We’ve booked a package holiday to Spain. It’s our first time booking this sort of getaway, and a friend recently had a terrible experience when things went wrong on a similar trip. What sort of help is available if something does go wrong?

Hopefully you’ll have a lovely time but if something does go wrong with your package holiday, the Citizens Advice website has lots of information about what to do if something goes wrong with your holiday and what compensation you may be eligible for.

Firstly, tell the company or travel agent you booked with as soon as possible. This way you’re more likely to be able to get it sorted quicker. If you don’t say anything until you get home, you might get less or no compensation at all.

If the holiday you went on turned out to be lower in value than the one you originally booked you can make a claim for ‘loss of value’. For example you paid for a deluxe room but only got a standard one, if it wasn’t sorted out at the time you can claim back the difference in value.

You can also claim compensation for any extra money you have to spend while away, for example the hotel was a bus ride away from the beach rather than across the road as advertised. This is called claiming for ‘out-of-pocket expenses’. If this does happen make sure you keep all your receipts for things like bus journeys.

If big parts of the trip you booked didn’t happen or services weren’t provided, for example a planned two-day excursion was cancelled and no alternative was organised, you can make a claim for ‘loss of enjoyment’. You can also make this claim if something happens that causes you distress or disappointment, such as the pool was closed for the whole trip.

It’s worth noting that there’s no there’s no strict guidance on how much you can claim for loss of enjoyment but any claim you make must be reasonable. You can’t get compensation if you simply didn’t enjoy the holiday or if the problem was out of the holiday company’s control – like bad weather.

Check the information you received when you made the booking to see what you’re supposed to get. If you don’t get the service you’ve been promised, you may be entitled to compensation for breach of contract.

You might also be able to claim from your travel insurance – check if your policy covers this.

If you’re still not sure what to do, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline 0808 223 1133 or talk to an adviser online through the Citizens Advice website.

Copyright Citizens Advice. The advice provided in this advice column was published 12 June 2023. For the most up-to-date advice, please visit our Citizens Advice public site.

Skip to content
Give feedback...