Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

January 17, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. offers tips to college students on how to avoid getting ripped off when planning spring break trips. In this month's issue of his Consumer's Edge newsletter, Curran says that students enticed by cheap travel packages advertised in flyers, e-mail or college newspaper ads may not get the vacation they were promised.

Complaints Curran's office has received involve charter flights that were delayed for days, accommodations that were switched to a lesser quality than was promised, overbooked hotels that left students with no place to stay, and promised items such as airport transfers, beach parties and free concerts that were not delivered.

"The best advice is to work with a reputable travel agent or tour company," Curran said. "Check out the company's track record and complaint history before you pay any money for a spring break trip."

Curran said students should make sure to get a detailed, written contract describing what is included in a spring break travel package. The contract should name the hotel, airline and airport that will be used. Students should check to see if the contract allows the tour operator to substitute another hotel. Other items to check include:

  • Is the "beachfront" hotel really on the beach, or a few blocks away?
  • What is included in the meal plan, and are there rules that might make using the plan inconvenient?
  • Is the price the total price, or will you have to pay anything additional upon arrival?
  • If you should need to cancel, what are the rules for a full or partial refund?

Curran's office distributes The Consumer's Edge free to more than 800 businesses, agencies, schools and community associations. Groups interested in receiving a monthly issue should call 410-576-6956.