Financially Protecting Your Holiday

The collapse of Low Cost Holidays is a stark reminder of the importance of making sure your holiday is protected.

1,000s of travellers were left overseas, stranded without any means of getting home, whilst others had to find the cash to pay for their accommodation when checking out, and for those yet to travel, their holiday dreams turned into nightmares.

When booking a package holiday – whether its last-minute or in advance – you should ensure it is protected.

So here’s what to do, and what to look out for, to make sure you are financially protected and helped home should the worst happen when you’re overseas.

ATOL Protected  - When considering a package holiday always check to see if its ATOL protected. Do not be afraid to ask if it’s not clear, however, if it is protected by the ATOL scheme it should be displayed ‘loud and proud’ for all to see.

ATOL protection will ensure customers get a full refund should the tour operator go bust. What’s more, if you’re away and they go bust you’ll be helped home by the Civil Aviation Authority.

If you're holiday is covered by ATOL, don't forget to pack your ATOL certificate.

ABTA Travel Agent  - If you tend to use a  travel agent to book your holiday ensure they are ABTA registered. Again, ask if it’s not obvious.

This ABTA protection will see you get home safely if you are stranded overseas. 

Travel Trust Association - Many travellers like to book their travel plans with independent agents or operators. If this is the case for you, then make sure they are members of the Travel Trust Association. This protection will help you get home should the worst happen when you’re abroad.

There are also some other things to consider when booking your travel that can help safeguard your money:

Credit Cards - Despite the fact you’re usually charged a fee of around 2.5% to use a credit card when making your booking, if your travel provider goes bust credit card companies, such as Visa and MasterCard, will usually reimburse you as your booking is secured through their protection scheme.  If you’re booking your travel arrangements separately – for instance, flights, your hotel and transfers online – it’s well worth considering using your credit card rather than debit card. Be aware though that if one of the companies you have booked with goes bust, you'll still have all the other components in place for your holiday that you may not be able to use, for example, if your airline goes bust, you'll still have the accommodation but won't be able to get there, and will be unlikely to get a refund on your booking.

Do be aware however, that your debit/bank card won’t offer this sort of protection as standard. Check with your bank if you either don’t have a credit card or don’t want to pay the fees.

Travel Insurance – This is hugely important -  do not forget to book your travel insurance. Regardless of the level of cover you might have from ATOL, ABTA or a credit card booking, travel insurance is essential. It covers far more than lost luggage; it covers repatriation and curtailment, and should be booked immediately after booking your travel arrangements. Not to mention covering you for any ill health you might experience when you’re away.