Another holiday goes bust, meaning no sun 4 their many customers. So how can you keep clear of the same fate? Rochelle Turner has some words of advice.
Oh, please! Not again. I woke up this morning to the news that another holiday company, Sun4U, had gone bust. So yet more people would be left scrambling to find a way home or missing out on a holiday that they had planned. Many others could even be left out of pocket.
Sun4U (and the other company names it used to trade under) offered, as many travel companies do these days, the opportunity to buy a package holiday or one that put together elements separately outside of a package.
To package or not to package?
A non-package holiday can be great for flexibility and can often be cheaper. Since the advent of the internet and the growth in low-cost airlines, this is the way that the majority of us now travel abroad.
Put simply, the problem is that a package offers ATOL protection providing either repatriation or reimbursement, but a non-package doesn’t. More confusingly, some holidays can include ATOL protection for the flight, but not for the accommodation.
ATOL is proposing to reform all this, with the possibility of new laws to protect holidays that include a flight plus another significant holiday element (such as accommodation, car hire or cruise etc). Until then, we need to ask the question, ‘how much of my holiday is ATOL protected?’ before paying for a holiday.
Cover yourself against collapse
Once you have a clear answer to that question, you can decide the level of risk to take. Do you pay with a credit card or a Visa debit card? Yes, it will often cost more, but if you spend over £100 you could get your money back if the holiday company were to go bust.
Do you have insurance? Some insurance policies will pay for holiday company failure. Many don’t of course, but it’s worth checking your policy to be sure.
Volcanic ash, the World Cup and the three S’s of snow, strikes and swine flu have conspired against the travel industry this year and some companies just may not make it to the next one. If you can’t get a holiday, at least make sure you get your money back.