Seven holiday booking sins

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Travel specialists are warning holidaymakers to watch out for “seven sins” to avoid when booking their dream getaway.

The tips come from holiday claims lawyers at BL Claims Solicitors, who say couples and families can often be so excited when booking their summer breaks that they forget to pay attention to vital details.

Slip-ups such as failure to arrange proper insurance, falling victim to online scams and other oversights can all lead to potentially expensive problems overseas.

Lauren Haas, a solicitor in the travel claims team at BL Claims Solicitors, has identified the “seven sins” that holidaymakers should try to avoid to ensure their dream holiday doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

They are:

  • Not checking the details of travel insurance – We all know we need travel insurance – but are you sure you’ve picked one that covers you properly? Check your policy actually covers the country you are visiting – for example, Turkey and Egypt are not in the EU, so you’ll need extended cover. Check what you plan to do as well – extras such as ballooning, diving or quad-biking trips may require extra insurance.
  • Having out of date documents – Ensure your passport is up to date and that you have all the visas you need. Don't just rely on your tour operator or booking agent telling you all is well. If you are not allowed to fly and you have out-of-date documents, it is very difficult to bring any claim for compensation.
  • Not being wise to scams – If you are booking a holiday home over the internet, be aware that some sites simply act as agents for the actual owners and are not liable for any fraud or anything that goes wrong. In some cases, people have fallen victim to fraudsters by booking a holiday home that simply doesn’t exist. Watch out for requests for payment to be sent by Western Union or similar companies, as they are commonly used by con artists. It may be worth taking out insurance to guard against fraud.
  • Not going for the full package – Booking flights and accommodation separately may be cheaper, but be aware that you’re not as well covered if, for example, a company goes out of business. If you've booked a package holiday, you’re protected by extra regulations and have more protection if something goes wrong or you have an accident.
  • Not having a backup – While abroad, it pays to keep a copy of your passport and travel documentation in the hotel or another bag. If you are pickpocketed, it is much easier to deal with the aftermath.
  • Picking the wrong card – You may want to consider paying any amounts over £100 by credit cards. They offer an extra layer of protection and rights over a debit card or cash payment.
  • Not thinking ahead – While many excursion providers abroad are legitimate, if you are booking an excursion with a local company and pay in cash then the rights and protections you have are not going to be equivalent to booking the excursion with a UK tour operator. Book ahead if you can.

Lauren said: “Booking a holiday is a time of great excitement but all too often we see how neglecting details at the time of booking can lead to problems down the line.

“Sorting out travel insurance and checking documents properly can be a pain – and they’re certainly not as interesting as picking out a resort or hotel. But the ‘boring bits’ can be the most important.

“The vast majority of holidaymakers experience no problems – but for the unlucky few, a dream holiday can turn into a nightmare, especially if you’re not covered properly. It’s far better to think ahead now and spend a bit of time on the tedious details than to rush through the booking process and regret it later.”

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