With holidays to the United States reopening from 8 November, many will be planning long-awaited trips, be it for Thanksgiving, visiting family or a shopping trip to the “Big Apple”.
ATOL has issued advice on protecting holidays to the US. Here’s what you need to know:
Book an ATOL protected trip
Every travel company that sells package holidays in the UK is required to hold an ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence. The scheme also applies to some flight bookings.
If a travel company with an ATOL ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who have booked package holidays with them, making sure they don’t get stuck abroad or lose money.
Before booking, you should always check that your travel provider is a legitimate ATOL holder. You can do this on the UK Civil Aviation Authority website.
When you book, your travel company will provide you with an ATOL certificate, which tells you what you are protected against if your travel company ceases trading, and shows exactly which parts of your booking are ATOL protected.
Use a credit card when booking
Using a credit card allows consumers to benefit from enhanced purchase protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
This means if you pay for your flight or hotel with a credit card and something goes awry, in many cases your credit card issuer should provide you with your money back (as long as the purchase is between £100-£30,000).
Take out travel insurance
Travel insurance can provide extra protection if your holiday doesn’t go as planned.
It can protect you from a variety of things going wrong on your trip, from cancellations, missed transport, medical emergencies and lost/stolen items. Always check the insurance terms and conditions for full details of cover.
Without travel insurance, consumers are responsible for paying to deal with most issues whilst away or could lose money already paid if they have to cancel their trip.
Travel insurance is widely available online and different types of cover should be considered.
Follow COVID-19 restrictions
Across the United States COVID-19 restrictions can vary depending on state and even city. In many areas there are mask mandates and vaccine requirements, so make sure to check the restrictions at the destination frequently to avoid any surprises.
Further information can be found at GOV.UK
Michael Budge, Head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
“With travel to the US reopening and the wider travel situation continuing to improve, many people will be excited to travel again and keen to financially protect their trip.
“Booking an ATOL protected holiday, paying by credit card and taking out travel insurance provides extra certainty that holidaymakers can book with confidence and get back to travelling again.”
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