Consumers are preparing for one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. Many are planning to visit family during the holidays, others take annual trips around this time. Some may feel the need to just escape for a bit, while thrifty travelers take advantage of holiday deals to plan vacations months in advance.

Traveling can be stressful, from planning to staying safe while on vacation. Stress only seems to increase during the holiday season; fortunately, your Better Business Bureau has tips to keep your holiday travels sailing smoothly.

  • Plan ahead for best deals. Give yourself enough time to research flights, hotels and the area you’ll be visiting. Not only does planning cut down on stress, but typically, the earlier you make reservations, the better deals you can find.
  • Watch for scams. Be cautious of calls or letters informing you that you’ve won a vacation, or advertising trips at prices that seem too good to be true. You should also avoid using broad terms when searching the internet. Phrases like “best travel deals” can take you to questionable websites designed to scam consumers.
  • Do your research. If you’re looking for a travel site or agent, ask family and friends for recommendations. You can also check business profiles on to read customer reviews and complaint histories.
  • Get details in writing. You should have the details of your trip in writing before making the final payment. Details should include the total cost, the names of the airline and hotel, restrictions and cancellation fees.

BBB also offers these tips to keep yourself and your belongings safe while you travel:

  • Wait to post. Wait until you return from your trip to post photos from your vacation. You don’t want to let people, and potentially thieves, know when your home is unoccupied.
  • Check your insurance. Check your home insurance to see what your responsibilities will be under your policy. Some won’t cover damage if your home hasn’t been checked on in a certain amount of time. If this is the case, consider asking a trusted friend to visit your house periodically.
  • Avoid traveling alone. Traveling with friends or family is always the safest option, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place.
  • Use hotel safes. When you’re out exploring, use hotel safes to keep your valuable items locked up. You should also keep part of your cash in there; avoid keeping all your cash in one place, in the event some of it gets stolen.

Safe travels and Happy Holidays from your Better Business Bureau!