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2.6. Key advice about consumer protection, privacy, and security in Internet travel planning and purchasing

The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace

from The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World

and The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace

by Edward Hasbrouck


  • Always pay by credit card, even if it costs a few percent extra. Credit card chargeback rights are by far your strongest consumer protection on the Internet.
  • If you don't get what you paid for, question the charge immediately, in writing (not e-mail), with your credit card company.
  • Don't pay your credit card bill for travel purchases until you have your airline tickets in hand, or your trip is complete, unless you have to. If you will have to pay your bill sooner, you have to be much more careful about whom you deal with.
  • Don't do anything private or secure from a public Internet terminal if you can avoid it. Assume that anything you do at a public termninal is monitored. If you have to use a password from a public terminal, change it as soon as you get home.
  • Proofread your itinerary carefully, and read all the terms and conditions, before you click on "buy". Print out the itinerary and terms and conditions, or save them and back them up.
  • Keep complete records of travel purchases until at least six months after the trip is complete and you've settled all the bills.
  • Protect your "cookies", passwords, and electronic signatures. Never allow passwords to be stored as cookies.
  • Learn about the risks of privacy invasion before you start surfing. You can reveal much more about yourself while browsing the Web than you may realize. Once someone gets information about you, it's too late to get it back or limit how they use it.
  • Don't count on the government to protect your privacy. If you want privacy, take steps to protect yourself.
  • Check your Web browser settings. You'll probably need to change them, or install a different browser, if you don't want everything you do on the Web to be tracked and logged, and your computer to be vulnerable to Web-based spying.
  • Check the security of your Internet connection. Consider installing privacy and security software to protect yourself and the data on your computer from Internet snooping and vandalism.
  • Read and evaluate any Web site's privacy policy before you buy anything from them or allow them to set or read cookies. Look closely for loopholes that will allow them to use the information they collect about you in ways you don't want.
  • Don't do business with companies that don't respect your privacy. Tell them why you're taking your business elsewhere; if enough people do, maybe they'll change.

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"Don't believe anything just because you read it on the Internet. Anyone can say anything on the Internet, and they do. The Internet is the most effective medium in history for the rapid global propagation of rumor, myth, and false information." (From The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace, 2001)

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