Monday, 9 August 2010

Monthly feature with the Citizens Advice Bureau

Today, Elizabeth Crompton of St Albans Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) joined us for the monthly CAB feature. As usual, the CAB provided lots of top tips and advice. This month, the area covered was problems on holiday, and here's some of the areas that were talked about:

- whether you're booking direct with an airline, hotel or tour operator, it's a good idea to use the internet to check out independent reviews of the holiday, facilities or destination your considering. Reading a wide range of reviews and views can give you an insight to what you could be letting yourself in for.

- if you've booked through a tour operator and your holiday doesn't live upto your expectations - complain. In the first instance, you could try and rectify a problem with a tour rep who might be based at your hotel or resort. If you can't sort out the issues whilst you are holiday, be sure to report the problems to the tour operator asap upon your return . Take pictures of the problem (for examlpe, problems with hotel rooms and bathrooms, swimming pools or food) and put your complaint in writing. You should ask for compensation for 'loss of enjoyment'. If the tour operator doesn't agree, you should consider taking them to the small claims court or reporting the matter to regulatory bodies.

- Elizabeth then mentioned travel insurance. 1 in 5 people still don't bother with travel insurance and it can be a costly mistake for some. It's so essential, and if you don't have it you could be landed with huge bills, particulary to do with medical expenses should you become ill or have an accident. And for those that do opt for travel insurance, the advice was to shop around and check the small print. It may not be the most interesting of reading, but being sure what you're policy covers and what it doesn't means that you can be sure that you buy travel insurance for covers you for what you need it for, and can save you a nasty shock if something was to go wrong on holiday. EHIC cards are useful for state provided emergency medical treatment in EU countries. This gives you treatment at a reduced cost or sometimes free when temporarily visiting an EU country. You can apply for one at http://www.ehic.org.uk/.

- next we were reminded that if you need help or advice in an emergency abroad you can always contact your Embassy or Consulate based in the country you are visiting. It's a good idea to take the contact details with you of the nearest Embassy or Consulate office to where you'll be staying just incase you need them. For British Citizens, a list of Embassies can be obtained from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at http://www.fco.gov.uk/.

The overall message was that being prepared helps have a happy holiday!

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