These are not stupid or uneducated people. They are highly educated and in their fields are near the top but they are not travel experts and they are no match for the Scam Artist. Someone once said that anyone who served as their own attorney had a fool for a client. I would say the same to most of you "Do It Yourself" travel people.
I have learned over the years to visit my Doctor when I feel bad physically even though I may have a good idea of what the problem is because I want an expert's opinion; visit my accountant or financial advisor before making a financial decision of any importance not because I don't understand finance but because I want an expert's view of the opportunity or challenge; when I was a pastor and we decided to build a church we hired an architect . . . not because we didn't know what we wanted to build but because we wanted an expert to show us the best way to do it; and also when, as a pastor, Whenever I had an overseas mission I always turned to a Travel Agent to advise and help with the details. In each and every one of these instances except one I had to pay a fee for service. What was the exception, Yep, the Travel Agent.
The best advise I can give you is when it comes to travel is "Use a trusted travel agent or travel
You may be the world's best teacher, lawyer, doctor, brick layer etc. but what you are not is an expert in the travel industry and believe me it is a large and complex industry. I'll take this a step further and say that you are not a match for the Travel Scam Artist who makes his/her living cheating people every day by selling bogus travel opportunities and club memberships.
Now there are plenty in the travel industry that would say that people who choose to go it alone should be left alone. As folks used to say, "They made their bed let them lie in it." They argue and with some merit that these folks who fall prey to one of these scams will just see that as further evidence that all Travel Agents are dishonest. I am sure that is the case with those people who cannot accept their own responsibility for their choices. Travel Agents are not Scam Artists!
However, I hate to be taken advantage of and I hate to see others so deceived by people who purport to be in the same business as myself. These predators give every legitimate Travel Agent a black eye. Granted, they are taking advantage of people who are looking for something for as near nothing as possible but they are also creating a false picture of the travel professional.
Travel Agents seek to save you money and at the same time arrange for you to experience a terrific Vacation and you may even find a Bon voyage gift waiting in your cruise cabin. The Scam Artist has your money and has moved on to his next victim. The Travel Agent is still there anxious to hear about your vacation and start planning your next trip. The Scam Artist hopes he doesn't accidently run into you somewhere else. The Travel Agents wants your business on a continuing basis and hopes to be counted as your friend. A Scam Artists takes as much of your money as they can and leaves you holding a bag filled with useless paper. A Travel Agents will answer your calls, do everything they can to see you have a great vacation and will help you solve any problems that come up with your trip.
Second, if you want to join a travel club a club choose one in your local community that friends recommend. If there is not one then work with a Travel Agent you know and trust to create a Travel Club.
Third, stay way from travel clubs/groups out of town/state companies that hold meetings in hotels and at airports -- especially those offering a great deal if you sign up today. I am not saying they are all scams but I am suggesting the chances of legitimacy are not very high. In this electronic age these people know what you like and buy. They may actually know more about you than you do. This enables them to tailor their scam to make it easier for you to take the bait. Once the bait is taken you'll discover they are experts at setting the hook and reeling in your checkbook and credit cards. If they ask for cash or a Western Union money transfer or worse yet a pre-paid Visa card . . . don't just walk away, run! To quote a Kenny Rogers song, "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away and know when to run."
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true then it's probably a scam. Suppliers cannot stay in business by giving away their product and that includes travel suppliers.
Actually the best advise I can give you is to use a local travel agent or at least one that you know something about. There are a lot of reputable Travel Agencies and Agents and you should be able to find one quiet easily. Texas Cruise and Travel is one.