It is an exciting time to be booking your next holiday. With travel opening to the world again, a great selection of green and amber list countries, and holiday creators with some spectacular and creative new packages, so many consumers are beginning to look into plans, whether for a holiday of the moment or to book ahead in 2022 and 2023. And we’re excited too. As the planning phase comes to a close, and it’s time for you to get to the booking of your next great holiday, it’s important to make sure you know what you need to check before booking your next holiday.
It’s exciting, and all you may want to do is to get to booking immediately, but we highly encourage all consumers to ensure they know how they’re protected, how they need to be protected, what requirements there are, and how to be prepared for your future holiday by ensuring you check before booking.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also encourage making a habit of checking the holiday you want to book is as protected as it can be, and give great tips on how to safeguard your holiday purchase before you book so that your holiday can live out the excitement you’re ready to explore.
Ensuring you have the best protection possible won’t take long, and it will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run in the case that you do run into any issues. It will also help you travel with complete peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared, so here are some of the top things to check before booking your holiday.
Is It a Package Holiday?
An easy thing to check for some incredibly secure protection for your holiday, ensuring your holiday is a package will also inform you on what to do next. For example, if your holiday is a package, then you know you’re protected by the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs). However, if your holiday is not a package, then you are legally protected, but your financial protection is much more limited. If you’d like to learn more about the difference between booking a package holiday and booking individual elements, you can find out more on our blog.
If you aren’t sure how to check if your booking is a package, it’s quite simple. A package is simply a holiday booked under one price and including more than one element such as the following:
- Flights and Transport
- Car Hire
- Tourism Activities (Cooking classes, ski trips, etc.)
There are some other details you may need to check outside of the booking itself, and you can find out more about those on our complete PTR guide, but the number of elements and method of purchase is the key thing you will find. Plus, your travel agent or tour operator must let you know that you are booking a package and provide certain legal documents as specified by the PTRs.
If your chosen holiday is not a package holiday and you decide to book individually instead, then the other forms of protection you can get will be even more important for ensuring your holiday can still be as financially safe as possible.
Is Your Holiday Protected by ATOL?
If you have booked a package holiday (or in some rare cases when you haven’t but didn’t get a plane ticket right away after payment) then another great way you’ll be protected is by the Air Travel Organisers’ License (ATOL).
Specifically, ATOL protects most package holidays that include at least one flight. So, if you’re booking somewhere abroad, this is well worth checking your booking for.
This doesn’t take much checking for in theory, since you just need to check that your booking is a package holiday, but there are some good checks to do as well that will also confirm that the business you’re booking with is legitimate. The ways to check your company is an ATOL holder are simple:
- Look for the ATOL logo on the company website, in a brochure, or in-store (this will include their unique ATOL number).
- Use the ATOL holder search feature on the CAA website to search the business and find out if they hold an ATOL.
Is Your Holiday Protected by Travel Insurance?
Whether you’re booking a package holiday or individual elements, having good travel insurance is going to be a huge benefit to your protection. Be it medical issues, theft, lost property, or cancellation cover, having a travel insurance plan that works for you and your booking will give you great protection from the moment you book to the moment you come home.
It is because of this that we and many in the travel industry alike highly recommend getting travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. More so to that effect, finding the travel insurance you want as you are planning your holiday will allow you the certainty to know that you’re choosing the right plan for your holiday (If you’d like to find out more about the details of finding the right travel insurance for you, you can check out our blog).
Even more so in 2021, finding good travel insurance and ensuring you’re covered as early into booking as possible is going to be a game-changer. Travel insurance provides a lot of essential protection for you and your holiday and is one more great step toward complete peace of mind.
Is Your Holiday Protected by Merchant Services?
Another small but beneficial method of protection is simply to pay for your booking with a credit or debit card. Though the policies from business to business will differ, looking into your bank’s policies will give you an idea of how you can be protected this way.
Plus, if you book with a credit card, you are also protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, meaning if something goes wrong and you pay for something you never receive, it will be more possible to get your money back through your financial provider. This is only a small piece of protection and one we generally recommend as a last resort when it comes to resolving any issues, but it is still valuable, and we recommend reading into the policies on how you’re protected here.
Is Your Holiday Protected by Protected Trust Services (PTS)?
One of the simplest and most secure forms of financial protection for your holiday booking is by far booking with a PTS member. As simple as booking a package holiday, booking with a PTS member just entails checking for that PTS logo and member number on your travel company’s website. You can also call PTS directly at 0207 190 9988 to check your travel business is a PTS member.
For this, you are protected by the PTS independent trust account. Put simply, this means that from the moment you book, to the moment you return home, your money is protected every step and only goes towards paying for your booking. Even when the monies do leave the trust account, such as to pay a supplier, they are protected by Supplier Failure Insurance, so if anything at all goes wrong, all you need to do is get in contact with your PTS member and they can sort out the rest safely and efficiently.
If you want to know where your money is at any point, you can also get in contact with PTS, or your PTS member and we can tell you exactly where it is.
PTS members are also carefully chosen to ensure that they are trustworthy, and awesome, travel businesses that we trust so that you know you can trust them too. Having a travel business, you can trust to take care of any issues big or small is important and will go a long way to helping you enjoy your holiday to its fullest.
Are You Prepared for Possible Problems?
Whichever methods of protection are on offer to you, ensuring that you’re prepared to use them is important. Beyond this, being prepared for a possible problem is going to make things run smoother if you do encounter anything while you’re on holiday.
This will vary per form of protection, and the company you’re dealing with should inform you of the things you will need in the situation that you do need to contact them about something going wrong, but here are a few things to keep in mind and check when booking:
- If you are protected by ATOL, you will need to keep your ATOL certificate with you when you go on holiday. This just means that you’ll need to have access to a copy of it, whether it’s digitally or physically.
- Whatever kind of protection it’s for, be it to contact your PTS member, to contact ATOL, to contact your insurers, or others, having contact information ready when you’re on holiday is important.
- Have access to any other paperwork you may need for proof, such as confirmation emails for bookings, transaction receipts etc.
- Give the necessary contact information to other people you’re travelling with, or friends back home before you travel. This way, if something happens and you’re unable to contact an insurer or PTS member for whatever reason, they can do so for you. Ensuring you’re not the only person prepared will give that little extra security you need to travel with peace of mind.
Whatever kind of holiday you’re booking, and however you do get protection, when you’re booking with a PTS member, we always recommend they are your first point of contact if something does go wrong on holiday. Whatever happens, your PTS member will be able to guide you or get in contact with the correct suppliers to resolve problems for you without a hitch. They are there for you from the moment you book, so don’t be shy to get in contact if you have a question, need a copy of information, have an issue etc.
In the case that you have tried all the options when something goes wrong, and your PTS member can’t help, you can get in contact with PTS directly and our staff will be able to help as long as you’ve gone through all the right avenues first.
And if you’d like to learn more about how you are protected as the consumer by PTS, or how the package travel regulations will protect your next package holiday, don’t forget to check out our pages.