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Travel companies you can trust

Should you book a summer holiday now, should you wait, will it/won’t it be cancelled, what does Matt/Grant/Boris/Nicky think? Who the hell knows, I certainly don’t but hey, if you want something to look forward to then book with a travel company you can trust so you’ve got nothing to lose.

When millions of holidays were cancelled last year, millions of us waited months for refunds – unbelievably some are STILL waiting. But at least now we know which travel companies to avoid and which to give our money to.

While almost every travel company struggled to provide refunds within the legal time-frame last summer, several responded faster than others – and received tons of praise from customers.

One such company is Jet2holidays. It has just been awarded the Platinum Trusted Service Award for the second year running by Feefo, one of the biggest online review sites and, in my opinion, one of the best.

Unlike other review sites, Feefo only accepts reviews from customers who have paid for a product or service, so you can be fairly sure its reviews are genuine.

Feefo gave Jet2holidays a score of 4.7 out of 5 based on 600 reviews received last year and customer feedback over the previous three years.

“In times like these it so good to find a company that gives great reliable service with security” – Jet2holidays customer Barry Norton

TUI – the UK’s biggest tour operator and Jet2holidays’ closest rival – has a Feefo rating of 4.3 out of 5 based on 200 reviews.

Not all companies are signed up to receive reviews from Feefo, but you can check out recommendations from trusted consumer groups such as Which? and MoneySavingExpert.

Jet2holidays is also highly rated by both these organisations.

 

 

Online travel agents like lastminute, Teletext and loveholidays have really given customers the run around during the pandemic and have the worst records on refunds. Unbelievably I heard someone say that she’d re-booked with loveholidays, even after struggling to get her money back, because they’re so cheap. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? If a company has given you bad service, don’t give them the chance to do it again.

I’d also avoid foreign travel agents that sell online in the UK, simply because it makes it harder to take legal action against them and you might incur hefty legal fees. Make sure any company you book with has an ATOL (look for the logo) and you should be fine.

 

Look for flexible cancellation policies

There’s no doubt that booking any holiday for 2021 is risky but if you want to get something in the diary remember that if you book a package you’ll have the highest level of protection.

A package is usually a flight plus one other element, usually accommodation or a tour (but not a day trip) which are booked and paid for in the same transaction.

You should also book with a company with a flexible cancellation policy, just in case Covid disrupts you travel plans.

 

travel companies trust

Always pay with plastic

If you pay by card, you’ll have an added layer of protection if things go wrong. This applies even if you buy from a foreign agent, as long as they market their services in the UK.

Credit card is best since then (under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act) your card issuer will be obliged to refund you if your travel company doesn’t deliver, but a debit card will also give you some protection under the ‘chargeback scheme’.

Remember that the credit card should be in your name or the name of someone on your booking to get the maximum amount of protection – if someone not on your booking pays, you won’t be covered by S75, although you will still have some protection under the chargeback scheme.



Always buy insurance immediately

It’s never been more important to have travel insurance now there are even more things to disrupt your holiday. You might get Covid, be forced to self-isolate, or the person you’re planning to stay with might be forced into quarantine.

You should buy a policy as soon as you book your holiday so you benefit from cancellation cover – it doesn’t make sense to forgo this, you don’t save much (if anything) if you wait till the last minute to buy cover.

Read the policy carefully since not all policies cover you for everything and none will cover you if you can’t travel due to government restrictions, which is why it’s important to book a package (see above).

Here’s a guide to finding the best Covid insurance.

Linsey McNeill

A journalist and travel writer of 35 years' standing, a once-a-week yogi, terrible skier and out-of-order mum to 2 teens. Previously Editor of TravelMole.com, bylines also include The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, the London Evening Standard, Which? and The South China Morning Post.

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