Advice Column: Holiday Booking

Thursday 6th May

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo advice column this week we focus on top tips if you are booking a holiday this year.


I am thinking about booking a family holiday for later in the year, but I am worried about what will happen if we go into another lockdown or further restrictions. What should I look out for?


With the government outlining its road map out of lockdown, many of us will be looking to book that sunny getaway we’ve been dreaming about for the past year. But things aren’t completely certain — so we asked our consumer experts for some top tips to help you maximise your chances of getting away and, if you can’t, ensure you get refunded:


  1. Check the cancellation conditions. The Prime Minister has said the “Roadmap” will be determined by data not dates. If you have to cancel your holiday because you’re self-isolating, you may not be entitled to a refund. If the cancellation is because the national lockdown is extended, you should get a refund but it may take longer than normal to process.
  2. If you are intending to go abroad, check the local entry requirements. You might need a negative test before you fly and may need to self-isolate on arrival. If the destination country imposes new restrictions after you book but the flight is still going, you may not be entitled to a refund because you no longer want to travel. Keep in mind that the UK vaccination programme is much further advanced than many countries so they might not re-open at the same pace and in the same way as the UK.
  3. Make sure you understand the entry requirements to the UK when you return. You might need a negative test before your return flight, or to self-isolate or quarantine when you get back. Things can change quickly and may not be the same when you return as when you booked. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the managed quarantine hotels in the UK are expensive, currently £1,750 for 10 nights (and you could be fined up to £10,000 if you don’t comply).
  4. Pay by credit card if you can manage the repayments. If you put at least the deposit on a credit card, the full amount of the holiday costing more than £100 and up to £30,000 is protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If you don’t have a credit card, pay by debit card rather than by cash, cheque or bank transfer. If things go wrong you can ask the bank to do a chargeback — even though this is voluntary on behalf of the bank, it often works.
  5. If your holiday is cancelled, you may be offered refund credit notes. Some refund credit notes are guaranteed and offer a refund, but they all have time limits. So, make sure the travel agent is protected by The Travel Association (ABTA). Make sure to use the credit notes or claim the refund before the expiry day. You don’t have to accept a refund credit note for cancelled package holidays which must be refunded in full by law within 14 days. And, if your flight is cancelled by the airline, you should be refunded within 7 days.


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Look out for our column next week when we focus on job references.


The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit