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There are many web based travel agents advertising summer deals which include all the elements of a great holiday, apparently for a fraction of the price offered by the tour operators.
The crucial point to consider when booking your holiday is whether you will be properly protected if things go wrong.
Tour operator vs Booking your holiday online
If you book a package holiday via a tour operator, The Package Travel Regulations 1992 act means that the operator has a statutory duty to ensure that each element of the package is of a reasonable standard and a reasonable level of safety.
The Regulations apply to all elements of your holiday, even those provided via suppliers employed by the tour operator (e.g. hotels or other accommodation providers). This means that if you are injured or suffer illness as a result of a hotel’s negligence, you are entitled to bring a claim against the tour operator under English law.
If your holiday is not a package, the booking company has no legal duty to you at all and cannot be held liable in the event that you are injured or fall ill. In this situation your only option would be to pursue the accommodation provider directly.
This can be a very difficult, complex and costly process as any such claim would likely be governed by the law of the country in which the injury or illness occurred. It can also mean that there are different (often lower!) applicable safety standards and shorter time limits to bring a claim.
Is my holiday covered by the Package Travel Regulations?
For the purposes of the Package Travel Regulations, a package holiday is defined as a pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following:
- other tourist services not related to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package
Is my ‘package holiday’ really a ‘package holiday’?
If you have booked your holiday using a web-based agent who provides all aspects of the holiday, it is easy to assume that it has been booked as a ‘package’ and that you have the protection of the Regulations. However, it is becoming increasingly common for agents to offer holidays that are not packages.
The holidays may appear exactly the same, both having flights, transfers and accommodation included, but it is important to consider the description of the booking very carefully. If terms like ‘tailor-made holiday’ or ‘flight plus hotel offer’ are used, these may not be package holidays. It may well be the case that, although the booking is made via a single agent, it actually involves various contracts with different providers for each element of the holiday. It is a good idea to check when you make the booking so that you can go away with total peace of mind.
Personal injury advice following an accident on holiday abroad
If you are injured or become ill whilst on holiday abroad, it is advisable to seek specialist advice as soon as possible. Contact our team of expert personal injury lawyers, your first meeting with us, whether at home, the hospital or at our offices, will always be completely free and you can reach us 24 hours a day on 0800 634 1777.