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4 March 2021

Can I cancel my holiday due to unrest or natural disaster?

You’re unlikely to get a refund if you cancel your trip because of safety fears, unless the FCO advises against 'all but essential' travel.
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Which?Editorial team

Check Foreign Office travel advice

If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) says it's unsafe to travel, tour operators will cancel your trip. You should be offered an alternative holiday or given a full refund.

However, if the FCO doesn't give an official warning against travel, your tour operator may decide it's fine to go ahead, even if you don't want to go. 

In this case, you won't usually be able to get a refund. If you're worried about travelling, you can always talk to your travel company and ask if you can postpone or book an alternative holiday.

Essential travel

If the FCO has not advised against 'all but essential' travel to the area, your insurance company is also unlikely to pay out if you decide to cancel or curtail your trip because of safety fears.

Package holidays

If you've booked a package holiday that might be affected by serious problems locally, but your tour operator refuses to refund you. you can argue that your enjoyment and relaxation will be ruined and that you’d be entitled to compensation under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.

Complain about a holiday

If you booked a holiday and it didn’t go how you planned, we can help you make a claim.

Complain about a holiday

What if I'm already abroad?

If you’re currently on holiday and your trip has been affected by a natural disaster, civil unrest or other serious threat to public safety, contact your travel agent for advice. 

The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 obliges your tour operator to: 

  • Make suitable alternative arrangements, at no extra cost to you, for the continuation of the package and will, where appropriate, compensate you for any differences in cost between the holiday you paid for and the one you had.
  • If it’s impossible to make arrangements, or you have to reject the options given to you for a good reason, your tour operator must provide you with equivalent transport back to where you departed. If this isn't possible, it should compensate you for any extra travel costs.

In an emergency, you can also contact the local British consulate for help.

Key Information

Can I claim on my travel insurance?

Check your policy to see whether you’re covered if there is a natural disaster, unrest, or another. A lot of standard travel policies may not cover you for extreme or unexpected circumstances.