How to Financially Protect Your Holiday

Your summer holiday will probably be one of the most expensive things you’ll purchase this year so you need to make sure that it’s financially protected.

Whether you book your travel via a travel agent or directly, here are a few simple, easy steps to help you protect you and your holiday:

  1. Travel Insurance
    Don’t be fooled into thinking that the purchase of travel insurance should be left until the last minute. It’s essential that you book your travel insurance the moment you book your travel. This means you will be protected against any problems before travel, such as, in the event your holiday company goes bust, illness that means you can’t travel, or weather-related issues.

    Travel insurance isn’t just about protecting your luggage; it’s about far more than that. It provides:
    • Financial security should something happen to your booking before you travel
    • Cover for scheduled airline failure – if it is included in the policy
    • Cancellation & curtailment will protect you should your carrier or operator go bust before your travel
    • Assistance to get you home if you are stranded.
    However, there are many policies to choose from, so do be sure to take out a policy that will suitably cover your needs - not all policies will cover the above requirements. Needless to say, the cheaper polices will provide less cover.
  2. Credit Card Bookings
    If you have a credit card, then think seriously about using it to book your travel, irrespective of whether you’re booking with a tour operator, an airline or directly.

    Credit cards, such as MasterCard and Visa, will protect your cash should the company you have booked your travel through go bust. Do note that most tour operators will apply a small fee to use your credit card - around 2.5% of the total cost of your booking. However, this is arguably a small price to pay for financial security.

    Beware, bank debit cards don’t offer the same protection, usually only a £100 refund is offered through certain banks.
  3. ATOL Protection
    When booking with a tour operator, ensure they are protected by ATOL. The ATOL scheme ensures passengers are fully protected should the worst happen. For example, if the travel company goes into administration before you travel you will get a full refund on your booking. If the company fails while you’re away, your ATOL protection will ensure you won’t be stranded abroad.

    The tour operator’s ATOL membership number should be displayed ‘loud and proud’ on all communication, brochures and website pages. If it is not clearly displayed then ask for details before you book. You can also check an ATOL number or company here.
  4. ABTA Travel Agents 
    ABTA is another travel organisation that offers financial protection should you book through a travel agent. First, before even considering booking, ensure that your travel agent is registered with ABTA. The ABTA scheme will give you financial security should any problems arise, both before and during, your travel.
  5. Travel Trust Association
    A number of independent tour operators and travel agents are members of the Travel Trust Association. Members of this organisation offer financial protection for its customers.
  6. Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)
    AITO offers financial assistance if a travel company member goes into administration.