Your Holiday Cancellation Rights

What are your holiday cancellation rights?

By Amy Harker, Editor at Last updated 25th April 2024.

Amy Harker

If you need to cancel your holiday, it's important you understand your rights before discussing cancellations with your travel agent or insurer. Here is a guide on cancelling your holiday.

When can you cancel your holiday package?

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

To receive a refund, they have to have made a change to your:

  • Accommodation
  • Travel dates
  • Flights

If the price of your holiday increases after you have booked and you are urged to shell out more, you can cancel your booking and get a full refund.

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

Many travel agents allow you to cancel within an established period, but you will usually have to pay a cancellation fee.

How much is a cancellation fee?

This depends on when your holiday is planned; the longer there is to go, the higher the chance you will receive a refund, for example:

  • 90 days before: the money you put down as a deposit will be lost
  • 60 days before: 50% of the cost of your holiday will be lost
  • 30 days before: 70% of the cost of your holiday will be lost
  • 10 days before: 100% of the cost of your holiday will be lost

Cancelling your flights and accommodation

If your hotel or airline makes important changes to your booking, you should be able to cancel without paying any charges.

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

However, some airlines will:

  • Give you a partial refund
  • Allow you to move your flight
  • Let you reclaim any airport tax paid

Other airlines (particularly budget airlines), may not offer any of these options, although you will still be able to make use of a return flight if you are unable to make the outward journey.

Your accommodation provider may offer you some flexibility. However, this depends on 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 great way to get your money back if the person you are transferring your holiday to is willing to cover the whole cost.

Talk to your holiday company to ask for the transfer. The majority of providers will only let you transfer your holiday if you provide plenty of notice; normally at least 28 days before your departure date.

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

What if your provider goes bankrupt?

If you have reserved a package holiday and your tour operator goes bankrupt, you will usually be covered by your insurance.

If your package includes flights

You should not worry since you are protected under the Civil Aviation Authority's (CCA) Air Travel Organisers' Licencing (ATOL) scheme.

You can apply for compensation by going to the ATOL website.

If your package does not include flights

You should also be protected. You will be covered by the trade association that your travel operator is a member of, which will usually 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. However, you can only claim if your travel insurance policy includes cancellation cover.

The information provided does not constitute financial advice, it’s always important to do your own research to ensure a financial product is right for your circumstances. If you’re unsure you should contact an independent financial advisor.