May 25, 2011

Posted by in Trip Advice | 59 Comments

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How to book your holiday with confidence

We’ve all seen the stories of companies collapsing in the peak holiday period with holidaymakers stranded and facing paying again for a new trip. The last thing that any of us want when we book our holidays is disruption for unforeseen circumstance outside of our control, yet add in troubles from strikes, ash clouds and snow and the Great British travelling public have had a lot to contend within the last few years.

And recent news around the political problems in Tunisia and Egypt have led to even more news coverage of holidaymakers having their trips curtailed or cancelled and emergency flights to bring them home.

This week we have seen the announcement of proposals to reform the ATOL protection scheme – it’s all becoming a nightmare for customers to understand what to do.

The ATOL logo

Despite the drama of events like this, the vast majority of us never experience any problems with our bookings. However there are some easy steps that you can take whenever you make your holiday plans to help your booking go as smoothly as possible, whatever life throws at you.

In this article we tell you about our Three Golden Rules, we answer your Questions and give you some Top Tips for how to go about making your booking safer

Let’s start with our Three Golden Rules;

  1. Book an ATOL protected trip wherever you can – essentially place the booking for as much of your trip as possible with one company where an invoice is issued to cover the entire cost of the trip with one total price for your holiday. The company should hold an ATOL (Air Tour Operator’s Licence) from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) in order to sell on this basis.  ATOL’s are usually held by Tour Operators and their holidays are sold either direct of via travel agents. Some travel agents also hold these licences to allow them to package up trips and offer the full financial cover.
    The benefits of doing this are that the ATOL scheme ensures that if the company goes under you are entitled to a full refund under the scheme, or if you are already abroad you can continue on your holiday without any issues. Additionally, if a part of your trip goes wrong, the ATOL holder is responsible for sorting it out for you.
  2. Pay for your holiday by credit card – when you are not able to book a trip covered by ATOL you must pay for your transaction by credit card, whether you book direct or through a travel agent. This gives you protection under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 section 10. However you may well face paying credit card charges on your booking which obviously add cost to your break. Visa debit cards also offering the purchaser protection when companies go under.
    If you pay by cash, cheque, bank transfer, debit card or electron/pre paid cards then you do not receive cover under the consumer credit act should something go wrong. There is also no cover for transactions by credit card under £100 in value.
  3. Take out a travel insurance policy with End Supplier failure – This is a relatively new concept, however it allows you to be covered should elements of your holiday go wrong and you are faced with irrecoverable losses or additional costs when sorting out your holiday plans. You should buy a policy with this type of cover even when booking a package as it will cover all the other little pieces you have such as car parking that you often overlook. We tell you about the policies you can buy here.

So is it as simple as all that? Unfortunately not and there are a number of things that we get asked when customers are confused as to what to do. Here are some of the important ones.

Your Questions:
As long as I see the ATOL logo on a website, brochure or a travel agency then everything I book there is safe under the CAA ATOL scheme?

Unfortunately not. The key is that you must book a package (flight plus at least one other item) as one transaction with one total invoice that covers all of the pieces of your trip. This must have been sold direct to you by the ATOL licence holder or by an agent acting as an agent for the ATOL holder for the scheme to apply in the event of a failure.

So, don’t get lured into a sense of false security by seeing the ATOL logo on a website. For instance when Tui sells a package holiday of flight and accommodation on their web or in their shops you are covered by ATOL. However book accommodation only or any flights from the 1st November 2010 and you do not receive ATOL cover even though the website shows it.

Yesterday the Government announced deails of revisions to te current ATOL scheme to ensure that anyone selling a flight plus another item such as a hotel will have to have ATOL cover. They will also have to be transparent about the level of protection that you have and provide a clear document to explain this. However, these additional measures are not due to come into force until late 2011

How can I be sure the arrangements are covered by ATOL?
Firstly check that the company holds a valid licence or check that the licence they are showing is current. This can be done at the CAA website.
Secondly ask the question are my arrangements covered by ATOL of your travel agent or tour operator.

So what should I do if I am buying travel but there is no ATOL logo – is this safe?
What is safe? It is perfectly legitimate to book travel arrangements that are not ATOL covered. Most DIY trips are sold in this way by piecing together arrangements from different companies. However you must protect yourself by paying on credit cards or a Visa debit card and have a suitable travel insurance policy to give you piece of mind should things go wrong. This insurance cover must have End Supplier Failure as part of it.

Some travel agents offer their own financial protection cover, such as Travel Republic who has a total financial protection scheme should parts of a trip you book with them go wrong. Others will claim total financial protection but only cover the flight element, so be careful and ask questions if you are unsure.

I can never see the ATOL logo on airline websites or car hire companies. Why?
Most products are not ATOL covered as they are not a package of one price for a variety of travel arrangements.  Therefore they do not need an ATOL licence to trade, so airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways do not need them. Neither do many other types of travel company selling ferry tickets, car hire and hotel rooms. In order to be protected with these types of bookings you should follow the credit card and/or travel insurance policy rule.

I don’t want to book an ATOL backed package. What should I do?

If you choose to make your own arrangements, read our article for handy hints on insurance and payment protection

So what is ABTA then?  I thought I always had to book with ABTA protection?

ABTA logo

ABTA is the Association of British Travel Agents who represents the industry members and offer financial cover should an agent you have paid money to go under. They ensure that all members operate under strict rules and guidelines to protect the customer when things go wrong.

However ABTA is not the same as the ATOL scheme and not all travel agents are ABTA members. There are two other schemes that offer membership to agents, the Global Travel Group and the Travel Trust Association (TTA). These also ensure that monies paid to their members cannot go missing if the agent goes under.
So you can book with either an ABTA member or a member of Global Travel Group or the TTA and know that the money you have paid to their agent members is safe and secure under their own financial protection scheme.

How does paying by Credit Card work?
The 1974 Consumer Credit Act ensures that if you do not receive your goods you can receive a refund from the credit card company. Therefore if a company goes under, you can claim back the cost of your flight, hotel etc from your card issuer. It helps if you have paid for the total cost of the travel arrangements on one card in one transaction but it is a fairly easy to process to follow.  More advice can be found on our sister company website.

How do I know if a travel insurance policy offers End Supplier Failure cover?
When buying a policy you need to look for wording such as Supplier Failure, Scheduled Airline Failure or End Supplier Failure cover in the level of cover on offer. Our sister site has some advice here on what to look for. Remember, the cheapest policies do not include this item in the cover, so a great example where the cheapest is not the best cover.

I already have a travel policy, Can I buy a separate policy to cover me for End Supplier Failure?
Yes indeed you can, our article above will help you to find companies that can offer cover from as little as £4 per person

Our Top Tips when making a booking

  • Always read the small print.  Before confirming your booking read the terms and conditions or booking conditions and ensure you know what they mean should you need to change or cancel your booking at a later date. Double check all dates and names too before clicking to book.
  • Check the cover you are receiving from your travel arranger. Is it ATOL covered or protected under any other scheme or do you need to arrange your own cover.
  • Always pay by credit card or Visa debit card where you can.
  • Always take out a travel insurance policy including end supplier failure from the moment you book your trip. You then receive cancellation cover immediately as well as the all important supplier failure clauses. Don’t leave it till just before you go away. Or consider an annual policy if you travel several times a year as it is cheaper.
  • Where possible book an ATOL covered package – although this will not suit all travel needs on every occasion
  • Check your documents before you travel. Whether it be passports in date, correct names on tickets or validity of your driving licence, check everything is up to date and correct and that you have all the things you need to travel before you leave. Don’t forget to check your dates and times as well as where you are booked to travel to and from.
  1. im really stressing because i put a cash deposit of 200 down to go to spain in may…however i will be be paying my whole balance in cash cos i dont use credit cards,,,,so will my holiday not be protected..this is at thomas cook…thet sed that cos i paid the lowest deposit option that i still have to pay it in full which makes it 525…but i get no holiday and loose that amount..i cant afford to do that im only parttime job and single parent…please help

    • Hi Sandra,

      As you have booked a package (flight + accommodation) with Thomas Cook (who are ATOL holders) you will be protected so there is no need to worry.

      I hope that helps.



  2. Hi

    I have booked a hotel through a website called and I have since read that customers sometimes have problems with hotels not being booked or being swapped to worse hotels at the last minute. I currently have no reason to doubt them but I am concerned as I dont want to turn up at the hotel with no reservation and be left paying for the full cost again or even having to move hotels(friends and family are in the hotel so this is not an option to me).

    What sort of cover do I need to take out to cover myself against having to pay for a hotel room again? I paid for it all on credit card so I can claim any money back from them but I dont want to be left paying twice as much for my room should they fail to provide the service.


  3. I’ve booked a holiday packege with easyJet and made a deposit of £600 but unfornately a serious situation has accured and i cant go on to this holiday is there a way i can get my money back asap? HELP PLEASE

  4. we have booked and paid for a trip to goa in india for our 20th wedding anaversary , we found out after we paid the full amount that we need a visa for india , now we have never been on holiday before , we did not even have a passport so we never really knew anything about going abroad , now we have applied for our visa’s and there should be no problem getting them but if we dont get them and cant go on holiday what will happen to the money we have paid wich was nearly £2000 , we booked with thomas cook , i am very worried incase we dont get our visa’s which cost us another £100 , then the passports we had to pay for , its all added up so you can imagine my fears , will we get our money back in full or will they offer us a new holiday , your help would be greatly appreciated

  5. Katy J says:

    My holiday will cost £3000 , I paid a £300 deposit by debit card. I want to pay the remaining balance partly by debit card and partly by visa. To qualify for the protection that visa payment offer how much do I have to pay on my Visa card.

  6. RACHEL says:

    We booked a holiday yesterday and paid for it now the company who are ATOL protected have called and said the price of the hotel has gone up and the baggage was not included and want nearly 200.00 more for the holiday. what can i do.

  7. sirs
    booking a flight only thro the above website they are asking for optional additional fees to atol protection and for a scheduled airline failure administration fee. are they really necessary or are they trying to sell you something that is not needed?

  8. martin says:


    I am booking a flight and hotel through virgin holidays, but I do not have my own credit card, if I use a friends card to pay the deposit, and use my own debit card to make the other payments will I be covered?



  9. Stella Chiotis says:

    Hi there, there is a charge of around £28 for booking Ryan air flights with a Visa Credit card, will a Barclays Visa Debit card give me the same benefits as a credit card?

  10. graham smith says:

    hi we booked our holiday at the travel agents to tunisia and paid deposit but have now read some very very bad reviews about hotel including prostitution activity in the hotel can we ask to change hotels we are with thomas cook

  11. Paid by credit card for holiday only to find ive been scamed is there anthing I can do

    • Hi there

      If your transaction by card is over £100, you should contact your card company and ask them to do a charge back for no delievery of the product. You should then be able to recover the monies.

      Let us know how you get on.


  12. I found this website through – I called them to book. I am really worried the company is not legit or something will go wrong, they say they have ATOL and are registered with TTA – not sure what to do?

  13. Julie says:


    We have just arrived from a weekend in Nice which we booked through Tour Center – flights & hotel. Outbound with Easyjet which booked in online and return with Monarch. When I tried to book in with Monarch it wouldnt accept my booking info so I phoned Tour Center and they told me MOnarch do not require online booking and I could do it at the airport.

    When we got to Nice Airport this morning the flight they had booked us on with Monarch had been withdrawn. This was done earlier in the year and Monarch say they contacted Tour Center with this information in June but did not get a reply. We could not get hold of anyone at Tour center and ended up paying £600 to fly home as most flights were full. I have emailed Tour Center asking for a refund of the £600 but they have not replied yet.

    What should I do if they dont reply or refund my money.

    • Hi there

      Tour Center claim on their website to be operating under CAA ATOL 3517 and I would imagine that they sold you this deal as part of a package covered by their ATOL licence.

      This requries them to find alternative flight arrangements for you should a flight they arrange no longer operate.

      The first thing is to complain to them. They are a travel agent

      They should acknowledge your complaint within a week and reply in full within 28 days.

      If they fail to reply adequately refer them to Citizens Advice or threathen them with taking out a small claims procedure to revoer your losses.

      They would appear to be clearly at fault here and should pay out.

      Kind regards


    • Hi there

      What an awful way to start your holiday. Im sure Thomson never intend for this kind of thing to happen, however it appears that they didn’t handle it as well as they could have done for you and your family.

      The first thing to do is to write to them and make a formal complaint. Make the point that you lost a day of your holiday for the travel delay. Their booking conditions are here; – these tell you how to make a complaint and also talk about travel delays. You should aslo tell them about the case and that you could not get food, I assume you asked if they could bring food to your room? If you hae receipts for food you purchased submit these as well.

      You should also ask them if they are paying out under EU261 flight delay compensation which runs as a separate issue to how they handled the delay itself.

      Finally check your travel inusrance to see if you can claim for travel delay on that. You will need a letter from Thomson to confirm your delay for this.

      I trust that once you arrived you enjoed your holiday and your journey back to the UK was trouble free.

      Do let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards


  14. Meera J says:

    My family and I traveled to Malta during the October half term. we booked scheduled flights via Vienna, using Austrian Airline to Vienna and Air Malta to Malta.Our luggage did not arrive for 2 days of our 5 day stay. We had to buy emergency supplies which we kept to a bare minimum. We now need to claim for these and the inconvenience. I booked these flights using my Visa debit card. Please can you advice as to whether we have any cover/ protection.
    Thank you

    • Hi there Meera

      There are two courses of action open to you.

      1. Contact Austrian Airlines Customer Services and file a complaint for your losses. I assume that you completed a PIR at Malta when your bags did not arrive and they gave you some guidance on what you could and could not buy.
      You should attach scanned in receipts for your purchases. They will then deal with you direct.

      2. You should check your travel insurance and if you have delayed baggage cover you can claim on that within one month of returning to the UK. You will need a letter from Austrian Airlines confirming the amount of time your bags were delayed in reaching you.

      Do let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards

  15. John Scott-A says:

    I am considering going to Burma. I have agreed the price with a tour operator in Burma who accepts payment by credit card, What protection would I enjoy if he fails to meet the required tours including the hotels and internal flights etc. but not international flights which I shall book separately here in the UK

    • Hi there

      You have no protection under CAA rules as this company is not registered in the UK.

      However, as long as the transaction is over £100 in value you have protection under the Consumer Credit Directive should either the company fail or if you arrive and they have not made your arrangments. However you may be then left with international flights and no holiday. Unless those flights are fully refundable you will be left holding those.

      I would also ensure you take out an insurance policy with End Supplier Failure cover to protect you in this instance.

      Have a great trip.


  16. I booked a holiday flights with Easy jet for a family holiday and have now found out that my sons partner is pregnant and will be 40 weeks by the time we fly which is against the airlines policy. they have said that we cannot get a refund, as we paid by Barclaycard does anyone know if we would be entitled to get cover from them.


    • Hi Joe,

      Thank you for your comment (and congratulations to your son and his partner).

      Does your son’s partner have travel insurance? If so, it is worth checking the terms and conditions of her policy (or ringing up the company she has bought it through) to find out if it covers this type of cancellation.

      If not, you could try the Barclaycard route (as long as you paid more than £100 for the flights on it). However, this is not a standard claim under the section 75 rules so you may have to appeal to their good will. If you are not happy with Barclaycard’s response, the Financial Ombudsman may also be able to help.

      Alternatively, could you change the date of your family holiday and travel before your son’s partner is over the airline’s travelling limit for pregnant women?

      Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

  17. Saffron2345 says:

    I have made direct contact with a 5*hotel I stayed in a few years ago and they have offered me a good rate for accommodation and half board as well as complimentary transfers to/from airport. They have provided me with their business bank account and requested I transfer in Dinars the full amount from my bank in UK. Credit cards usually give protection when purchasing from within the UK. Is this a safe option to deal direct?

    • Hi,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I’d suggest going back to your hotel and asking whether you can pay by credit card instead. This will give you financial protection should anything go wrong – and peace of mind in the run up to your holiday.

      If you pay by bank transfer or cash you won’t receive any financial protection (unless you book your hotel as part of an ATOL-backed package holiday).

      Have a great time in Dubai,

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am booking a villa but the company will only accept cash transfer or chequesunless a 45 syrcharge is paind to use credit or debit crads. The company is not ABTA or ATOL registered. Should I avoid this??

    • Good morning

      If you choose to pay by cash or bank transfer for travel products that are not ATOL or ABTA backeed then you have to accept that you have no protection at all should the company you are booking with go out of business or there be problems with the booking itself.

      You could ensure that you take out a travel insurance policy which has an End Supplier Failure cause, however this will only give you limited protection dependent on the ts and cs of your actual policy.

      The decision has to be yours.

      Kind regards


      • Charles says:


        If I pay for a villa £100 deposit by credit card then the rest by Bank Transfer then buy the flight tickets within 24 hours with a debit card will all be covered by section 75 on the credit card.
        also if I cant make the holiday because of illness or accident can I claim back all the money from the credit card including flight tickets.

        • Hi Charles

          If you are buying the villa separately to the fights then as long as you pay at least £100 by credit card you will be covered under section 75 however you choose to pay the balance.

          Your flights should also be paid by credit card to secure the same cover as long as the value is over £100. If you pay by debit card you can only charge back but there is no legal requirement for the card issuer to refund you if the company collapses.

          You will need travel insurance to cover you for illness or accident. Credit card payments would not cover that for you.

          Hope this clarifies the matter.

          Kind regards


          • Charles says:


            Why should I pay flight ticket by credit card if section 75 cover’s all when I put deposit £100 by credit card on villa rental and balance in bank wire.
            surely this would cover flight tickets and villa rental.

          • Hi Charles

            If your are booking the flight and villa together as a package with one supplier then you can do that. If you are booking them separate to each other so they are not linked together as an ATOL backed package, then you only get the cover if you pay for them both by credit card. Who are you booking the holiday with?



  19. Leanne says:

    I was wondering, if your passport says your name is say Maxwell, and you have booked your holiday under the name Max, will this be a problem?


    • Hi Leanne

      The general ruling is that passports and booking details should match as these are used for security verification by the authorities when we travel.

      My advice is to contact the holiday company and advise them that the full passport name is Maxwell and not Max. They may reserve the right to make an admin charge to do this as it is the responsibility of the person making the original booking to supply the correct information at the time the booking is made. However this is obviously not a name change and just a small oversight, so depending on the company they may waive any fee or they may insist on charging it.

      If you are travelling within the EU I doubt it would be an issue at any stage to leave it as it is, however we cannot guarantee that. So give them a call for peace of mind.

      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards


      • upset says:

        can anyone help me please? ive booked for a surprise holiday for my son and his family the travel agent seems not to care now hes been paid! he only sent me airline times and hotel confirmation no transfer documents at all and when I booked I asked for A.I. he said his suppliers said FULL BOARD is all inclusive at the hotel in Spain that is how they describe it but now says if I want all inclusive it could cost me maybe another £1000 or more he as completely mislead me –he even said if im paying him £1000 a month –which I did he gets charged £15 by his bank so would I pay that too I did but its only about 2 weeks for me to give my son his holiday information and all this man keeps saying –I will try and send the full intenary out re transfers im really not sleeping with worry as my son wont have proof??

        • Hi there

          Not knowing any of the holiday details, what you have booked, when, where or who with I cannot give a detailed response.

          However you should contact your travel agent and ask for the Manager. Calmly lay out the reason for you contacting them and what you are looking for as a resolution to this problem. If they are not responding and they are part of a chain you should go straight to the Head Office if you do not get an immediate response.

          That should be your start point. If they are an ABTA member you can then consider going through ABTA arbitration service for further assistance.

          We have an article here on how to make a complaint and to get a resolution on holiday problems.

          Let us know how you get on.

          Kind regards


  20. Hi, I am about to book a holiday ( for October 2016 ) to Florida . Would you recommend paying the whole amout when I book or, pay the deposit and square up the remainder at the later date? It’s around £5000
    Many thanks

    • Hi there Ross

      It should make no difference other than your own cash flow. If its a package holiday covered by an ATOL then you are usually able to pay a deposit and then the balance around 8 to 12 weeks prior to travel. That of course gives you nearly a year and a half of interest of some form if you save the money rather than paying it all out now when you don’t need to. You could also pay the deposit now and save up the balance each month to allow you to pay the balance without having to go into your existing savings.

      Whatever you do, ensure you pay the deposit by credit card to give you financial protection for your holiday over and above anything from the tour oeprator. This needs to be at least £100 on your card.

      Kind regards


  21. Melanie Gray says:

    Hi can you help we were trying to book a holiday on line and the holiday was priced at 2150 we phoned the company to see if there was any hidden extras that may have to be paid and they said the dates and hotel was available but the price they said was double the girl went over the holiday dates times she couldnt understand why the price was different if we pay online will we get the holiday for the 2150 thanks

    • Hi there Melanie

      Can you tell me please the name of the company and which website you were looking at so I can try and work this one out?



  22. I have booked and paid for a flight to Peru but have now broken my leg. I had not yet taken out insurance as I am not due to fly until May (Silly me I know!!).I am told that it is not refundable. Is there anyway to get some, if not all, of the costs back?

    • Hi there Alli

      Hope you’re getting better. Unfortunately its one of the reasons we advise for taking travel insurance out. Oh well, next time eh!

      It all depends what you have booked. if you ahve booked a package holiday then you are subject to the terms and conditions of the tour operator. If you have just booked a flight then you can claim back some fo the taxes and fees, which varies from airline to airline. If you can tell me which airline you have booked and whether direct or through an agency I can advise further.

      Kind regards


  23. saffron fulton says:

    booked a holiday with ba, called under 24 hours because i couldn’t go on the holiday anymore ( no way of paying because of an emergency) they refuse to give me my money back…the £300 deposit was paid by credit card- can i cancel this payment?

    • Hi there

      Im sorry to learn that something has happened meaning you do not now have the finance for your planned trip.

      Once you make a booking you would have a grace period of a few hours for making changes such as getting a name wrong or inadvertantly booking the wrong date. However asking to cancel your booking once you have accepted the booking conditions on or off line will result in cancellation charges which can be as much as 100% of what you have paid. This may seem harsh, however it is what you agree to when making the booking.

      Not knowing the emergency, you may have travel insurance you can claim against (for instance if it is due to medical reasons), so check your policy to see if you can claim the money back from that.

      If you stop the card payment you are likely to incur costs for that and ultimately you would be found liable to pay as at the point of the transaction you had agreed to the booking and the associated conditions. BA (and any other retailer) is within their rights to pursue you for that.

      A final option is to ask BA if they can maybe allow you to delay your booking and change to a later time when you can afford the trip or you could consider a low cost loan or an interest free credit card to help you through your difficulties. Compare these on line at our sister company and read articles there to help you decide the bext product.

      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards


  24. paddy says:

    hi looking for some help we where to fly out of belfast airport to rome on the 7th of may and stay until the 14th of may but due to fire at rome airport the flight was cancelled. but jet2 put us on the next available flight which was on the 10th of may which meant we missed out on three days at our we had to pay to stay at another hotel for the three days we insurance said we are not covered.but can we claim off our credit card. look forward to your reply

  25. ok here goes i have book a holiday but paid for it on three difference cards can i just get one fund to the name the holiday is booked in.
    or does it have to be transferred back the same way it came

    • Hi there

      I am not that clear what you are asking here. If you are asking about refunds, any refund being made is normally paid back to the card it was paid for by. So if you used three cards to pay then usually the refunds would go back to those three cards in appropriate amounts.

      I would need to know more on this to advise you correctly.

      Kind regards


  26. hi there,i am looking to go on holiday to africa. i have searched the airlines’sites directly and they are very high priced. i googled and a site called the flightcompany came up with almost halfprice offers, they are not atol or abta registered but they claim to be TTA members. should i avoid them? help please.

    • Hi there

      They are not a company I know however to check TTA membership you can verify it here and ensure you read any reviews you can find of the company. Ultra cheap deals from one company when no-one else has that kind of price should make you suspicious, so be careful and ensure what you are buying is legitimate.

      Also ensure you pay by credit or debit card to ensure you have any financial protection, not in cash or a bank transfer.

      Kind regards


  27. BEWARE!
    How Ironic! That you run an article – How to book your holiday with confidence – but yet promote the company: VOYAGES-SNCF.COM
    This company sold me international rail tickets that were not accepted for travel and almost left me stranded in Europe and according to their web site I was not the only one! Did they resolve the issue of invalid tickets or refund me? What do you think?
    As a responsible web site maybe you would like to revisit your promotion or let people know if they use VOYAGES-SNCF.COM that this company is affiliated/regulated to any governing body who will refund them their money and resolve their issues for them unlike their so called customer services. Alternatively use a credit card! That is How to book your holiday with confidence!

  28. Sophie says:

    Thanks so much for this article – I’m really panicking as do not have ATOL protection and wondered if you could offer me some advice?

    I’ve booked a hotel (it’s an Iberostar) for two months time. I opted for their flexible booking service, which means (I think) that whilst I gave them my credit card details, they will not take payment until we check in. Also I am allowed to cancel before 4days of holiday date, and also think of its within 4 days of checkin and I had to cancel for whatever reason, they only charge a small admin fee.

    My worry isn’t so much me cancelling as THEM cancelling my booking!

    I have booked flights directly with easyjet, hence the lack of ATOL.

    My main worries are:

    – flying out to the hotel only to find when we get there that our room booking has been cancelled, or that we’ve been moved to one of the hotel’s sister hotels (which are inferior…)

    – our flights being cancelled as not ATOL protected (there is only 1 flight a day to the location, and some days no flights – so if outbound was cancelled, presumably I’d have to either fund alternative accommodation and a new flight, or else abandon the trip altogether…)

    I suppose what I’m asking is, without ATOL, what exactly should I do? Is there an insurance policy I can buy (you mention the end supplier failure one) that simply serves as everything ATOL would cover, ie alternative accommodation and flights in the face of either company cancelling flights or hotel booking?

    It’s my kids first ever holiday so it would be really upsetting if we had to cancel.

    Would Iberostar be legally allowed to cancel the booking, or is the booking legally binding?

    Any advice really welcome – I used a UK credit card for all of the above.



    • Hi Sophie

      Let me try and set your mind at rest.

      Your flights are with easyJet, a reputable and responsible airline. They would only cancel the flights if they were forced to do so under extreme circumstances. If that did happen you would be entitled to a refund and possibly compensation under the EU261 rules. You can read more here;

      Ibersotar are also a very well known and reputable hotel chain and you will have signed their terms and conditions when making the booking. If they were to cancel the booking this condition applies from their website;

      12) IBEROSTAR reserves the right to change reservations in case of system errors, third-party actions or other unforeseen events. If this is the case, the user shall be informed in writing of their booking’s valid price, as well as of alternative choices. In case of non-acceptance of the new booking terms and conditions, the user can cancel their booking at no charge. If no reply from the user is received within 48 hours since the booking was changed, IBEROSTAR shall proceed to cancel the booking with no charge for the user.

      If the flights did not go ahead you are liable to the cancellation charges for Iberostar and vice versa for easyJet if the hotel was to go wrong.

      As you have booked a non ATOL covered holiday the only way you can cover yourself to contra one or other of the elements cancelling is to have a travel insurance policy with End Supplier Failure. I have such a policy with Holiday Extras and you can compare policies from several companies here and use the filters on the left of the results to find those that offer this type of policy.

      If you have already bought a travel insurance policy you can buy standalone End Supplier Failure here;

      Personally I don’t think you have anything to worry about with these two suppliers and if I was a betting man I would bet that you will have no problems. I hope this sets your mind at rest a little even if it does mean a little more searching around.

      Have a fantastic break.

      Kind regards


  29. Laura says:

    Hi there,

    Please could you give me some advice. I was booking a trip over the phone with Tour Center. I asked the lady on the phone to tell me the total amount, including the 2% fee (very clear I felt) that would come off my card. Then the email confirmation was nearly £80 more due to booking fee charges that were in the small print. I argued with her that she has just told me a different price. She asked me to confirm the booking by replying to the email or over the phone and I said I would do it later as I felt bullied. I’ve since received another call from them and told them I don’t want to confirm it as the price is not what I was told.

    No money has come off my card. Do I have to proceed with this booking and will there be a fee? If it’s booked why are they hassling me to confirm the booking so much? Can they really say one price then send me another? They have my card details so I am worried.


    • Hi Laura

      I have no personal knowledge of Tour Center, however they are ATOL registered and if you are booking your arrangements of flight and accommodation together they would be issuing you with an ATOL certificate which protects your holiday against failure.

      However you should have an agreed total price before confirming and if this is not the case you should speak to a manager to rectify the situation as soon as possible. You should not have to proceed if you are not happy with the booking and can prove your were misquoted. Make the call and see what happens. If you do not wish to process with them you should be clear about telling them why and that expect no charge to be taken from your card. make this call as soon as possible.

      Let me know how you get on. You can always charge back the transaction with your card issuer if necessary and then enter into a dispute with them via your credit card company.

      Kind regards


    • heather says:

      i have booked a holiday for 14 people with5 rooms my i have to cancel 1 room the agent says i must pay all the money for that room 2 adults 1 child its because it is because we did not pay a full amount we have to pay all amount for that room if we cound we will not be cancelling it is a family hol for our golden anniversary

      • Hi Heather,

        Thank you for your comment and congratulations on your golden anniversary.

        So I can help you, please can you describe your situation in more detail? When are you travelling and what exactly are you trying to cancel? Is it just a hotel room or is it a holiday for a certain number of people in your group? And is there a reason behind why you need to cancel this?

        Thank you,

  30. Michael says:

    Hi there,

    I am planning a trip to Thailand later this year.

    The hotels website advises of two payments options, 1 – Confirmation by fax i.e. they would like me to Fax my credit card details to them to confirm the booking. 2 – Confirmation by Bank Transfer, i.e. depositing the funds directly into their bank account.

    I am conscious of the fact that if I pay by transferring the funds directly into their account then I will not get the financial protection of paying by credit card. At the same time I am also wary of faxing my credit card details to a foreign hotel. I have been in email contact with the hotel direct and have managed to negotiate a slight reduction on the room price but I have still not discussed payment options with them.

    I was just wondering if I you think I am correct in exercising caution by not faxing/emailing my credit card details to someone as my guess is that there would be a risk there.

    Could you suggest any other options?


    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Have you mentioned your concerns to the hotel – perhaps via email as you’ve already got a contact? They may be able to suggest an alternative?

      Let us know how you get on.

      Thank you,

  31. I paid for a holiday to on my credit card, due to current terrorist activity, the flight was cancelled by the airline. The agent I booked through has confirmed that I can have a refund, but are not refunding credit card charges. Can they do this or not. It’s not our fault the holiday had to be cancelled, therefore why should I be out of pocket?

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