What should you think about when booking a holiday?
What should you think about when booking a holiday?
4th April 2020
When you a book holiday it's important to think about the kind of protection you'll have if anything goes wrong.
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These are Essential Travel.co.uk's top Protect Your Holiday tips - our guide to booking with confidence - and keeping you and your holiday safe
Booking through a tour operator or travel agent
Check if your booking is protected by a holiday protection scheme. Your booking is more secure if it’s covered by a protection scheme. The main schemes are the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and Air Travel Organisers’ licensing (ATOL) – there are others like The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO). Before booking any holiday, check that your tour operator or travel agent is signed up to one of these schemes.
Always check that your booking is covered as sometimes travel agents who are ABTA members may make bookings with non-ABTA tour operators.
You can ask the trader for their ATOL or ABTA number and check on the relevant schemes’ website.
Make it clear what’s important to your holiday
When you’re booking your holiday let the travel agent or trader know of any special requirements you have and if possible get them to added in writing to your booking form. Tell them what’s important to you and why you’ve chosen the holiday.
For example if a sea view is important stress this and get it in writing. If things go wrong and you don’t get your sea view your case for compensation will be much stronger if you’ve made it clear how important it was to you.
Pay the deposit by credit card
If it’s possible it’s a good idea to pay the deposit for your holiday by credit card this is especially important if you’re an independent traveller. If your holiday costs more than £100 and not more than £30,000 and you pay using a credit card – even if its only the deposit – then your card company will be jointly responsible if your holiday contract is breached.
This means you maybe able to make a claim against the card company if things go wrong. For example if your airline collapses and you’re not protected by the ATOL scheme or package holiday regulations you can make a claim against your card company, but always check your terms and conditions as these can change.
MOST IMPORTANT PART IN BOOKING A HOLIDAY make sure you have adequate insurance
Buy your travel insurance as soon as you book
Travel insurance can give you extra protection if your holiday doesn't go as planned and you should make sure you have cover if you're planning a holiday. Without insurance medical emergencies abroad can end up costing you thousands of pounds and no way of getting home. So you need to make sure the policy you buy gives you the right level of medical insurance for your trip. It's particularly important to have travel insurance if you’re travelling independently because you may find yourself stranded with no way to get home and no-one to help sort out your holiday problem.
• travel insurance is essential on all holidays, particularly if you are travelling independently
• choose a policy that covers all your needs most important medical cancellation repatriation
• compare policies on the cover they offer as well as the cost and cover for full costs of holiday
• check if you have other insurance that will cover you while away from home
Why take out travel insurance?
Travel insurance can protect you against the following things going wrong:
• cancelling or cutting short your trip for reasons beyond your control
• missed transport or delayed departure for reasons beyond your control
• medical and other emergencies
• personal injury and death
• lost, stolen or damaged items, including baggage, passports and money
• accidental damage or injury caused by you.
If you don't have travel insurance you will have to pay out of your own pocket to deal with a problem while you're away. Or you may lose money if you have to cancel a trip and can't get your money back. This could cost you thousands of pounds.
If an insurer or broker can’t offer you insurance because of your age, most of them will refer you to an alternative insurer or give details of a signposting service such as the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s (BIBA’s)
You can use this service to find specialist insurers who can offer specific types of cover based on factors such as age and medical condition.
Travel insurance is widely available. You can buy it from:
• insurance companies
• retailers and supermarkets
• travel agents
• online comparison websites
• Holiday companies.
Sometimes, travel insurance might be included as an extra service offered through your bank account or credit card. You should check how much you're paying for this and what kind of cover it offers. For example, cover may be limited for your spouse or partner. It might be better to buy a stand alone policy.
Your travel agent may offer you travel insurance as part of a package holiday.
You can opt for this if you want to but you don't have to buy this insurance.
Before you buy holiday insurance
It's important to get the right type of cover for your needs. Think about:
• where you're travelling to. For example, if you're travelling to the United States you will need extra medical cover
• how old you are. Travel insurance can cost more if you're over 65. There are special policies for older travellers which may be worth looking at
• how often you travel. If you go away several times a year, it may be better to buy an annual travel policy rather than several single-trip policies
• what you'll be doing while you're away. You may need extra cover if you're taking part in dangerous sports, such as skiing or scuba diving
• whether you're travelling independently or on a package holiday. Package holidays usually offer you greater protection if things go wrong with transport or accommodation so you may not need to make a claim on your travel insurance
• Depending how you're travelling. Cruises and budget airline flights may not be covered by some insurance policies.
What cover should travel insurance include?
Your travel insurance should always include the following cover:
• medical expenses and cover for getting you home if you're injured or fall ill abroad
• personal injury and cover for accidents or damage caused by you
• cover for lost or damaged items
• cover for lost or delayed baggage
• cover for cancellation or missed departure.
How much you pay for your insurance depends on the amount of cover you're likely to need. You should never under-insure yourself just to save money.
Other useful information
• Travel insurance for families with disabled and seriously ill children or young people through the Family Fund at www.familyfund.org.uk
For many years through my work, I have been lucky enough to travel to many wonderful places. There are many more still to visit, my life is a book of memories from riding elephants on the beach in Sri...