Holiday trips can be meticulously planned with itineraries detailed to a tee yet some globe-trotters choose to leave everything to chance. This can mean booking hotels, accommodation or even flights en route yet some choose to ramp up the mystery even further by not knowing their final destination from the off. Usually, these particular types of trips involve passengers paying a fee upfront and then being instructed to arrive at a particular airport. With no prior guidance on what to pack, they are only told where they are going when they arrive at check in – yet this could prove hugely costly according to travel experts.
ATOL has told how passengers would be “unaware of the financial protections” as while package holidays created by UK tour operators must be ATOL protected by law, mystery trips from UK and non UK companies may not be.
Such protections are in place so travellers are protected if their company stops trading.
It also related to travel insurance protection too.
ATOL has told how passengers should ask a series of questions, including: “Which travel company is providing the ATOL protection?”
They state: “This may be different from the company you are dealing with or booking the holiday from.
“You should ask who will be providing the ATOL protection for your package holiday before you book.
“This will be confirmed on your booking documentation.
“Where is the travel company based? There are some non-UK travel companies which offer travel to UK consumers, but these will often not be ATOL protected, even if they have offices in the UK or a UK web address.
“Do your research and check what financial protection they provide and, if in doubt, book using a credit card, ensuring you are protected up to the value of £30,000 under UK law.”
This could be sobering advice for those tested by the allure of a mystery trip, yet it just means they should take extra care.
Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Mystery travel deals are a new and exciting way to see parts of the world you may not have thought to visit.
“However, part of that mystery should not be whether you will be financially vulnerable.
“Without knowing which company created the package holiday, you may not be able to confirm if your holiday is ATOL protected before purchasing.
“The best way to avoid this is to ensure your travel company is ATOL protected and to take out travel insurance straight after booking to cover the rest.”
Express.co.uk previously reported the key phrases Britons should look out for on their travel insurance, as well as the importance of taking out policies for trips both in the UK and out of the UK.