Staycations don’t appear to be going anywhere, with current restrictions on foreign travel remaining quite tight.
hile a reasonable excuse is still necessary under Level 5 restrictions for travel outside of the home, these rules might loosen as summer approaches and Covid-19 cases drop.
As such, the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission have put together several tips for consumers to keep in mind before they book their local holiday trip.
Take time to read the terms and conditions
Make sure the terms and conditions are clear before you pay a deposit, or pay in full. Look for the cancellation policy and any references to public health measures – or government advice – that may affect your booking.
Request a copy before you book
If the terms and conditions cannot be found on the business’s website for example, contact them directly and ask for a copy before paying anything. If the business doesn’t have this information available, ask them to confirm the details in writing.
If anything is unclear, contact the business
Make sure you fully understand your rights and obligations before you book. If any important information is given over the phone, follow up with an email confirming the details. This will ensure there is a record of the conversation, which may help in the event that a refund is necessary.
Ask the “what if..?” questions
Many standard terms and conditions may not cover alternative arrangements, or deposit refunds where public health measures prevent a booking from going ahead. These are some scenarios to consider asking about:
- What options are there if the booking is cancelled due to public health measures, or other Covid-19 related circumstances?
- Does the business provide a refund if the booking is cancelled because of government guidance?
- If the consumer feels uncomfortable travelling due to circumstances at the time and wishes to cancel their booking, will they be offered a refund?
- If the consumer is unable to travel due to mandatory quarantine, are they entitled to a refund? If not, what other options are there?
Ask about payment options
Find out if it’s possible to pay in instalments rather than paying up front. It may be worth considering looking for businesses that offer payment closer to departure when there’s more certainty about travel proceeding.
Keep a copy of the terms and conditions
Keep a copy of them at the time of booking as proof of entitlements if there is a change of plans or something goes wrong. For example, if the original terms give a right to a refund, the business is not allowed to change that term without previous agreement.
Do research and be vigilant
Be sure to do research before booking. Watch out for rental accommodation scams. This is where scammers go to a genuine holiday website and put up a fake listing for a place to rent. These scams will try and get people to pay the full rental price or a sizable deposit upfront. Therefore it’s important to do some quick research, check reviews and social media pages before paying either a deposit or providing payment in full.