Vacationing this summer? What experts say you should know

Pattie Lovett-Reid shares tips on how to make your summer vacation go smoothly

As COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up, people may be trying to make up for the loss vacation opportunities they’ve missed during the pandemic. Health and safety experts are sharing their do’s and don’ts for a safe and savvy summer getaway.

Sue Labine with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) says travellers need to be proactive in protecting their money and spotting fraudulent vacation properties.

In 2020, CAFC received 627 reports of rental scams. Of that, 386 people fell victim, for a total dollar loss over 586 thousand dollars.

Labine says fake rental listings may use photos and information stolen from legitimate real estate listings.

“The best thing to do is to complete an online search of the properties address to make sure it's not a duplicate post.”

She tells travellers, an improper online is a warning sign.

“Look for typos for grammar, excessive punctuation in the ad.”

If the deal seems too good to be true, it mostly likely is.

“Research the market value and be wary of the prices that are lower than the average.”

Another red flag, a rushed payment process.

“Especially if they don’t want to meet you in person, they want you to move immediately without seeing the property, '' says Labine. “They’ll ask for rent or security deposit before signing a lease and also there’s no screening process.”

Careful travelling this summer also means protecting yourself from COVID-19 and staying up to date on safety protocols.

University of Waterloo Public Health Professor, Dr. Zahid Butt, encourages people to research the area they are visiting, not just for the region’s attractions, but for its COVID-19 situation.

“Try to get information of what the vaccine coverage is,” says Dr.Butt. “Before you travel to check what restrictions are in place, different provinces have different restrictions.”

Items on your packing list may also need to change. However when it comes to PPE, Dr.Butt says it’s better to pack heavy.

“You should have enough masks so that if you go there and have to wear a mask, you don’t have to go out there and buy them because there may be a shortage in some places.”

Finally, Dr.Butt says the best option for a carefree vacation is to ensure you have received your COVID-19 shot.

“It’s preferable to have two doses of a vaccine. That means you’re fully vaccinated before you plan to travel to a place.”