Tuesday, 9 January 2007 12:00 AM
Brits booking their summer holidays are being warned to take steps to make sure they are covered against tour operator bankruptcies or if part of their itinerary goes wrong.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) warnings come as the post-Christmas booking period is peaking, with 18 million people expected to book their breaks without using package tour operators, opting to buy flights, accommodation and items such as car hire themselves.
"If consumers prefer to put something together themselves, they should think about other protection, like insurance or paying by credit card that will provide some cover," advised David Clover of the CAA.
"But be careful. Many insurance policies do not automatically cover insolvency, so read the small print, and debit cards do not provide the same cover as credit cards."
Mr Clover added booking with an ATOL registered tour operator would offer a high level of protection and many package tour operators now offer flexible holidays to meet new demands from holidaymakers looking for independent breaks away from the traditional holiday package image.
What to check for when booking a holiday
- Look out for the ATOL logo on websites and in brochures if you are booking online or by telephone.
- If you are booking with a travel agent, check out brochures and ask the agent to confirm whether ATOL is protecting your whole holiday.
- Check the company's details online at www.atol.org.uk
- Book with a credit card, though be aware this does not always mean full protection. You must have spent at least £100 on each element of the holiday to be covered.
- There is no protection for payments made with debit cards.
- Take out travel insurance that covers against insolvency and check the small print, as many policies do not include this cover.
- Remember that you may only be covered for the part of your holiday supplied by the company that has gone bankrupt so may not be able to claim for any other element.