It’s that time of year when the financial cobwebs of Christmas are being blown away and the pennies are counted and stacked with a view to booking a summer holiday.
Last year, more than any year in the recent past, would-be holiday makers had their plans ruined as firms such as Zoom Airlines, XL Airlines and FlyGlobespan went bust, stranding passengers around the globe and leaving thousands out of pocket.
Consumer protection has always been hard to understand in respect of holidays and many of us take for granted that we are automatically covered.
The fact is if you book a holiday independently of a package you could face a lack of financial protection for the elements of your holiday such as the airline.
Basically that means your rights are determined by how you book your holiday.
Package holidays booked through a travel agent are covered by The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992, which will refund any money you have spent and bring you home if necessary.
Flights only booked through a tour operator are also covered by the Civil Aviation (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) Regulations 1995, (ATOL).
But if you book directly with airlines you are not covered.
The best advice is to use a credit card which will cover you under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 for transactions over £100, but not for repatriation costs.
Before you book find out if your travel arrangements are financially protected if your travel company goes out of business. If not, there are low-cost insurance policies to cover consumers from the usual providers or at www.protectmyholiday.com.