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Advice after travel firms collapse

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A Government advice agency is offering tips on booking holidays after the collapse of several travel firms left tourists stranded or out of pocket.

Consumer Direct said it is vital travellers do their homework before booking, as the level of protection available can depend on the type of holiday, method of payment and travel insurance.

The agency said package holidays are generally better protected but advised customers to check whether their trip is covered by a bonding scheme or under the ATOL, ABTA or AITO schemes.

Such schemes usually give financial protection and arrange to get tourists home if the operator or another business involved ceases trading.

When flights and accommodation are booked separately, the advice is to think about travel insurance or paying on a credit card, which will usually see a refund given if the travel firm goes out of business but will not cover replacement travel home.

There is little protection for non-package holidays paid for by debit card. Much will depend on the terms and conditions of the holiday, which the agency said travellers should always check thoroughly.

People buying travel insurance should look for a policy that covers insolvency or includes supply failure cover, Consumer Direct said.

© The Press Association 2008