Help if something goes wrong on your holiday

June 25, 2019

If something unexpected happens before, during or after your holiday it is good to know who you can turn to for help. Here are some examples of what could go wrong and what you can do next:

“You break your leg two weeks before you are due to fly and have to cancel your trip.”

If you have travel insurance you may be able to make a claim towards some of the cost of your holiday. Even if you don’t have travel insurance, you should contact the hotel and airline directly as they may be able to refund you some or all of the cost of your accommodation and flight or offer alternative arrangements. You should think about taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday rather than taking out cover a few days before you go so you are covered for something unexpected that might happen before you travel.

Top Tip

When buying travel insurance make sure to check the price difference between cover for a single trip and for the entire year as it can be more cost effective to get an annual policy.

You arrive at your accommodation to find a lot of the furniture is in very poor condition and it hasn’t been cleaned properly.”

If you have booked a package holiday report the problem to your local representative immediately, ask for a complaint form and keep copies of any documents you submit. The complaints procedure should be outlined in your contract from the travel agent. They must compensate you if what you get is different to what was promised – for example, no pool at the hotel when one was advertised – but they should be given the chance to fix the problem at no extra cost to you.  If you are not happy with their response you may want to make a further complaint when you get home. This should be done in writing within 28 days. If you are still not satisfied with the outcome and your claim doesn’t exceed €2,000, you can use the Small Claims procedure.

If you didn’t book a package holiday you will need to make a complaint directly to the hotel or whoever you booked your trip through as soon as possible.

Top Tip

To help with your complaint, get as much evidence as possible, for example photos or video footage.

“You return from an afternoon’s swim in your resort to discover your phone, wallet and passport have been stolen.”

Contact the local police as soon as possible. If you have travel insurance you should check your policy as there may be certain steps you have to take to make a claim. In some cases you may need to get a fully translated police report within a certain timeframe. Contact your insurer’s emergency assistance line as soon as possible after the event. Check your terms and conditions especially the exclusions – for example, you may not be covered for loss, damage or theft that happens to items when you leave them unattended.

Top Tip

Bring a hard copy of your travel insurance policy documents with you and highlight your insurer’s emergency assistance line. Get receipts and ask for itemised receipts where possible to send in with your claim.

“After a night out on your holiday, you suffer food poisoning and have to spend a few days in hospital.”

If you are unlucky enough to get sick or have an accident while away then it is important to know what you are covered for by your travel or health insurance policy. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you are entitled to free or reduced-cost state-provided healthcare when visiting other EU countries or Switzerland. However medical costs in some countries can still be very high so it is better to have insurance too. Medical expenses and repatriation are some of the biggest issues people on holidays can face if the worst happens, so it is important to have appropriate cover in place before you go and to make sure you’re fully aware of what is covered and any exclusions that may be in place.

Top Tip

Pack your EHIC as you may be asked for it if you need to go to hospital. If you don’t have it, you could be asked to pay for your treatment.


“After a late night out, you discover you have lost your bank cards.”

If your bank details or debit or credit cards are stolen, contact your bank immediately so they can be cancelled or a hold can be placed on them. You can find emergency contact numbers on their websites or ideally have these written down before you travel.

Learn more about making sure your holiday runs smoothly in our travel guide.

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