Travel guide

If you are looking forward to getting away, we’ve lots of information to help you avoid any nasty holiday surprises.

Researching your holiday online

  • If you are using a booking website to compare the price of hotels and book your accommodation it is important to know that your contract may be with the hotel and not the booking website. So if you run into difficulties after you book you may need to deal directly with the hotel depending on what your issue is.
  • Look at reviews of the accommodation before you book with these sites as you may not be able to cancel if you change your mind once you have booked.
  • Watch out for potential rental accommodation scams. This is where scammers go to a genuine holiday website offering places for rent; copy the photos, address and other information from various listings and then use this to put up a fake listing. This is a scam to get you to pay the full rental price or a sizeable deposit upfront.
  • When renting from a genuine holiday website always make sure you pay through that site. 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. Even genuine holiday websites can attract scammers so it’s important when you book a rental property that you pay through that site, as they have protections in place.

Booking a package holiday

  • If you book a package holiday, you have specific protections as a consumer that you don’t have 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.
  • The travel agent is responsible for making sure that your holiday runs smoothly. They must provide you with a written copy of the contract before you travel with information such as the cost, destination, duration of the trip, itineraries of any excursions or events and details of the complaints procedure in case anything goes wrong.
  • You do still have some rights if you book yourself and your holiday involves taking a ferry or flight and there is a delay or cancellation. The level of compensation you may be entitled to depends on a number of things, including the length of any delay or the reason for the cancellation.

Getting the right travel insurance

Travel insurance will cover you against losses such as damaged or delayed luggage, cancelled flights, delayed or missed departure, loss or theft of money or passport and illness or injury.

Policy terms and conditions differ between providers, so always check carefully before you buy. If you are not clear about any terms and conditions, contact your provider before you travel, for your own peace of mind.

Check the level of protection each policy offers and ask yourself:

  1. What cover do I already have? If you have private health insurance, you are probably already covered for illness and injury when you are abroad so check your policy before you buy, rather than paying for insurance you may not need.
  2. Do you need additional special cover? You usually need special insurance for non-standard holidays that involve activities such as skiing or diving.
  3. How much excess do you have to pay if you make a claim? This is the first part of any insurance claim that you have to pay yourself. It is usually a fixed sum.
  4. Are there any restrictions or exclusions? Generally, if a clause is not specified, it is not covered – but always check your policy or ask your provider, especially if you are worried about particular risks.

Always, remember to take your travel insurance documents with you when you go away and make sure you know what to do if you need to make a claim. This could include reporting an incident or making sure you get police reports fully translated within a certain amount of time.

Using your cards abroad

  • If you are planning to use your debit or credit card while abroad, make sure you understand the charges before you go, as they can easily add up. If you use your debit card at an ATM or to make a purchase in the Eurozone, you’ll be charged exactly the same as you would at home.
  • However, if you use your debit or credit card outside the Eurozone, you will face additional charges. These include:
    • Non-euro cash withdrawal fee A fee charged when you use your debit or credit card to withdraw money from an ATM in a country outside of the Euro-zone.
    • Non-euro card purchase fee A fee charged when you use your debit or credit card to buy goods or services in a country outside of the Euro-zone.
  • These charges are usually a percentage of the transaction amount, but there is usually a minimum charge per transaction. So, if you use your cards a lot outside the Eurozone, particularly for transactions of a small value, these charges can quickly add up.
  •  Our current account comparison has more details of charges that apply when you use your cards abroad. Remember to check your card before travelling – you can use your ATM card to withdraw cash abroad if your card and the ATM machine has a Maestro, Cirrus, Plus, Visa or Link symbol on it. You can check the transaction fee for your credit card using our credit card comparison.
  • Be aware that in some countries, you may be asked for identification such as a passport when you use your debit or credit card.
  • If you withdraw foreign currency either at an ATM machine or over the counter in a bank abroad, you will have to pay a currency-conversion fee. Don’t forget, you can also get foreign currency in your bank, post office or at the airport.
  • If you use your card in a non-Euro country who are within the EU e.g. the UK, you may be charged a currency conversion fee if you choose to pay in the currency of the card e.g. Euro at the till. Often it can be cheaper to pay in the local currency rather than in Euro e.g. Sterling.
  • If you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, you pay also pay a cash advance fee. To avoid paying cash withdrawal fees you can lodge money to your credit card account. But check first with your credit card provider, as you may still be charged these fees. With some cards, you do not get an interest-free period for cash withdrawals so you pay interest from the moment you take out the money.
  • Let your bank know before you travel. This will this reduce any issues with using your card abroad. You can usually do this through your online banking.
  • Check your statement to ensure that you can account for every transaction. Contact your bank or card issuer if there are any transactions you believe that you didn’t make.

Renting a car abroad

We have lots of information if you plan to rent a car.

  • If you decide to rent a car in a different country make sure to check the rental firm’s website for their terms and conditions.
  • Read the small print and know what the quoted cost includes and doesn’t include. You may find that not all charges are included at the time of booking – such as child seats, additional drivers, extra insurance etc.
  • Make sure you understand the level of insurance cover needed. Think about whether you need any extra cover such as collision damage waiver, theft, loss and personal accident insurance. 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 independently before you go. If you take the ‘standard’ insurance from the car rental company, the excess can be quite high and if the car is damaged (even if it’s not your fault), a considerable amount of money could be taken from your credit card until the car rental company finish carrying out their investigations.
  •  Also, find out what the fuel policy is before you rent.
  • It is also worth taking photos of the inside and outside of the car before you rent it so there can be no arguments about damage when you hand the car back.
  • The rules about returning the car will be in the rental agreement. For example, some rental companies may charge you if you return the car without a full fuel tank or outside office hours. Always ask to have the car checked while you are there by a rep from the car rental company and take photos of the car before you return it as evidence of the car’s condition.
  • Remember that you will need a valid driver’s licence. In addition, while many car rental companies will let you book and pay for your car with a debit card, when you collect the car you may also need to have a credit card – in the driver’s name – to pay a security deposit.

How to complain if you‘re not happy

If something goes wrong, or you want to make a complaint about some part of your holiday, we have information to help you.

  • Find out what your rights are if your flight is cancelled or delayed at Also, find out how to complain about lost luggage.
  • If you book a package holiday, the travel agent or tour operator is responsible for making sure your holiday runs smoothly. You can complain to them if you are not happy with any element of your holiday.
  • If you bought something in another EU country and something goes wrong with it, contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland.


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