Planning your 2016 holiday abroad?

February 23, 2016

It’s nice to have something to look forward to, especially a holiday! If you’ve started your search for a holiday, whether it’s a package holiday or you’re arranging each part of your holiday separately yourself we have some tips for you to keep in mind:

Booking a package holiday?

When you book a package holiday it is the responsibility of the tour operator or travel agent to ensure that your holiday arrangements run smoothly. When you choose this option you enter into a contract with the tour operator or travel agent you book the holiday with. 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.

Booking each part of your trip separately?

Booking each part of your trip separately can help cut costs but it does involve more time spent researching each part. You also don’t have the same protections as you would if you book a package holiday, so it’s important to be aware of possible issues that could impact on you. For example, if you were travelling for a particular event and it was cancelled, because you booked each part of your trip separately you would have to sort out each stage separately yourself. This may involve paying to reschedule flights or cancelling accommodation. However, 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.

On the look-out for travel insurance?

If you book a package holiday, 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 get better value by buying your travel insurance separately from another provider, particularly if you travel a lot. If you have private health insurance, check your policy to see if you have cover for illness and injury abroad before you buy travel insurance and check that the cover is enough for you while you are abroad. Ask yourself some questions before you commit to buying travel insurance to ensure you get the right cover for your trip.

Watch out for unofficial sites

If you are travelling within the European Economic Area or Switzerland you should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), However, watch out for unofficial third party websites offering European Health Insurance cards, these are imitations of the official website and will charge you additional administration fees.

If you are travelling to the United States you will need an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) travel permit. The administrative fee on the official website:, normally costs you $14, however it may cost you more if you apply through an unofficial third party website.

Do you know about the rental accommodation scam?

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. Try to make sure a listing is genuine before you make a booking. Only use a secure method when paying for the rental property online, such as a credit card or Paypal. When renting through a genuine holiday website make sure you pay through that site (research online if you aren’t sure it is genuine). If the contact for the rental property asks you to email them directly or encourages you to leave the site promising a better deal, don’t do it as this may be a scam.

Thinking of renting a car?

If you are thinking of renting a car while you are abroad make sure to check the website for the company’s terms and conditions and have a read over their “Frequently asked questions” (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 possible 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. Before you book find out what the fuel policy is and make sure it is explained to you clearly beforehand. 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 like child seats, additional drivers, extra insurance etc.

It’s important to know your rights when you travel abroad but it’s also important to enjoy your holiday!

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