Friday, March 1, 2024

March Break: Planning Your Vacation Online

Planning and purchasing your next vacation online has been a very popular trend over the past few years.  Websites like Groupon,, and have made it much easier for people to plan last-minute getaways, while getting the biggest bang for the buck.

Along with the fabulous price cuts, comes safety.  There are predators seeking to phish your personal information; and while security and encryption has tightened up, there are several tips that you should keep in mind when booking your next getaway.

1) Look for signs of the website’s security.

Web browsers have made it much easier for you to look out for signs of secure browsing when you are surfing the web.  There are several levels of security to keep in mind when you are surfing online – In your address bar, notice the difference between “http://”, and “httpS://”.  When you see the “s” or a small lock in the URL bar, the information you are sending is sent securely and “encrypted.”  Encrypted means that the information sent is illegible, and can only be read (or “decrypted”) by the party that you intended for in the first place.  Browsing without encryption means that the savviest of criminals can record everything that you send, including your personal and credit card information.

2) Use your credit card instead of debit.

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Credit cards typically provide more protection from identity theft that debit cards don’t.  Many credit cards from the main national banks offer a credit card with travel rewards and insurance – similar to the ones that reward you with annual cash back.  That means if you pay with the travel credit card, you are covered to a set amount by the credit company – most debit cards don’t offer that protection.   As always, it is best to check with the credit card company to see what is and isn’t covered specifically when you are travelling abroad.

3) Find out what other vacationers have said.

You can find many excellent websites online with user reviews from other – nice and potentially brutally honest – vacationers.  Past visitors are typically up front with opinions; both opinions good and bad.  Microsoft has said that “sites like or BizRate have customer evaluations which can help you determine a company’s legitimacy.”, for example, is a great way to get unbiased reviews from everyday consumers.

Shopping online for your vacation gives you a wide-selection, as well as deal-worthy rates.  If you take the time to make sure you’re booking securely with the tips above in mind, you’ll be able to travel more worry-free and relaxed.

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Winston Sih
Winston Sih
Winston is currently a freelance technology and travel broadcast journalist, consultant, and is the creator and founder of Master Travellr—Canada’s destination for travel news, guides, and budget recommendations.


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