Package Holidays – be prepared!
News article published on: 15th January 2020
Now that Christmas is over and we are moving swiftly through January, thoughts turn to the next big holiday, and for many of us, this will be a package holiday.
A package holiday: what does it mean?
Package holidays are compiled by a tour operator and sold to you through a travel agent. According to ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, there are different types of package holiday which can all be broadly defined as a vacation that combines at least two of these travel services:
- Car rental
- A tourist service such as a guided tour
These services may be ready-made by your travel company and put together for a single price, or may be tailor-made, where you choose your required services before paying for them together.
Why choose a package holiday?
There are several benefits to choosing a package holiday, rather than creating your own holiday by selecting your airline and accommodation independently. Package holidays are convenient with the big-ticket items covered together in one payment, which also generally makes them good value. They also provide peace of mind: the fixed price means that you will not be caught out by the volatile pound in the light of Brexit. Perhaps most importantly, when you buy a package holiday, you have automatic rights under the Package Travel Regulations, which protect you if the company goes out of business or if your holiday wasn’t as expected. For this reason, package holidays offer the best form of financial protection.
Finally, many package holiday providers are upping their game, from the cliched offering of ‘chips with everything, British enclave abroad’ that dates from the last century. Modern package holidays can include healthy food, beautiful hotels and stunning locations and excursions that are good value for money.
Most common injuries on a package holiday.
Across the world, injuries are a frequent cause of harm and death. As people travel, so do injuries: you can be injured while on a package holiday just as you can be injured at home. And just as at home, the injury causes can be mundane or highly traumatic, resulting in injuries of varying severity and permanence.
Review of the data shows that accidents are one of the main causes of death and injury while travelling abroad, with fatalities greater among tourists when compared to local residents. The most common cause of death or injury was trauma from motor vehicle traffic accidents. In addition, injuries from other vehicle accidents arose from collisions with quad bikes, jet skis and other types of vehicle which resulted in fractures, limb loss, spinal cord damage and brain injury.
The second most common cause of death or injury is drowning. This is hardly surprising as according to the Royal Life Saving Society, every year, UK citizens drown on holiday abroad and many more suffer injury and life-changing harm in the water, both in swimming pools and in the sea. Even relatively innocuous water activities can lead to injury. For example, collisions on water slides and slips on wet surfaces can cause serious harm, such as spinal injury, head trauma, fractures and dislocations.
Other causes of fatal or non-fatal injury while abroad include:
- Air and water transportation accidents such as being struck by falling luggage
- Burns and scalds
- Food poisoning
- Heat stroke
What are your rights if you are injured while on a package holiday?
Being injured while on a package holiday means that you are entitled to support that you would not otherwise have if booking your holiday independently. The organiser of your package holiday must assist you without delay. This help could include giving you information about available health services and how to get assistance from the UK consul abroad. They should also assist you in making any necessary alternative travel arrangements.
If the injury was caused by something you did then the organiser may be entitled to charge a fee to provide this assistance, but it must be reasonable. In this case, they may not have to pay any compensation for your accident. However, if your injury was due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim.
How to claim for a personal injury
Claiming for a personal injury suffered abroad can be more complex than claiming for an injury sustained in the UK. You are covered by laws and have different rights depending on your circumstances.
If you booked a Package Holiday, in case you have an accident abroad, you are better protected, as the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations are applicable. Regardless of where in the world your accident happened you can pursue the claim in the English court against the tour operator. Even if the accident was for example a hotel’s fault, you can still pursue the claim against the Tour Operator you purchased your holiday from. Compensation is calculated based on English law, which in most cases is far more favourable to the injured person. I’m always happy to chat about personal situations, over the phone as I have found that sometimes those I speak are not totally clear about their holiday booking arrangement.
Blog post written by Magdalena Knez
 McInnes, Williamson and Morrison. ‘Unintentional Injury during Foreign Travel: A Review. Journal of Travel Medicine, Volume 9, Number 5. p. 297-307