Essential tips and information for travellers who want to avoid the holiday from hell
Holidays are a time for you to relax, unwind and forget about your worries, so we know that a bad experience during your break can be traumatic and stressful. All too often, trips away to destinations that are billed to be tranquil and calming turn out to be places that are unsatisfactory, poorly maintained or dangerous, leading to incidents beyond your control that ruin the holiday.
We want holiday-goers to get the absolute best out of their time abroad, and know that if something goes wrong during your time away due to an act of negligence, there are plans in place for you to earn some recompense for what you had to go through. Maybe you suffered an injury or illness while on holiday and need to know what steps to take next. Maybe you’re making plans for a summer getaway and want to know well in advance what to keep in mind if something does not meet expectations. Either way, understanding that the power is still in your hands if your holiday doesn’t go as planned can give you peace of mind – as well as the potential to earn back compensation.
So many holidays nowadays are deemed package holidays, in which travel companies put together many aspects of a trip abroad – such as the flights, accommodation and dates – and sell the combined services together. These packages will always be billed as luxurious and desirable, but if an aspect of the holiday does not meet your expectations or deliver on promises made by the travel agent, there could well be grounds for a compensation claim.
Your entitlement to compensation will be down to various factors and information, but it can be boiled down into three areas. Firstly, a loss of enjoyment claim often centres around the features offered in the package not meeting the expectations made by the travel agent. Loss of enjoyment could be attributed to all manner of things – from guaranteed transport not arriving, to the hotel swimming pool being drained for the duration of your stay. While there is not much that can be done if you simply didn’t enjoy your holiday or the weather wasn’t up to scratch, it’s a very different story if misleading promotions or unfulfilled promises were involved.
Secondly, loss of value is a rather self-explanatory grounds for compensation claims. If an area of your holiday that was included in the package goes unfulfilled or was not up to the standard required, there may well be scope to make a claim. Regular issues in loss of value cases include an incorrect hotel room (receiving a single instead of the double that was promised, for example), or the unavailability of services at the hotel or resort you are occupying. If a loss of value can be proved, the compensation you receive will equate to the value you lost in the incident.
Out-of-pocket expenses is a similar area for package holiday claims, in which holiday-goers are reimbursed for any money they had to spend to make up for issues out of their control – such as paying for hotel rooms, transport, or meals if a holiday fails to deliver on its “all-inclusive” offer. Delays or cancellations of flights also entail a certain level of recompense for those affected, depending the area of the world you are in and how long you were left stranded. Even incidents that happen during your flight could well be covered, too, thanks to The Montreal Convention law.
Personal Injury Or Illness
An injury or illness can completely ruin your holiday. But there is a system in place to earn back your hard-earned holiday money if the incident was not your fault.
Establishing your right to make a claim abroad is a very similar process to incidents that occur at home. Successful claims abroad are all about proving that the accident was not your fault, could have been avoided, and the staff involved were negligent. Important factors such as the area the incident took place will play a large part in the validity of your claim. For example, if you picked up a bad case of food poisoning at the restaurant in the hotel your package holiday includes, the organiser could well be held responsible – but if you ate at a restaurant away from the hotel or complex, the travel agent would hold no responsibility.
A similar logic applies to injuries. Say you suffer a nasty fall at your hotel, if the fall was due to slipping on an unmarked water spillage, the hotel or the organiser can be held to account. However, if you slip and fall after sprinting around the swimming pool area, complete with signs and instructions to stop people running, then the chances are the responsibility will be placed on you.
Top Tips For Ensuring A Strong Claim
Stay calm and prepare a claim – especially with injuries or illnesses, it’s only natural to feel frustrated when your holiday is snatched away from you through no fault of your own. However, try not to let that frustration get in the way of earning back what is rightfully yours. Report your situation to your holiday rep or hotel manager, take relevant photographs and keep a record of any important information like medical records or bills. Doing all of this will do wonders for supporting your case.
Be wary of immediate compensation – if you make a solid complaint about facilities or sustain an injury on holiday, hotels may often look to offer you compensation informally before you make a claim. The offer made to you could well be uninformed and derisory, so while it may be tempting to immediately take the money, making an official claim is the legally sound (and usually more rewarding) process to use.
Independent travellers – if an incident takes place on a holiday you organised and not a package holiday, you are only protected by general consumer law. This can make it more difficult to place the blame on another party if something goes wrong that wasn’t your fault, so take every precaution when planning your trip and log as much information as possible.
Get expert advice – once you’re back home and mulling over what to do next, contacting a personal injury company for legal advice as soon as possible is recommended. As we’ve already mentioned, accidents that happen abroad can create a whole new level of complication, so get the opinion of expert lawyers and let them work with you to help ease the stress you were caused while on holiday.
About the author: Carl Waring is the head solicitor at Mayiclaim solicitors and has over 25 years of experience in compensation claims and legal disputes.