Should you continue to make payments for a holiday which may not go ahead?
The health secretary Matt Hancock said 2020 was unlikely to have a normal summer holiday season and people are still advised against all but essential international travel.
Research from GoCompare suggests over seven million people have a summer holiday or other trip booked for later this year. But with the coronavirus restrictions still in place, many are worried about their trips and their money.
With many paying for holidays in instalments, there are questions about whether they need to continue with this arrangement in these uncertain times.
GoCompare said if your holiday or flight hasn’t been cancelled by the holiday company or airline, you should talk to them about the payments you’re still required to make and find out from them what will happen if travel restrictions are still in place by the time you’re supposed to travel.
If you fail to make a payment or you cancel the trip yourself, you may forfeit your deposit and any other payments you’ve made without any possibility of redress from either the holiday company or airline or your travel insurance. You may also be liable for additional costs relating to the holiday, the comparison site warns.
It added that more than 14 million people have already had to cancel travel plans due to the coronavirus crisis. A quarter of consumers polled said they’re concerned the lockdown will continue which will prevent them going on holiday.
And for one in five, the health pandemic has put them off going abroad this year.
Further, it found that just one in 10 holidaymakers had arranged travel insurance when they booked their trip.
Cancelled holidays and flights
If your holiday is cancelled due to travel restrictions due to coronavirus, you may be offered a voucher to the value of your cancelled holiday.
However, the experts at GoCompare warn that a holiday voucher doesn’t carry any financial protection which means you could lose your money if the company goes bust. A Refund Credit Note is preferable.
Disinclination to travel
If you’ve decided you don’t want to travel abroad, even when the restrictions have been lifted, you should talk to your holiday provider to see if you can delay your trip to a later date or choose a different holiday. Although they may not have any obligation to do so, they may be sympathetic to your request. Travel insurers will not consider a cancellation claim where your holiday is available, and you are able to travel but have simply chosen not to.
Holidaymakers unhappy with the response from their travel operator should contact ABTA if the company is an ABTA member, as they should be covered by the ATOL protection scheme.
Sally Jaques, from GoCompare Travel Insurance, said: “This is a worrying time for millions of people who have travel plans for the summer and no idea if their holiday will go ahead. Holidays may be cancelled due to FCO advice, tour operators and airlines may go bust, some customers may not be able to travel due to illness and self-isolation rules and others may simply not want to go abroad for a while.
“Having the correct travel insurance in place may help those whose plans are affected and who aren’t covered by things such as the ATOL protection scheme, but it’s too late now to buy insurance hoping it will mitigate any of the risks associated with the Covid-19 crisis. This again highlights the importance of buying travel insurance as soon as you book a trip.”