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Cars & travel.

23 September 2021

Which? Holiday Checker: Package holiday companies with the best Covid-19 flexible booking

Use our tool before you book for 2021 and beyond to avoid being left out of pocket
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Which?Editorial team

Dreaming about a holiday now quarantine restrictions have eased? The Which? Holiday Checker compares the flexible booking and cancellation policies of more than 70 holiday companies. 

It allows you to find tour operators that should cover you against some of the ways your holiday can be disrupted this year, from changing traffic lights and FCDO advice to future national lockdowns. Companies rated Green will offer refunds or amendment free changes if government advice or quarantine restrictions prevent you from travelling. In contrast, Amber and Red companies could leave you out of pocket if circumstances change.

Use the Which? Holiday Checker tool to avoid being caught out.

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Will my holiday be refunded if Covid-19 prevents travel?

We set six scenarios to score companies on their booking T&Cs. We believe travellers shouldn’t lose money if the FCDO changes its advice, a country moves to the government’s red list, or another national lockdown prevents travel. All travellers have a legal right to a refund within 14 days if their package holiday is cancelled. 

From 4 October, travel restrictions will change – with a single red list of countries and simplified measures for the rest of the world. However, Wales will continue to operate a traffic light system. Tighter measures also remain for travellers who are not fully vaccinated. Therefore, we have continued to assess companies on their willingness to offer fee-free changes if a customer is required to quarantine on return from an amber-list country. Price differences due to seasonal increases or a change of destination will still apply.

Only holiday companies rated Green+ will refund you in full if NHS Test and Trace tells you to self-isolate before departure. Most will ask you to claim on your travel insurance first. That’s why it’s essential to look for policies with comprehensive Covid-19 cover

Why package holidays offer better protection

All inclusive holidays

All information in the tool relates to package holidays only. It is likely to be a package if you book more than one part of your holiday, such as flights and accommodation, from one company with one payment. We recommend booking a package to protect yourself against changing travel restrictions.

Find out more about your rights under the Package Travel Regulations 

Our research

In July 2021, we asked more than 80 of the biggest UK tour operators about their refund and amendment policies in the event of Covid-19 travel disruption. For non responses, we rated companies Red for lack of transparency as it has never been more important to know where you stand before booking. Criteria relates to company policy if travel advice changes after booking but before departure.

Our ratings are based on the policies of companies selling holidays in their capacity as a tour operator only. Some of the companies featured also sell packages organised by other operators. It is always the tour operator that is responsible for your refund or amendment. If there is any doubt, check with your agent before booking.

Only packages that include a flight are Atol protected. If your package holiday does not include flights, ask your tour operator how your money is protected if the company goes bust.

Ratings reflect what companies have told us they are doing now, not how they behaved earlier in the pandemic. Policies are constantly changing as new regulations come to light, so we will continue to update ratings. 

We rely on your feedback to hold companies to account, so please contact us at holidaychecker@which.co.uk if your experience of a company does not meet the commitments given to us. Equally we want to hear from any company that makes changes to its policies.