Avoid holiday rip-offs

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There’s a multitude of holiday deals on offers ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest weekends of the year for bookings and customers are being advised to look out for hidden costs.

Following the scrapping of pre-departure travel tests to England and the further easing of travel restrictions, many holidaymakers will be looking to book their trips but could be overlooking key financial protection.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is urging consumers to make sure bookings are covered by ATOL protection, which is built into the cost of air package holidays, and provides financial safeguards in the unlikely event a travel company stops trading.

Michael Budge, head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “This weekend, typically known as ‘Sunshine Saturday’, is traditionally the busiest time of the year for people booking their holidays, and with travel restrictions easing, many consumers will be taking advantage of bargain deals, but could be missing out on key financial protection.

“If you are booking a package holiday, make sure you check for the ATOL logo to ensure you are protected in the unlikely case that your travel company stops trading.”

Here are some top tips to avoid being ripped off when booking a holiday:

Book an ATOL protected trip and keep your ATOL certificate

If you book an ATOL protected trip, you are entitled to an ATOL certificate that details who and what is protected.

Check what’s included in the package

Be aware that extras under a separate booking such as theme park tickets, travel insurance or seat upgrades are unlikely to be covered under ATOL.

Keep records of everything you pay

Keep details of payments to the travel company, along with any evidence. If you need to make an ATOL claim, this information may be needed.

Can booking details be changed?

Is there any flexibility in the booking? Can parts of the holiday be amended if needed without incurring any extra costs?

Check Covid-19 rules

Research Covid-19 restrictions in your destination to make sure you understand entry requirements, testing costs and social restrictions.

Check baggage rules

Does the package include baggage allowance and be aware of charges for additional items.

Look for other deals

Is it actually a good deal? Look at other providers to check costs against them.

Is the company based in the UK?

Look for where the seller is based. If it’s abroad and the deal is in a foreign currency, make sure to check how much they are charging in pounds before booking to ensure you get a good rate, and double check bank fees for paying in foreign currency.

Check atol.org for more information and which travel providers offer ATOL protection.

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