Alix Earle Stranded on Girls Trip in Italy After "Scenic Villa" Turned Out to Be a Rental Scam
Can we be brutally honest for a second? Going somewhere new isn't all enviable Instagrams and delicious food: Traveling comes with its laundry list of stressors. What if your luggage gets lost? Did you pack the right adapter? And, in the case of Alix Earle, what if your rental is a total scam?
The TikTok sensation joined 10 of her friends on a girl's trip to Ibiza and Positano. Problem was that when the group got to Italy, they realized their "scenic villa" didn't exist.
"We're stranded in Italy," the influencer revealed in a recent TikTok. "The house we were supposed to stay at doesn't exist. Our car service canceled. It's midnight. We literally don't know where to go. The girls trip took a turn." Though their accommodation curveball hasn't stopped the group from having fun—Earle has been posting lots of content from the hotel room they were able to book last-minute—a rental scam can seriously put a damper on any trip.
To help keep scams happening from you, it's a good idea to book through a verified, trusted travel platform. Requests to through a third-party platform—like PayPal or Venmo—should raise suspicion. So should too-good-to-be-true rates. "While everybody wants to save, it's a red flag when the rates are too low to be real," says James Thai, managing director of Exotic Voyages, a travel agency in Vietnam. "It's probably just a bait for you to book the accommodation, but there might be hidden charges, or the property has issues."
Will Hatton, founder and CEO of the Broke Backpacker, a budget travel planning site, suggests it's a good idea to scan a listing's reviews—and the reviewers themselves.
"It is actually pretty common for hosts to ask friends, or even pay people to leave positive reviews, making them not necessarily a lie, but not really trustable," he says. "If all reviews are from people who've never reviewed before, this could show that they have taken this strategy and that what you are seeing may not be completely the truth."
If you've looked out for warning signs and you still got scammed, you'll want to contact your booking site ASAP for a refund and recommended next steps. But with any luck, and a little due diligence, your trips will be free of hitches and full of Insta-worthy good times.
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