Consumers are being warned to check holiday deals carefully and do their research before booking to make sure there is financial protection and no hidden costs involved.
With Black Friday sales already starting, airlines and holiday providers will be offering discounted getaways for 2022.
Michael Budge, head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “With many of us looking to book holidays again, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may seem like the perfect opportunity to get your next holiday sorted, but before booking what looks like a bargain, check the details first.
“Always check for ATOL protection, look for hidden costs, book by credit card where possible and take out travel insurance to keep your next holiday financially protected.”
Before booking a holiday it’s important to make sure there’s no hidden costs involved.
A deal that looks promising at first can start ramping up in price without prior research.
When considering a holiday booking make sure to check:
Does it include baggage allowance? How much is additional luggage?
Is it actually a good deal? Check other providers and remember, holiday deals often carry on through the festive period and into January.
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 your bank’s fees for paying in foreign currency.
Is there any flexibility in the booking? Can parts of the holiday be amended if needed without incurring any extra costs?
Research Covid-19 restrictions in your destination to make sure you understand entry requirements, testing costs and social restrictions.
The CAA also urged passengers to check for ATOL protection:
Every travel company that sells package holidays in the UK is required to hold an ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence. The scheme also applies to some flight bookings.
If a travel company with an ATOL ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who have booked package holidays with them, making sure they don’t get stuck abroad or lose money.
Some non-UK travel companies will be advertising their deals over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period, but these may not be ATOL protected. Before booking, you should always check that your travel provider is a legitimate ATOL holder. You can do this on the UK Civil Aviation Authority website.
When you book, your travel company will provide you with an ATOL certificate, which tells you what you are protected against if your travel company ceases trading, and shows exactly which parts of your booking are ATOL protected.
The CAA recommends using a credit card, which allows consumers to benefit from enhanced purchase protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
This means if you pay for your flight or hotel with a credit card and something goes awry, in many cases your credit card issuer should provide you with your money back (as long as the purchase is between £100-£30,000).
Travel insurance can also provide extra protection if your holiday doesn’t go as planned.
It can protect you from a variety of things going wrong on your trip, from cancellations, missed transport, medical emergencies and lost/stolen items. Always check the insurance terms and conditions for full details of cover.
Without travel insurance, consumers are responsible for paying to deal with most issues whilst away or could lose money already paid if they have to cancel their trip.
Travel insurance is widely available online and different types of cover should be considered.