How do I protect my holiday?


A local expert from Citizen’s Advice provides timely tips on consumer issues

Q: ‘We’re booking a summer holiday to Spain… What can we do to protect ourselves and prepare for the unexpected?’

A: There’s a lot you can do in advance to help your holiday go smoothly, including getting travel insurance and brushing up on your rights if something should go wrong.

The first thing to do when planning a holiday is to check if your passport is in date.
Renewals can take several weeks, so don’t leave this until the last minute! You can check the validity of your passport for your country of choice on – and this is especially important if you’re flying to Europe.
EU countries no longer accept passports that are more than ten years old – if your passport was issued pre-Brexit then the expiry date might well be more than ten years from the issue date. If it’s older than ten years, you’ll need to get it renewed for EU travel – even if it’s technically still in date.

Flight delays and cancellations could happen to any of us, so it’s worth knowing what your rights are if this happens. If your flight is delayed long enough, your airline has to give you access to food and drink vouchers, phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight. If your flight is cancelled, you have a legal right to a full refund or replacement flight to help you get to your destination. You also have a right to compensation if your airline delays, loses or damages your checked-in luggage. You can find out more about this on the Citizens Advice website here.
You might also be entitled to compensation for things beyond your basic flights, like a day trip getting cancelled, or if you paid for a deluxe room but only got a standard one. Although this will depend on whether you booked a package holiday, made ‘linked travel arrangements’ or organised the holiday yourself as an independent traveller, it’s always worth checking.

Finally, travel insurance will not only cover many of the things already mentioned, like flight delays and lost luggage, but also things like a holiday cancellation and medical emergencies. You should get insurance as soon as you book a holiday to make sure you’re covered from the beginning – but check first to see if you’re covered through an existing insurance policy. Many bank accounts have travel insurance included, for example. With luck, you won’t face any problems while on holiday, but if something does go wrong and you need advice on a consumer problem, you can always check the Citizens Advice website.

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