• >
  • Travel Insurance>
  • Guides>
  • What are your holiday cancellation rights?

What are your holiday cancellation rights?

Matt Fernell photo
Written by Matt Fernell, Financial Content Writer

6 February 2019

If you need to cancel your holiday it is important to know where you stand before you speak to your travel agent or insurer. Here are your rights when you have to cancel your holiday.

Woman on phone at airport

When can you cancel your package holiday?

If your travel operator changes the terms and conditions of your packaged holiday you can cancel and get a full refund.

To get a refund they have to have made a change to your:

  • Travel dates

  • Accommodation

  • Flights

If the price of your holiday goes up after you have booked and you are asked to pay more, you can cancel your booking and get a full refund.

Even if there have been no changes to your booking you could still get a refund, but this depends on the terms and conditions of your booking.

This guide explains your rights if your flights are cancelled due to strike action.

Most travel agents let you cancel within a set period but you will usually have to pay a cancellation fee.

How much is a cancellation fee?

This depends on when your holiday is due to take place. The longer there is to go, the higher the chance you will get a refund. For example:

  • 90 days before: lose the money you put down as a deposit

  • 60 days before: lose 50% of the cost of your holiday

  • 30 days before: lose 70% of the cost of your holiday

  • 10 days before: lose 100% of the cost of your holiday

Cancelling your flights and accommodation

If your hotel or airline makes significant changes to your booking you should be able to cancel without paying a fee.

Beyond this you do not have any legal rights to cancel and you will be bound by your booking terms and conditions.

Some airlines will either:

  • Give you a partial refund

  • Allow you to transfer your flight

  • Let you reclaim any airport tax paid

Others (particularly budget airlines) may refuse to offer any of these options, although you will still be able to use a return flight if you are unable to make the outward journey.

Your accommodation provider may give you some flexibility, but this is down to their in-house policy, so it is still worth contacting the airline or hotel to discuss your options.

Transfer your holiday to someone else

This is a good way to get some of your money back if the person you are transferring your holiday to is willing to pay.

Contact your holiday company to request the transfer. Most providers will only let you transfer your holiday if you give plenty of notice, usually at least 28 days before your departure date.

You will be charged a fee for transferring your booking into someone else's name, usually between £50 and £100 per passenger.

What if your provider goes bust?

If you have booked a package holiday and your tour operator goes bust you will usually be covered.

If your package includes flights

You should be protected under the Civil Aviation Authority's (CCA) Air Travel Organisers' Licencing (ATOL) scheme.

You can apply for compensation through the ATOL website.

If you are unsure if the travel operator you are using is covered by ATOL, you can use this tool to search the ATOL database.

Civil Aviation Authority website — ATOL protection

If your package does not include flights

You should still be protected. You will be protected by the trade association your travel operator is a member of, which will normally be the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

You will need to arrange your refund through your travel agent.

Can you claim through your travel insurance?

Yes, but only if your travel insurance policy includes cancellation cover.

Here is when you can claim on your travel insurance for cancellation, including what you are covered for.

Make sure you get the best possible cover when you go away by comparing travel insurance deals. You can find the cover you need at the right price whatever your travel plans.

Compare travel insurance

You may also like

  • Does travel insurance cover cancellation?
  • Do you need travel insurance?
  • Should you get single trip or annual travel insurance?
  • How to get travel insurance with pre-existing conditions
  • How to make a travel insurance claim