Can I cancel my holiday if I have to quarantine?

Can you get a refund if your flight is still going ahead? We explain your rights

Holidays may be back on the table but the number of countries that travellers can visit without needing to quarantine on return is dwindling –  the Government's blacklist grows with each passing week.

Many who booked holidays before coronavirus spread around the world will be anxious about exposing themselves to the risk of catching the disease.

Others who may have been willing to take the risk may also be unable to self-isolate for 14 days when they get back home. 

But big trips are often booked months in advance and many will have bought tickets before the pandemic hit.

However, scheduled flights are still going ahead, meaning those unable or unwilling to travel are not automatically entitled to a refund, and hotels will argue that they are still open for business.

This leaves consumers stuck, with many unsure over what their rights are to refunds, compensation and claims from travel insurance.

What are your rights if you booked a holiday but no longer want to go?

You are unlikely to get a cash refund from an insurance policy or travel provider if you change your mind about an existing holiday you booked, said Salman Haqqi of the price comparison firm.

This is especially true since the Foreign & Commonwealth Office does not advise against travelling. There will be little grounds for travel companies, including airlines, hotels and holiday operators, to be responsible for the costs.

Some insurance providers may cover you if you have pre-existing medical conditions and booked before the pandemic but it's worth checking your policy before making any decisions.

You may also be covered if your premium includes coronavirus-related cancellations due to quarantine rules. 

But in most cases you are likely to bear the full brunt of the cost as it is your decision not to make use of your purchase when the holiday is able to go ahead. 

However, there is a chance that you can move the dates to a time when you might like to go away. 

Emma Coulthurst, of holiday price comparison site Travelsupermarket, said that if you don’t want to go away on a trip, your best bet is to speak to the company or airline and ask to delay your holiday.

She said: “Due to these unprecedented times, many tour operators and airlines are allowing people to change the dates of their holidays or flights without any charge other than if there is a fare difference with the new trip.”

The risk of a second wave means that it may be difficult to say when you will feel comfortable travelling again but postponing your trip is likely to be a better option than being entirely out of pocket.

If there is a regional lockdown at your destination then you may also be unable to claim a refund for a holiday. 

But depending on how you book and who you book with, you may be able to ensure that you will not lose out entirely if the trip is cancelled. If local hotels cancel, then you should be due a full refund. 

Some travel operators are offering the flexibility to cancel trips with full refunds “no questions asked” up to seven days before departure, including travel firm Audley Travel. 

Don’t forget that if you make bookings on your credit card and the airline or the hotel cancel on you, you can ask your credit card provider for a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

The section is a legal act that protects you when you spend on your credit card but the value of the ticket must be between £100 and £30,000 to make a claim.

If you booked with a debit card you may be able to make a claim using the Chargeback scheme. This gives people a chance of getting their money back from their bank if a service has not been provided. This will only get you your ticket cost back, and will take time. 

It also relies on the airline, hotel or tour operator cancelling on you and does not apply if the flight is still running or the hotel is open for business.