How to keep your money safe when booking your 2023 travel


Are you planning a holiday for 2023? Few households have money to spare, so here’s how to make sure your booking is as profitable as possible.

1. Book a package holiday

Booking a package holiday can provide more financial protection than booking each component of your trip separately as an independent traveller.

As a general rule, tour operators will cancel holidays if the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) changes its advice, warning against all but essential travel to the destination.

Kuoni, as an example, says:“You can book a Kuoni holiday knowing that it is protected by ABTA and ATOL, that we strictly follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development and that we have the support of REWE, a financially strong multinational company.”

While TUI says:“If the government advises you to go on holiday abroad, we will cancel your holiday and you can get a full refund or you can change your holiday to another date for free. If local restrictions change, but the government does not advise against traveling abroad, you will be able to change your holiday with no change fee.

If your package holiday is cancelled, you are entitled to a refund in accordance with the Package Travel Regulations. You may also receive a proposal to change the date of your leave to another date, if this option suits you.

Make sure you book a package holiday that is ATOL protected. ATOL stands for Air Travel Organizer’s License and is the UK’s financial protection scheme that protects your money if the company you book with stops trading.

If this happens before your trip, you’ll get your money back. If this happens while you are away, you will be helped to continue your holiday and then return home. Learn more about the scheme here.

If your package holiday doesn’t include a flight – for example a train holiday – book with an ABTA member receive similar financial protection if the company enters the management board. (This applies to package holidays sold by a company based in the European Economic Area.)

2. Take advantage of flexible booking policies

Travel agents are aware of the current uncertainty around travel, so many now offer flexible policies to give customers the confidence to book.

Many holiday companies allow you to cancel or change your trip without paying a change fee if you no longer want to travel – always check time limits.

If you’re not booking a package holiday, look for flexible policies for each separate item. On flights, for example, easyJet has a promise of “freedom to change”. This allows you to change your flight free of charge up to two hours before departure. However, you will have to pay the difference if the new tariff is higher.

3. Pay attention to the regulations

When booking any trip, please read the Cancellation Policy for Changes in Government Orders or Illness carefully as these will outline your options should your accommodation have to be cancelled.

This may include rescheduling your booking, claiming a voucher for the full amount paid, or canceling your booking for a free refund.

4. Buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday

Travel insurance is important for travel in 2023 and comprehensive policies can cover many things that can go wrong, including those related to Covid.

But not all policies offer the same amount of medical or cancellation coverage, and policies will include a number of Covid-19 exclusions. Find out what to look for in a policy in 2023 here.

It is important that you take out the policy as soon as you make your booking to ensure you are protected in the event that you need to cancel your booking in the run-up to travel for any reason, such as testing positive for the virus.

Please read the policy terms and conditions carefully to ensure that cancellation insurance suits you.

5. Pay with plastic

If you can, book your trip with a credit card to take advantage of protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This will cover you on purchases over £100 and up to £30,000, even if you only pay for a card deposit.

This protection makes the card provider as responsible as the merchant if something goes wrong. So, if your travel agent goes bankrupt or there is a problem with your holiday, you should be able to make a claim.

However, for Article 75 to work there must be a direct transactional relationship between you and the seller, so you may not be protected if you book through a third party booking site such as Expedia and – although the third party site may have its own protection policy, which you can buy.

If you pay by debit card, you can similarly file a claim under the voluntary chargeback program with Visa, MasterCard and Amex.

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