Plan your holiday with care. And save money

With last summer’s travel industry failures that left thousands stranded and many others out of pocket, you might like to ensure that your holiday runs as smoothly as possible.

Always check that the deal stands up. If it looks too good to be true, then it might be.

Check that they have the right registrations. That they are ATOL, ABTA or AITO registered. Don’t just check that they have the logos on their brochures, websites or in their shops. Check with the organisations concerned that they really are members in good standing, if you feel you need to.

In general terms you might be better booking a package deal. But you must always ensure that you are properly insured. APH can help sort out insurance. Just check out the website or give them a call if you need any further help.

Consumer Direct offers the following advice:

* if you are booking a package holiday – usually means a holiday consistingof two or more pre-arranged elements (for example flight and accommodation) – check that the travel operator has a bonding scheme or some other form of protection such as those offered by ATOL, ABTA or AITO. These will usually give you financial protection and arrange to get you home if the operator or another business involved in providing your holiday ceases trading. Also you would be expected to receive a refund if you haven’t already travelled.

* if you book a non-package holiday, if you arrange your flights and accommodation separately, and you book directly with an airline or hotel you may have less protection so check terms and conditions.

* be aware some websites where you select different elements of your holiday and make a single payment may not be considered a ‘package’ holiday and may not provide sufficient protection. It is important to check the terms and conditions of the holiday and look for ATOL, ABTA or AITO membership or check that there is adequate bonding or travel insurance in place to ensure you are protected.

* if you book a flight only arrangement, operators are usually required to have measures in place which can allow you a refund of your money and bring you home if you are abroad. This will usually be by way of the ATOL scheme or some form of bond or travel insurance. However, this protection does not apply to flights that are bought directly from an airline.

* if the cost or your flight is more than £100, you could consider paying with a credit card as this offers you some financial protection. If the airline goes out of business you will usually get a refund on the cost of your tickets from your credit card provider. However, you may have to pay for and make your own arrangements to get home if you have already flown and you would not be covered for any extra costs such as additional nights in a hotel.

* there is little protection for non-package holidays paid for by debit card. Much will depend on the terms and conditions of the holiday. So consider using your credit cards instead of a debit card, as you will be protected under the Consumer Credit Act.

* consider buying travel insurance and look for a policy that covers insolvency or includes supply failure cover. There are a few of these types of policies and they usually promise to provide an alternative holiday or a replacement journey in the event of a travel operator going out of business. You may have to book and pay for another trip and then claim the costs back from the insurer.

If you are booking airport parking for your holiday APH recommend that you look for car parks which display the Park Mark award. Car Parks which have been awarded the Park Mark award have been vetted by the police to ensure that they have all the security measures in place to protect your vehicle, giving you peace of mind when you travel.

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