Booking your summer holidays

February 9, 2018

If you’re spending the dark winter days dreaming of sun and travels, you may be thinking of booking your summer holidays soon. Whether you’re escaping to the sun or planning a city break, take a look at our tips for planning a stress-free trip:

If you’re booking a package holiday…

If you book a package holiday you have more protection than if you book each part of your trip separately. When you book a package holiday, you are entering into a contract with the travel agent or tour operator and it is up to them to make sure that your holiday runs smoothly.

They should give you a written copy of your contract before you travel, which should include all the details of your holiday, including the cost, destination, length of the holiday, vaccination or visa requirements and details of how to complain if something goes wrong. By law, all package holiday providers in Ireland must make sure that if they go out of business your money and booking are protected.

Or if you want to do it yourself…

You don’t have the same protection if you book each element of your trip separately yourself, so it’s important to be aware of what could go wrong. For example, if you are going abroad for a concert or sporting event and it’s cancelled, because you booked each part of your trip separately you would have to sort out each element yourself. This could mean paying to reschedule flights or losing money if you have to cancel a hotel. However, you still have some rights, for example if your holiday involves a ferry or flight you have rights if there is a delay or cancellation.

When you’re doing your research…

If you use a booking website to compare the price of hotels and book your accommodation it’s important to know that your contract may be with the hotel and not the booking website. So if you run into problems you may need to deal directly with the hotel depending on what your issue is. Look at hotel reviews before you book with these sites, as you may not be able to cancel if you change your mind once you’ve booked.

Watch out for rental accommodation scams. This is where scammers go to a genuine holiday website and put up a fake listing for a place to rent. These scams will try and get you to pay the full rental price or a sizeable deposit upfront. Even genuine holiday websites can attract scammers so it’s important when you rent a property that you pay through the holiday site and not the property owner directly, as the holiday site will have security measures in place.

If you’re renting a car…

Make sure to check the website for the company’s terms and conditions. If you rent a car in a different country and something goes wrong it can be difficult to solve the problem because of the distance and language barriers. So it is important to research the company before booking. Make sure you have enough insurance to meet the company’s requirements. If you are buying insurance through the car rental company find out what level of excess you have to pay. It might work out cheaper to arrange your own cover before you go.

Also, when you are booking all charges might not be included – some may be charged when you collect the car, such as extras like child seats, additional drivers, extra insurance etc. You may also need to have a credit card in order to pay a security deposit when you collect the car.

When you’re thinking about travel insurance…

It’s always a good idea to think about taking out travel insurance. It can cover you against damaged or delayed luggage, cancelled flights etc. If you book a package holiday, the travel agents may try and sell you travel insurance as part of the package but you don’t have to buy it from them. You may get better value by buying your travel insurance separately, or by taking out an annual travel insurance policy if you travel a lot.

If you have private health insurance, check your policy to see if you have cover abroad before you buy travel insurance and check that the cover is enough for you. If you’re going on an activity holiday, like skiing or backpacking, you may need additional cover.

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