Consumer Travel Protection Schemes Guard Your Holiday Investment

By the time you pay for air travel, accommodation, meals, and entertainment, the total cost of holiday quickly grows to a substantial sum. Multiply these customary travel expenses by the size of your family, and the total tally can become oppressive. When faced with the extraordinary cost of a family getaway, advanced planning and other savvy travel moves can help you dial-back the cost of holiday. And several initiatives are in place, protecting your travel investment, when you experience problems with airlines and travel companies.

What’s the Best Way to Pay?

Charging holiday expenses can leave you with a credit card balance that’s hard to manage. In fact, many UK travelers who run up high credit balances during the holiday season pay for it all year long. And by carrying the balance forward, month after month, the true cost of travel includes interest charges, on top of the money spent on holiday. One example, shared by the Money Advice Service, illustrates that a £1,700 holiday, financed at 19 per cent, would take more than four years to pay off, and cost over £2,400, when paying £50 to your credit card company each month.

Rather than lag behind, funding last year’s getaway with this year’s earnings, why not flip the script, and save ahead for your next outing?

Putting by cash for leisure travel is easier said than done, at times, when other household spending obligations demand attention. However, even small contributions to your holiday savings pot can help ease the pressure, when the time comes to pay for plane tickets and resort rooms.

Whenever possible, automating the process keeps you moving in the right direction, reserving regular sums directly from your paycheck, to be used for future travel. Check with your bank to start contributing today. Or shop around for the right holiday savings scheme, if your bank doesn’t offer the service.

Though paying cash for holiday expenses makes financial sense, there is one advantage to using credit cards for holiday payments. Under the Consumer Credit Act, your credit card travel purchases are protected, so when goods and services don’t measure up to expectations, you may be able to file a claim for compensation.

Additional Financial Protection

With so much riding on trouble-free travel, the last thing you can afford is losing money when travel providers fail. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) puts forth a protection scheme that guards your investment under some circumstances. The Authority’s ATOL initiative applies to packaged travel, offering compensation when any of your travel partners goes bust before departure. The scheme also ensures you’ll be brought home, in the event your travel company falls apart while you’re abroad.

Travel package sellers must meet CAA criteria to earn ATOL approval, which is required to do business in the UK. Before making travel package commitments, make sure your travel provider has an ATOL license number, which must be displayed on websites and promotional materials. When money changes hands, companies are also required to furnish an ATOL certificate, confirming your travel investment is protected by the program.

Flight Delay Compensation

EU air travelers and those booked with EU airlines have financial rights, under the Denied Boarding Regulation initiative. The effort protects passengers when airlines fail to provide timely departures. You can submit a compensation claim online when you experience travel delays that cost you money.

If your airline cancels your flight or keeps you waiting for hours, you’re entitled to financial consideration, covering costs incurred as a result of the travel disruption. Your Flight Delay Compensation claim captures the cost of food and refreshments purchased while waiting, as well as the cost of communication, transport, and overnight accommodation, when a stay can’t be avoided.

To be eligible for payments, you must have confirmed ticketing and arrive at the airport with ample time – at least 45 minutes before your scheduled departure time. If you’re slowed by airline problems, save your receipts and document the experience, in order to present an accurate claim.

With a sizable investment in holiday travel, several protection schemes provide peace of mind for UK holidaymakers. If you’re traveling on a budget this year, plan ahead for savings, and turn to passenger compensation initiatives to recover money lost when your travel partners fall short.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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