As the holiday season gets underway, we're sharing our top tips for travelling to help people avoid their dream holiday becoming a nightmare.

Package holidays

  • Most holiday providers don’t provide a refund if you cancel. Take out travel insurance from the day you booked the deal.
  • Tour operators sometimes need to change your holiday before you go. If the change is significant, you don’t have to accept and can ask for a full refund.
  • All flights, transfers and accommodation should be as described. If your beach hotel is in the middle of town, complain straight away to a rep. If no alternative is offered, use the tour operator’s complaints procedure to see if you’re entitled to compensation. 

Flights

  • If you booked a flight that departed from the EU, or arrived in the EU on a European airline, you may be able to claim compensation if your flight is delayed. What you’re entitled to depends on the length of the delay, length of the flight and the reason for the delay.
  • Wherever you’re flying, if your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a replacement flight or a refund.
  • If your checked-in luggage is delayed, lost or damaged you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. You can claim compensation straight from the airline but they usually offer less financial compensation.

Travel insurance

  • Cheap travel insurance can keep your initial costs down but often has high excess charges if you need to claim. Compare the full range of costs.
  • Make sure your travel insurance covers everything you want to do on holiday. Some policies exclude activities such as watersports or trekking.
  • Some policies won’t pay out in certain circumstances - like having an accident while under the influence of alcohol. Read the small print before you buy.

If your travel company or airline goes bust

  • If your holiday company or airline goes bust but is a member of the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) then you should be able to get a refund if you haven’t travelled, or be able to finish your holiday without extra costs if you are already there.
  • There are limited options if it isn’t covered by ATOL but you could try getting money back from your credit or debit company if you paid by card and you’re not offered an alternative option. Or you could see if you’re covered by your travel insurance.

If something has gone wrong with your holiday, you can find out how to claim compensation or contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.