What are my travel refund rights?

The phrase ‘should I say or should I go’ from the well-known song by The Clash has taken on a whole new meaning in 2021, especially if you’re desperate to escape these shores for an overseas break. 

Last week the government removed Portugal from its travel green list and added more countries to the red list, meaning that would-be tourists need to think very carefully about whether to spend their hard-earned cash on booking a trip for themselves and their loved ones.

SW&A have rounded up some key points to guide you through the current situation. 

  • Will I be refunded if my holiday is cancelled? If the government announces that travel to a particular country is not advised, then airlines and travel companies are likely to cancel any pre-booked flights or holidays there. If this happens, you are entitled to a full refund and you can choose to receive that refund in cash.
  • Can I cancel my holiday if I have to self-isolate on my return? There is always a risk that a green list country may move to the amber or red list. If this happens you will need to quarantine after your holiday and operators do not have to refund you if you are unexpectedly forced to self-isolate. Study the small print closely before booking or see whether they can offer some support if you want to cancel.
  • What if I decide it’s too risky to travel? This is less straightforward. If you cancel, rather than the travel provider doing so, then you have no automatic right to a refund. In this situation, it is worth contacting the airline or holiday provider to see what options you have. Some may allow you to transfer to another date or destination.
  • Does my insurance cover me in an amber list country? Anyone planning to travel to a country on the amber list should look up their proposed destination on the Foreign Office list. If it advises against travel to a certain country, then travel insurance would be invalid in nearly every case. Remember it is always worth having an EHIC (or the updated GHIC) card to cover healthcare in EU countries.
  • Will travel insurance cover me if I get Covid? Travel insurers are offering different levels of cover. The majority, but not all providers, will pay out if you test positive for Covid and cancel before you travel. If a positive or missed Covid test stops you from boarding a flight back to the UK, only about one in 10 policies will cover you for costs.