never let slippery offers damage your travel budget or to rob your precious vacation time because of scams. There are many types of tour packages posted online and you need a plan for each one. Then, make wise choices. 

While we're trying to get the cheapest tour packages being offered on Facebook or to other social media platforms, we must be mindful of many factors including travel tips and precautions to consider.

Let me help you save money on your next trip by pointing out signs of possible travel scams online. Unfortunately, the internet provides growth opportunities for illegal and unethical activities.


TIPS IN CHOOSING A TOUR AND TRAVEL AGENCY
  • Make sure the tour and travel agency is legitimate. Checking the legitimacy of the travel agency should be the first thing you need to do. Scammers are all over the internet. Remember that. You need to be careful in choosing a travel agency. If you're transacting through Facebook or to any social media platform, ask for a copy of their DOT accreditation certificates and other business permits. It means they're not legit if they can't provide all of it.
  • Check the tour and travel agency's affiliations. A certain travel agency can be trusted if they are affiliated to hotels, airlines and other distinguished companies. Remember, companies doesn't want to ruin their reputation by working with scammers.
  • Check their website and social media accounts. The tour and travel agency's website provides a good impression about the company. Their website should look professional. Check out the history of the company including notices, announcements and disclosures. The number of followers on their social media accounts is another factor to consider. If they're being followed by thousands of people, then the company might have done something amazing. 
  • Look for feedback online. Most tour and travel agencies has Facebook Pages. Take time checking their pages. Do they have a 5-star rating? If this option isn't available, ask the travel groups like DIY Philippines, Byaheng Budgetarian, Always On The Road, Climber among others. Customers would most likely leave a feedback regarding their trip and about the service of the travel agency. I've read several posts on Facebook regarding a travel agency deleting negative comments and feedback about their service. Check that out too.
  • Look at their process in dealing with customers. Do they have good customer service? Do you find it smooth and easy when dealing with them? Are you asking a lot of questions and processes regarding the tour they're offering? Remember: an efficient travel agency won't ask too much because everything you need is all there. They should be able to provide you the travel requirements, mode of payments, contracts and many other concerns.
  • The tour and travel agency should be available 24/7. This is very important folks. The tour and travel agency should be contacted in case you might encounter some issues while on travel. Your travel agency can address your needs all the time.
  • Go over their rates. How much are they charging you? What are the inclusions in your package? Is it worth the price? Ask for a quotation then compare the rates from one travel agency to another. Doing this allows you to save money. Please be vigilant when it comes to hidden charges. Ask them to provide you a contract if necessary.

Last year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) urged the public to only transact with travel agencies that are accredited by the agency. The announcement was made following the complaints of scammed 60 Philippine Airlines passengers bound for Japan. DOT through the local government can revoke the business permit of the violating company and can shut down the operations of erring travel agencies.


HOW TOUR AND TRAVEL AGENCIES
ARE BEING ACCREDITED IN THE PHILIPPINES

Based on the DOT Memorandum Circular No. 2015-06, the tour and travel agencies are expected to submit a valid Mayor's/Business Permit and a proof of working capital amounting to Php 500,000 including an original copy of bank certification with cheque writer. 

For the General Manager, he/she should be able to provide documents proving a minimum of three years managerial experience in travel and tour agency operations or a proof of passing a Travel and Tour Agency Management Course or its equivalent. The tour and travel agency is also required to submit a notarized list of names of all officials and employees with office designations and nationalities.

For renewing tour and travel agency, the company is required to provide a valid Mayor's/Business Permit and an audited financial statements reflecting a minimum Php 500,000 working capital.

SIGNS OF A POSSIBLE TRAVEL SCAM
  • Advance payment without a written contract. Usually, advance payment is required before the trip. However, you are entitled to a written contract stating you made a payment whether it's a deposit or payment in full.
  • Frequent use of words such as 'complimentary' and 'free'. Remember that very few people offer complimentary items without strings attached. 
  • Hints of Split Pricing. Reputable travel agencies will offer tours that says "from" or "starting at" a certain price. Also, they provide you the available upgrades. 
  • Offers to make you a travel agent.
  • A price far below the market value.
  • Hotel Names, Airlines and other vendors not disclosed in writing
  • Different names for travel provider and sellers
  • Offering a "Limited Time Only".
  • Transactions that can only be done through phone
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT





Travel Guide to Masasa Beach

Undeniably, Masasa Beach is one of the most popular destinations in Batangas because of its clear water, beautiful rock formations and breathtaking views. The mountains sorrounding it is just so beautiful.

Yes, Masasa Beach is Instagram-worthy!


HOW TO GET TO MASASA BEACH

To get here from Manila, ride a bus from Alabang South Station to Grand Terminal Batangas. Bus fare is around Php 128 per person and the travel time is around 4 to 5 hours. Once you reached the Grand Terminal Batangas, ride a jeep heading to Anilao. Fare is around Php 37 per person. 

From Anilao, ride a boat to Tingloy. Fare is around Php 80. From Tingloy Port, ride a tricycle to Masasa Beach. Fare is around Php 15 per person.

TRAVEL BUDGET 
TOTAL FARE: Php 260
Php 520 - back & fort

TOP THINGS TO DO IN MASASA BEACH
  • Snorkeling
  • Island Hopping
  • Beach Walking
  • Camping
  • Trekking
  • Swimming (of course!)
TIPS & THINGS TO REMEMBER
  • Transient houses are all over the area
  • Transient rental starts at Php 300 to 350
  • Into camping? bring your own tent
  • Entrance/environmental fee: Php 30 per person
  • There's no electricity there from 12 AM to 12 PM
  • Bring your flashlights
  • Bring mosquito-repellent lotion, sun screen 
  • Also, bring your power banks
  • Island hopping costs Php 100 per person
  • Bring a lot of food and bottled mineral water
TRAVEL PHOTOS








IN CASE YOU MISSED IT


Travel Guide to Immuki Island

YOU CAN BE NAUGHTY HERE

Philippines, here's another tourist destination you should visit.

Immuki Island, located in Paraoir, Balaoan, La Union, is the newest tourist destination in the North. The island offers beautiful rock formations and a natural pool, offering emerald crystal clear water. Such a perfect spot to swim! 

According to the locals, Immuki Island was popularly known as Kaparingitan. Immuki is a local term which was derived from the sea creatures called sea slugs that can thrive on the dead corals or paringit in Pangasinense. Sea slugs are locally known as Babao or Bao which refers to the female genital or in Iluko, Uki. The island's main lagoon is like a shape of a female genital. Since then, Immuki has been associated with the island.


Wait, there's more! You can be naughty here. Hahaha.☺ Aside from Immuki, locals also named the other lagoons in the island as Bimmuto, a local term referring to the male genital; and Immubet, a local term for the anus. Told you, you can be naughty here in La Union.


HOW TO GET TO IMMUKI ISLAND

To get here from Manila, ride a bus bound to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur; Bangued, Abra or to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. Then, ask the driver to drop you off at Bacnotac Public Market. Bus fare is around Php 541 and the travel time is approximately 4 to 5 hours.

From Bacnotan Public Market, ride a jeep heading to Luna. Inform the driver to drop you off at Paraoir Barangay Hall. Fare is around Php 20. Register at the Barangay Hall then walk along the narrow path leading you to Immuki Island.


TRAVEL TIPS & THINGS TO REMEMBER
  • Immuki Island is open to public from 6 AM to 6 PM daily
  • Please be reminded that there are no resorts and hostels within the area
  • Visiting Immuki Island is absolutely FREE!
  • Jeepneys and tricycles seldom ply in the area at around 5 PM
  • It is highly recommended to hire a personal tricycle driver from Bacnotan Public Market beforehand so he can drop and fetch you on the island
  • Amateur and professional photo shoots here are for free
  • Bamboo rafting is one of the most popular activities here
  • You can hire a bamboo raft from the locals for only Php 20
  • Wearing beach sandals is highly recommended due to dead corals and rocks
  • Bringing food and drinks in the island is allowed 
  • However, please leave no trace
  • Aside from Immuki Island, you can also visit the Balai Nga Bato, Baluarte, Peeble Beach, Tangadan Falls and Kapandanan Falls
TRICYCLE SERVICE & TOUR GUIDE

MARC NARCIDA; 0927 422 7054

If you're staying longer in La Union, you may contact Marc Narcida. He was our tricycle driver when we visited the Tangadan Falls and the Macho Temple in San Fernando. He's very friendly, punctual and fun to be with. Swear!

TRAVEL PHOTOS





IN CASE YOU MISSED IT


Useful Websites for Travelers According to Travbuddies

The world has millions of people with full of adventurous souls, traveling, exploring and discovering new and exciting things to do to certain places. And, many of these souls are doing it solo because it is rewarding and the experience alone is very much fulfilling.

Most of the time, I rely to blogs online when planning my travel itineraries especially if I'm traveling alone. I prefer wasting my time enjoying a certain destination instead of being trapped to an issue which I failed to research prior to my flight. 

I'm glad that Travbuddy, a travel community, allowed a forum on the useful websites for travelers. Travbuddies (members of this community are being called Travbuddies) can share their insights to a certain forum, helping fellow travelers around the world. The forum on the useful websites for travelers was started in September 2009 and it was closed to new replies on April 2017. The forum received 524 insights from world travelers.

Here are the useful websites for travelers according to Travbuddies. In case your favorite website isn't on the list, don't feel mad. Message me so we can update our list including your favorite, most useful website.


FOR GENERAL INFO ABOUT DESTINATIONS
FOR VOLUNTEERING, LIGHT & SOLO BACKPACKING
FOR CURRENCY CONVERSION
FOR THE WEATHER, CLIMATE, DATE & TIME AROUND THE WORLD
FOR DUBAI AND THE REST OF MIDDLE EAST
FOR ATTIRE ETIQUETTE
FOR LODGING, APARTMENT, HOSTELS & HOTEL ACCOMMODATION
FOR BID ON PRICELINE AND HOTWIRE
FOR TRAVEL FORUMS AND MEETING TRAVEL BUDDIES
FOR PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS
FOR AIRLINES AND AIRPORT REVIEWS
FOR LEARNING FREE LANGUANGE
FOR CHEAP FLIGHTS
FOR ALTITUDE, ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE UPDATES
FOR ELECTRIC POWER AROUND THE WORLD
FOR TRACKING YOUR LUGGAGE
FOR RESEARCH AND REPORTING BED BUGS
FOR FOOD AND LOCAL CUISINE
FOR FAMILY TRAVEL AND VACATION
FOR TRAVEL INSPIRATION & PHOTOGRAPHY
FOR JOBS WHILE ON TRAVEL
FOR TRIP PLANNING & ITINERARIES
FOR CHEAP FLAG PATCHES, COUNTRY PATCHES & FLAG BADGES
FOR AIRCRAFT SEAT MAPS
FOR MAPS, GPS AND NAVIGATION
FOR CAR RENTALS, RAILWAYS AND TRANSPORTATION
FOR CRUISE AND RELATED TOPICS
FOR TOURS AND ADVENTURES ACROSS EUROPE
FOR SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES
FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE
FOR MONEY-SAVING AND TRAVEL CASH TIPS
FOR MILEAGE RUN AND REWARDS PROGRAM

TRENDING POST

How To Score Free Accommodation When You Travel?

Imagine this: The world has millions of people with full of adventurous souls, traveling, exploring and discovering new and exciting things...

MOST POPULAR POSTS