Thousands of us are making simple mistakes when booking our holidays - and it's costing us a fortune, according to insurance experts.
Forgetting essential details such as travel insurance, visas and falling foul of online scams are all too common these days - despite the fact that it doesn't take much to protect ourselves, says Lauren Haas, a solicitor in the travel claims team at BL Claims Solicitors.
Lauren says: "The vast majority of holidaymakers experience no problems – but for the unlucky few, a dream holiday can turn into a nightmare, especially if you're not covered properly. It's far better to think ahead now and spend a bit of time on the tedious details than to rush through the booking process and regret it later."
Here's her quick holiday checklist.
1. Are you covered?
It may seem like obvious preparation for your trip, but does your insurance covers you for all the activities you want to get involved with while you're away? Some adventure sports and experiences like diving or quad-biking often require extra insurance. Also, don't forget that popular holiday destinations like Turkey and Egypt aren't in the EU, so if you're planning on sunning yourself on their beaches you'll need to get hold of extended cover.
It's often easier to plan ahead and book your excursions with a UK tour operator before you jet off. If you book with a local company on arrival and pay them in cash, you may not be covered by the same protections as you would with a UK company.
3. Take your credit cards
If you're going to be spending over £100 on anything while you're away, you may be better off paying by credit card as it will offer extra protection and rights compared to a debit card or cash.
4. Is your passport valid?
It's another obvious question, but it could end up ruining your holiday. Not having the right documents could mean you are refused entry to the country. Visas are often needed to travel to countries outside of the EU, so make sure you've got everything you need before you leave. Don't rely on your tour operator for this because if you try and travel on out of date documents you will find it very difficult to claim any compensation.
5. Make copies of everything
While you are away make sure you have copies of all your documentation and keep them separate from the originals. If disaster strikes and you lose your passport it'll be much easier to resolve if you have a copy as proof.
6. Beware of scams
Booking holiday accommodation over the internet is really handy, but it can also be risky. Remember that some sites are just acting as agents for the owners and are not liable for anything that goes wrong. There have been horror stories where unfortunate holidaymakers have booked to stay in a holiday home that doesn't really exist. Keep an eye out for companies like Western Union, who are often used in scams. It could be well worth your time to take out insurance protecting yourself against fraud.
7. Cover yourself
If you are booking a package holiday then you are likely to be covered by extra regulations and protection if anything goes wrong. While booking your flights and hotel separately may be cheaper at the time it could end up costing you a lot in the long run if one of the companies goes out of business, in which case you are unlikely to be as well covered by your insurance.
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