Online Holiday Packages are a popular way to book your overseas holiday. They offer great value for money and high levels of consumer protection under EU rules.
You’ll have well-defined rights before you book and when you travel, based on an EU standardised form, including pre-contractual information, the organiser’s liability for services included in your package and insolvency protection. This is true of both ready-made and customised packages.
What is a package holiday?
A package holiday is when the organiser (such as a tour operator or travel agent) puts together all the elements of your trip and sells them to you under a single price. This includes flights, accommodation, car hire, and under specific conditions other tourist services.
A common feature of package holidays is that meals and drinks are included in the price. This can make budgeting a lot easier and can save you money in the long run.
If you book a package holiday you will be protected by the Package Travel Regulations and ATOL Scheme (if you are booking any flights). This protection covers you for things such as your flight being cancelled, or your accommodation provider not turning up. You will also be protected if the organiser goes out of business or experiences insolvency. This is not the case when booking independently. You should always take out good quality travel insurance and pay through a credit or debit card to maximise your protection.
The benefits of booking a package holiday
With flights, accommodation and possibly transfers all arranged for you in one bundle, a package holiday can be a cost-effective way to travel. Plus, many ABTA Members offer extras such as an in-resort rep to help you with any problems and provide advice.
The ‘fuss-free’ appeal of package holidays has really come to the fore during the pandemic. They can also be booked with added peace of mind in knowing that you have your tour operator’s financial protection as stipulated by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Regulations.
Holiday package providers often strike deals with airlines and hoteliers to buy flight seats and rooms in bulk, which allows them to pass on savings to their customers. Moreover, with an all-inclusive option you know that all meals and drinks are taken care of, making it easier for you to budget. Having said that, some may find the routine of having to be at a set place for dinner every evening restrictive.
How to book a package holiday
One way to get the best package holiday deals is by booking well in advance. This is especially true if you are planning to travel during high season when prices may be higher. Also, search packages periodically rather than excessively over a short period of time. Finally, it is important to book with a reputable company that offers ABTA or ATOL protection. This will ensure that in the unlikely event of insolvency you will be offered alternative holidays or refunded.
How to cancel a package holiday
Holiday packages are a great way to book your trip with the peace of mind that everything is pre-arranged and included in the one price. However, unforeseen circumstances or changes in personal circumstances can sometimes lead to the need to cancel your holiday. Thankfully, UK law provides important consumer rights and protections for package holiday cancellations.
The company must write to you explaining the change and give you a reasonable timeframe to let them know if you accept the new terms or want to cancel. If you do cancel, they must pay you back any money owed within 14 days.
It may be possible to transfer your package holiday to someone else if you can find someone willing to take it – this should cost less than cancelling and can only be charged a fee equal to what the company will lose out on selling your holiday. Check your company’s terms and conditions for details on this. online Holiday Packages