If you follow these steps, they will help you book a trouble free holiday. Do try and avoid otbeach holidays (on the beach holidays) as just one example of starting your holiday on the right footing.
Before booking a holiday plan ahead.
If you are visiting EU countries such as Spain, then take out the The EHIC or The European Health Insurance Card : Which is free and can be used to cover any necessary medical treatment due to either an accident or illness within the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
Work out your holiday and travel requirements and make a note of them.
- Do you need a visa to visit the destination?
- Do you have a medical condition that can be exacerbated by excessive heat or cold?
- Will you need a cot for an infant?
- Do you have any other special needs?
- Are there medical requirements for your chosen destination, such as a course of Malaria tablets that you are advised to take prior to departure?
- If the holiday destination is in a trouble spot – is there any guidance from the Foreign Office (FCO)?
Send a copy of your travel documentation to a hotmail or yahoo account, in case you lose the originals when on holiday.
When booking a holiday
Be clear about your requirements. Keep a written record of the holiday details including:
- The date and time you contacted the company.
- The name of the company.
- The platform you viewed the offer on, e.g. web, TV analogue etc.
- The page number or section (if relevant).
- The date and time you viewed and booked the offer.
Any specific details of the advertised offer eg destination, price, departure airport and date, share basis, board basis, accommodation details and any other advertised details.
Never wait to complain about a holiday, flight or airline. It is advisable to lodge protests immediately so they can be addressed there and then if possible.
Protecting your money
Use firms belonging to trade organisations offering financial protection for consumers, such as ABTA, ATOL etc. If you have a credit card, and your holiday costs more than £100, it is worth paying for the holiday using it. Section75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 makes credit card companies ‘equally liable’ for breaches of contract and they may be pursued if the holiday company has ceased trading.
Know your rights
When you book a holiday, you enter into a contract, usually with a tour operator, and the law gives you automatic statutory rights. You are entitled to receive the holiday or flight on exactly the same terms as advertised including photographs.
Supply of Goods &Services Act 1982 (as amended by the Sale &Supply of Goods Act 1994)
Any contract for a holiday or flight should be carried out using ‘reasonable skill and care’ known as ‘your statutory rights’. The travel agent and tour operator should ensure that they carry out the booking correctly, the holiday itself should be of a generally satisfactory standard, and comply with any descriptions.
Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Contracts Regulations 1994.
Contract terms should be clear and unambiguous, fair and reasonable and not weighted against you. It is illegal to have any contract terms which purport to restrict your statutory rights, or avoid responsibility for personal injury or death.
Air Carrier Liability Order 1998
Makes airlines liable for loss or damage to personal property and luggage whilst in the carrier’s care. There are no limits to the carrier’s potential liability for financial losses.
You must be made aware of the name of the tour operator who is organising the flight, along with their ATOL number, both verbally and on the tickets you eventually receive. [Enforced by the Civil Aviation Authority]
Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992
These regulations require that your holiday money is protected by some independent form of security; for example bonding with an independent organisation. It is an offence under these regulations if the accommodation you contracted for is overbooked. Any false or untrue representations or descriptions about the holiday, hotel or facilities made by a representative of the tour operators whilst on holiday will also be covered by these regulations. [Enforced by Trading Standards]
Consumer Protection Act 1987 – Part III
All compulsory charges should be included in the headline price and accurate. Any additional charges should be clearly displayed and quantified when advertised. [Enforced by Trading Standards]
Price Indications (Method of Payment) Regulations 1991
Where a price is given which does not relate to all methods of payment, the advertisement must indicate which methods of payment it relates to and the difference with other stated methods. [Enforced by Trading Standards]
Trade Descriptions Act 1968
Any factual statements made must be truthful and accurate – for example, if you are told that the hotel is a ‘air-conditioned’ it must be. [Enforced by Trading Standards]
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000
Where you buy your holiday via the internet, interactive television, mail order, or telephone, you must be given clear information about the holiday before you buy, and may have a cooling off period of up to seven days in which to cancel in certain circumstances. [Enforced by Trading Standards]