How many more holiday companies will go bust? The answer….. quite a lot probably!

As we kiss goodbye to Kiss flights, we throw them on to the pile of broken holiday companies such as Destinations for Africa, Monster travel, Goldtrail, Sun4U and many more who have gone under this summer.

The scary thing is the last two words in the above sentence “this summer”. It is the summer when travel firms have the most cash and shouldn’t go bust. They should be sitting on large cash balances from customers waiting to travel over the summer period.

What this means is that, unfortunately, there are a number of travel companies who will probably be using this temporary positive cash flow to keep them going when they are actually doomed. As the Autumn progresses and the bookings start to dry up so will the cash flow and more travel companies are likely to hit the wall.

So as a consumer what can you do to protect yourself when you are booking your next holiday? Here are some recommended steps:-

1) Make sure that your holiday is ATOL protected so if the tour operator or airline go bump you will get a refund (or get repatriated free of charge if you are left stranded overseas).

2) If you are using a travel agent then make sure they are ABTA protected.

3) Pay on a credit card rather than debit card as sometimes your credit card company will be able to get a refund for you

4) Take out high end travel insurance. While it probably won’t cover you for the whole cost of the holiday they can cover you for ancillary costs (such as hotel stays etc..) if there are delays on flights.

5) Search for any signs of financial problems with the company that you are looking to book with. Search on google for terms such as the “[name of holiday company] redundancies” and “[name of holiday company] financial loss”

6) Look for holiday companies that sell what the industry call “long haul” holidays. These are holidays that are to far away destinations outside Europe. These companies are likely to have much smoother sales throughout the year rather than the the feast and famine that can kill short haul travel companies.

7) Do not book with any companies that are a lot cheaper than other companies. If there is a holiday company that is significantly cheaper than prices advertised elsewhere then they are likely to be trading on wafer thin margins. This means they won’t have much of a buffer when things go wrong. It is better to pay £50 more for your holiday and enjoy it rather than lose the whole cost of the holiday.

There are many thousands of travel companies in the UK and probably only a dozen or two will go bust over the next few months and so you will be very unlucky if you pick the wrong one. Hopefully if you follow the tips above you will decrease your chances of being one of the unlucky ones.

To book an ATOL protected holiday from an ABTA regulated travel agent then of course you can always try Holidays Please!

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