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Consumers urged to check for financial protection as holiday bookings set to rise

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If a travel company with an ATOL ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who have booked package holidays with them, making sure they don’t get stuck abroad or lose money.

With travel companies offering a multitude of offers and deals ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest weekends of the year for holiday bookings, the UK Civil Aviation Authority is urging consumers to be travel savvy when planning trips for 2022 by booking ATOL protected holidays and looking out for hidden costs.

January is typically the busiest month for holiday bookings, with this weekend being the most popular time to plan ahead for 2022 getaways. Following the scrapping of pre-departure travel tests to England and the further easing of travel restrictions, many holidaymakers will be looking to book their holidays but could be overlooking key financial protection.

ATOL protection, built into the cost of air package holidays, provides financial protection in the unlikely event that your travel company stops trading.

If a travel company with an ATOL ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who have booked package holidays with them, making sure they don’t get stuck abroad or lose money.

Michael Budge, Head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “This weekend, typically known as ‘Sunshine Saturday’, is traditionally the busiest time of the year for people booking their holidays, and with travel restrictions easing, many consumers will be taking advantage of bargain deals, but could be missing out on key financial protection.

“If you are booking a package holiday, make sure you check for the ATOL logo to ensure you are protected in the unlikely case that your travel company stops trading.”

How to stay financially secure when booking
Book an ATOL protected trip and keep your ATOL certificate

  • If you book an ATOL protected trip, you are entitled to an ATOL certificate that details who and what is protected.

Check what’s included in your ATOL protected package

  • Be aware that extras under a separate booking such as theme park tickets, travel insurance or seat upgrades are unlikely to be covered under ATOL.

Keep records of everything you pay

  • Keep details of payments to your travel company, along with any evidence. If you need to make an ATOL claim, you may need to provide this information.

How to check for hidden costs when booking

Can you change the booking details?

  • Is there any flexibility in the booking? Can parts of the holiday be amended if needed without incurring any extra costs?

Check COVID-19 rules

  • Research COVID-19 restrictions in your destination to make sure you understand entry requirements, testing costs and social restrictions.

Check baggage rules

Does it include baggage allowance? How much is additional luggage?

Look for other deals

  • Is it actually a good deal? Look at other providers to check costs against them.

Is the company based in the UK?

  • Look for where the seller is based - If it’s abroad and the deal is in a foreign currency, make sure to check how much they are charging in pounds before booking to ensure you get a good rate, and double check your bank’s fees for paying in foreign currency.
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