As we learned from the Low Cost Holidays tragedy, booking a holiday is not always as straightforward as simply looking for the cheapest deal. Often, the cheapest options (or at least with deals that seem too cheap to be true) are not the most protected options.
To help you put your mind at rest, here are our top tips for getting the best value holiday that is as protected and safe as possible!
1) If you can, book your holiday (or even just the deposit for the holiday) on your credit card. This is a very technical bit of info that the Money Advice Service will give you more info on here, but essentially, even if you don’t follow any of our other tips, this is one way to keep your holiday booking, or at least the money spent on it, as secure as possible.
2) Book direct with the supplier wherever you can. Sites like Trivago where the search engine helps you find the cheapest deals are designed only to do that. They will not necessarily offer you reputable companies and you are essentially relying on the person you booked with to do what they said and book what you actually want. If you think that sounds confusing, think how easily your booking might get forgotten about, leaving you in the lurch. If you book with a hotel, airline, or tour company directly, you might pay a small amount more, but you will never need to go through the middle man to check everything is secure.
3) If you do choose to book through a third party, make sure that they are reputable. This means checking if they are ABTA (the association of British travel agents) and ATOL protected, as well as ideally being based in the UK. In short, if they then go bust, you should either get your money back from the UK government or through the ATOL protection scheme if your trip is one that should receive protection through this.
4) Take out travel insurance. As well as that, make sure it provides decent cover and is suitable for your trip. If you have medical conditions, make sure you declare them even if they seem insignificant to you as this could invalidate your whole policy. If you have a suitable policy and you fall ill, this is the way to claw some money back. This also applies to European holidays where you might think that your wonderful EHIC will save your bacon but it won’t do anything to get you repatriated back to the UK or help get your money back if you fall ill before you go abroad and need to cancel.
5) If you decide to risk it with a cheap company, send emails directly to the places that you think have been booked for you to get confirmation that the hotel, airline or even car parking group is aware of your booking. It might be that you have all the documents in the world from your travel agent but that might mean nothing when you arrive at the hotel and they have no record of your booking. If you can show them an email from themselves acknowledging you are booked with them, this should help you a great deal with any complications.
Enjoy your holidays, book wisely and let us know any tips you think we could add to our list!
Categories: Travel Tips