Every summer East Sussex Trading Standards receives hundreds of complaints from dissatisfied holiday-makers whose get-away has been ruined by unexpected problems.
“It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a holiday abroad, but it is important to have all the necessary documents and arrangements in place to make your trip stress free,” said trading standards manager Barnaby Brown.
Before booking residents are advised to buy travel insurance and check that their provider is covered by ABTA or similar travel agent association.
Holiday-makers should be provided with the following information before agreeing to take a holiday from an agent;
• passport and visa requirements that apply to British citizens
• the length of time it is likely to take to obtain appropriate passports and visas
• health formality requirements for the journey and the stay• the arrangements for the security of money paid by the consumer
• the arrangements for the repatriation of holiday-makers in the event of insolvency by any of the holiday component providers
“If you don’t have this information, don’t book,” said Mr Brown. “If something goes wrong, you could end up disappointed and out-of-pocket.”
East Sussex residents are also being warned of websites appearing to be offering international driving licences, which are not legally recognised, or bogus travel authorisation forms.
A UK driving licence is accepted throughout the EU, but those planning a road trip further afield, will need to check if an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required.
All holiday-makers travelling to the United States of America needs to fill out an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) form and should apply via the official page.
Those unfortunate enough to experience problems while on holiday should ensure complaints are made immediately, to give the operator the opportunity to resolve issues. If appropriate take photographs or issues.
Anyone with a dispute can contact Citizens Advice Consumer helpline for advice online or Resolver for advice and help .