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Advice Column – May

The next advice column is here and this time it’s about how to protect yourself and prepare for the unexpected when booking a holiday abroad.

It comes at a time of year when many of us will be booking a summer holiday. Whether it’s your first holiday in years or an annual tradition, going abroad can be overwhelming so we’ve pooled together all the key advice in this latest column.

We’re booking a summer holiday to Spain. It’s been a while since we’ve gone on
holiday and we really don’t want anything to go wrong. What can we do to protect
ourselves and prepare for the unexpected?

The chances are you’ll have the relaxing holiday you deserve, but there are a few things you
can do in advance to help your holiday go smoothly. That includes the golden rule of getting
travel insurance and brushing up on what your rights are if something goes wrong.

The first thing to do is check if your passport is in date. Renewing can take several weeks so
you don’t want to leave this until the last minute. You can check the validity of your passport
for your trip
on GOV.UK by seeing the entry requirements of the country you’re travelling to.

This is especially important if you’re flying to Europe as EU countries no longer accept
passports that are more than ten years old. If your passport was issued pre-Brexit then the
expiry date might be more than ten years from the issue date, but if it’s older than ten years,
you’ll need to get it renewed for EU travel – even if it’s still in date.

Flight delays and cancellations could happen to any of us, so it’s worth knowing what your
rights are if this happens.
If your flight is delayed long enough, your airline has to give you
access to food and drink vouchers, phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you’re
delayed overnight. If your flight is cancelled, you have a legal right to a full refund or
replacement flight to help you get to your destination.

Bags going missing is another classic holiday nightmare. But you do have a right to
compensation if your airline delays, loses or damages your checked-in luggage. The
Citizens Advice website shows you how to do this.

You might also get compensation for other things, like a day trip getting cancelled, or if you
paid for a deluxe room but only got a standard one. This will depend on whether you booked
a package holiday, made ‘linked travel arrangements’ or organised the holiday yourself as
an independent traveller, so it’s worth checking to see what compensation you can get.

Finally, Citizens Advice says you should get travel insurance, as it can cover many of the
things already mentioned, like flight delays and lost luggage, but also things like a holiday
cancellation and medical emergencies. You should get insurance as soon as you book a
holiday to make sure you’re covered from the get go, but check first to see if you’re covered
for what you need through an existing insurance policy or through your bank account.
Hopefully you won’t face any problems while on holiday, but early planning and preparations
can go a long way. If something goes wrong and you need advice on a consumer problem,
check the Citizens Advice website.