Holidays

The most common things that go wrong when you’re on holiday and what you can do about them

Holidays are supposed to be a break, a chance to unwind and feel the burdens flying away.

But your stress levels are likely to rise when faced with lost luggage, a holiday illness or when the company who sold you the holiday goes bust.

So when problems strike on your hard-earned break, it’s handy to know what you can do to stop your trip turning into a disaster.

Our colleagues at Wales Online spoke to solicitor Michael Imperato at Watkins and Gunn, who explained what to do to save your holiday.

Your holiday is not the holiday you were sold

Those pictures in the brochure not matching up to the building site you’re staying in?

If your holiday is not what you were expecting, then complain as soon as you can.

Complain to the manager, tour operator or holiday provider. It must be booked as a package holiday for you to make a claim.

If you are offered compensation, ask if it is the full and final settlement. If you accept it, you can’t get more. If you don’t accept it, make sure you let them know you will be looking to claim more when you are home.

Your flight is badly delayed or cancelled

Travelling can be stressful

If your flight is delayed for more than two hours you have a right to food, drink, and phone calls

If the airline is at fault for the hold-up (so it’s not a weather issue) you can claim compensation if it is over three hours. The amount goes up depending on journey distance and the length of the delay.

Awards range from £220 to over £1,000. Claim directly with the airline.

If you fall ill

Is there a worse time to be ill than on your holiday?

Mr Imperato said: “In the first instance you must visit a doctor and get a written medical note to provide as evidence for a claim. Without one, it could leave your case significantly lacking the basis for compensation.

“Evidence is also necessary for receipts for any treatments or medications, as you may be expected to pay up-front.”

You can get free urgent medical treatment around Europe with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Make sure you tell your insurer if you have a preexisting condition. Injury claims can only be made in British courts if you booked the holiday as a package.

Your holiday firm goes bust while you are away

Package holidays are one of the most protected purchases due to the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992. This legislation requires and certifies protection for money spent.

Travellers whose tour company goes under while they are overseas can contact the package holiday provider to organise return flights or travel.

Flights are protected by the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) which is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). ATOL is similar to the regulations that cover package holidays, in that money is protected and, in the event travellers are on holiday when a company ceases trading, they will be brought home.

Those who have booked a flight or hotel independently could be faced with paying for replacement hotels and costly flights themselves. However, certain airlines offer reduced repatriation fares which could assist people in returning home.

Mr Imperato said: “Facing the reality of a tour provider going under while you’re abroad is extremely stressful, and potentially costly if you have booked independently.

“Those who are concerned about the financial impact following this issue can contact us to discuss their rights. Generally, people who have booked independently can only make a claim for compensation if their insurance policy covers it, or if they have paid using a particular credit card.

“Those who are unsure of their rights can contact us here for assistance.”

Lost luggage?

To make a claim, insurers need evidence that reasonable care was taken with the baggage. Lost luggage must be reported to police within 24 hours, along with a tour rep, hotel manager, or transport provider.

Travellers can also reclaim any costs spent on replacing essential clothing and toiletries, so travellers are encouraged to keep any receipts to use for evidence with a claim.

Mr Imperato said: “If an airline misplaces or loses your luggage, it has a responsibility to find it and return it within 21 days.

“Obviously this can’t compensate the stress and inconvenience experienced by travellers during that time. As such travellers are still entitled to delayed luggage, or lost luggage if it isn’t returned.”

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