Package holiday problems

If your package holiday is cancelled or any part, such as the hotel, is changed significantly before you leave, you have the right to:

  • a refund, with no cancellation fee
  • accept an inferior quality substitute and get a refund for the price difference
  • accept an equivalent or superior holiday without having to pay more.

Will my package holiday still be covered after Brexit?

Be aware this is an area of consumer rights that could be affected by Brexit. We will update this information once we know more about how we will depart from the EU.

If the withdrawal agreement is approved by the EU and UK, it's been agreed that consumer rights will remain unchanged until the terms of the future relationship between the UK and the EU are decided. This transitional period will last from the day the UK leaves the EU to 31 December 2020.

In a no-deal Brexit scenario, EU traders selling holiday packages or linked travel arrangements in or to the UK will be required to comply with the insolvency protection requirements under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 (PTR 2018) in the same way as all other traders. This means if the company you booked your package with goes bust, you’ll be protected.

But if a package travel organiser is not based in the UK, or does not direct its business to the UK, you should ask for clear information, including on the level of insolvency protection, before you commit to the purchase. You won't be protected by PTR 2018 but you may be covered by insolvency protections in the member state of the European Union.

Bear in mind that taking enforcement action against any seller based outside the UK after Brexit is likely to be more difficult than is currently the case.

Read our guide on how Brexit could impact consumer rights for more information.

Change of accommodation

Under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, if a tour operator makes a significant change to your accommodation, they must:

  • give you the choice of accepting the change (with a downward price adjustment if it’s a lesser hotel)
  • offer you a refund, with no cancellation fee.

You do not have to pay for an enforced upgrade. The Regulations say the tour operator is responsible for the hotel owner’s actions, so they have to make suitable alternative arrangements for the continuation of the package.

Any changes should be at no extra cost to the holiday-maker. So if the only alternative accommodation is more expensive, the tour operator will have to pay.

Top tips

If you have paid extra money for an enforced upgrade, you should claim it back.

Depending on the circumstances, you may also be entitled to compensation. The regulations allow you to claim compensation to cover any loss of enjoyment or inconvenience you may have suffered, for example, if you lost a day's holiday sorting things out and moving hotels.

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

Change of holiday cost

Once a holiday is confirmed, a tour operator can only increase the cost if all of the following conditions are met:

  • It says in the terms and conditions that the price increase might happen
  • They’re as a result of the rise in the cost of fuel or other power sources
  • The taxes or fees imposed by other third parties are increased, like tourist taxes, port or airport fees
  • The exchange rates relevant to the package increase

If the pay increase equals 8% or more of the total cost of your package holiday, you must be told at least 20 days before the holiday is due to start and be provided a clear calculation of the price rise.

If you don’t want to pay an increase of 8% or more, you can cancel the booking without termination fees.

Cancelled holiday

Your holiday is covered by an Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL), which means you will be refunded if your holiday is cancelled because a firm goes bust.

If your holiday is cancelled for other reasons, you have three options under the Package Travel Regulations. You can:

  • take a package of equal or superior quality from the operator
  • take a package of lower quality and recover the difference in price between the packages
  • receive a full refund.

Claiming compensation

If changes are due to circumstances beyond your holiday company’s control (such as war or earthquakes) then you are not normally entitled to compensation.

But if the company knew of a problem and let you go anyway, you may be able to claim for stress or disappointment. This may include any day's holiday you lose by sorting things out or moving accommodation.

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