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Avoid Vacation Ripoffs With Travel Tips From Ontario Government


At the peak of the winter vacation season, the Ontario government is helping consumers avoid being taken for a ride by providing important information and timely travel advice, said Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips today.

“Vacations should be lifelong memories in the making, not headaches and disappointment,” said Phillips. "Being a smart consumer and asking the right
questions can make all the difference between relaxation and regret"

Ontarians spend more than $7 billion on services with registered travel agents each year. These easy-to-follow tips can help consumers avoid a wide range of problems:

1. Shop smart: Book with a registered Ontario travel agent. Travel agents and wholesalers in Ontario must be registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) and follow strict rules.

2. Be prepared: Always verify the travel documents you will need, take only what’s necessary and keep them safe. Travellers flying into the United States now need a valid passport.

3. Protect your identity: Make two copies of all travel and identity documents in case they are lost or stolen. Take one with you and leave one in a secure location at home. Remember to destroy the copies when you return home.

4. Be aware: Make sure you understand what’s being offered. Take into account prices as well as the terms and conditions of your reservation, including refund policies and any penalties. Some travel agents charge a non-refundable travel-counselling fee. Find out if your travel agent does.

5. Get it in writing: Before you buy, always get a written confirmation with all the details of your trip.

6. Take precautions: Always consider buying cancellation and out-of-province health insurance. Ask your registered travel agent for details.

7. Avoid ripoffs: If travelling by car, have it tuned up before you go. If your car needs repairs, get a written estimate before you authorize the work to be done. If you’re renting a car, check the details of the rental agreement before you sign a contract.

8. Timeshare beware: Be careful of timeshare offers -if the deal is “good today only,” walk away.

9. Emergency know-how: Keep on hand the telephone numbers for police, medical services and embassies or consulates in areas you’re going to be visiting.

10. Vacationing at home: Check out Ontario Tourism at for great ideas on stay-at-home vacations.

Consumers can check if a travel agency is registered and learn more about making smart travel decisions by calling TICO or visiting its website. The council helps consumers resolve problems with registered travel agencies and wholesalers on behalf of the government.

“Consumers making holiday arrangements have a choice,” said TICO President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Pepper. “They can book through a registered travel agent who must comply with consumer protection provisions or take their chances with someone else.”

For more information about consumer rights, call the ministry at 416-326-8800 in Toronto, or toll free at 1-800-889-9768 and visit the website at For information on the Travel Industry Council of Ontario call 1-888-451-TICO or visit the website at


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