Booking your summer holidays abroad

January 16, 2015

The New Year is a popular time for people to start booking their summer holidays, with many tour operators offering early deals for holidays abroad. Whether you’re looking to book a package holiday or you have decided to do it yourself we have some tips for you to keep in mind.

Booking a package holiday

When you book a package holiday, you are entering into a contract with the tour operator or travel agent you book the holiday with. They are responsible for ensuring that your holiday arrangements run smoothly. This means they should provide you with a written copy of the contract before you travel, containing information such as the cost, destination, duration of the holiday, itineraries of any excursions, and details of the complaints procedure in case anything goes wrong. You should also be given any other relevant information, such as vaccinations you might need to get and any passport/visa requirements.

Doing it yourself 

If you decide to book each part of your trip separately, you won’t have the same protections as you would if you had booked a package holiday, so it’s important to be aware of possible issues that could impact on you. You still have some protections, if your holiday involves a ferry or flight and it’s good to know what your rights are in the event of a delay or cancellation.

When you are researching your accommodation, watch out for potential rental accommodation scams. This is where scammers go online to a genuine holiday website offering places for rent; copy the photos, addresses and other information from various listings and then use this to put up a fake listing of their own. This is a scam to get you to pay the full rental or at least a sizeable security deposit upfront. Always make sure a listing is genuine before you make a booking.

Renting a car 

If you choose to rent a car in a different country make sure to check the website for the company’s terms and conditions. Also, have a look at their “Frequently asked questions” or FAQ section. In general, if you rent a car in a different country and something goes wrong it can sometimes be difficult to get a resolution due to the distance and language barrier. So, it is important to research the company before booking, ensure you have contact details and enough insurance to meet the company’s requirements. Also, at the time of booking you may find that not all charges are included – some may be payable when collecting the car, such as costs for extras, for example, child seats, additional drivers, extra insurance etc.

Shopping around for travel insurance

If you book a package, travel agents and tour operators may sell travel insurance as part of the package but you do not have to take their insurance. You may be able to get better value by buying your travel insurance separately from another provider, particularly if you are travelling more than once in the year. If you have private health insurance, you may be already covered for illness and injury abroad, so check your policy before you buy. Before you purchase travel insurance ask yourself some questions such as, will your private health insurance be enough to cover you abroad. In cases where you booked connecting flights separately, check your insurance covers you if a flight is cancelled or delayed causing you to miss your connecting flight.

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