Q&A: With foreign holidays off the cards, here are some tips for booking a staycation

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has published a number of tips for anyone thinking of holidaying at home
Q&A: With foreign holidays off the cards, here are some tips for booking a staycation

Staycations look set to be the most likely holiday option again this year. Picture: David Creedon/ Anzenberger

With international travel restrictions set to continue for some time, many consumers have been planning ‘staycations’ this year.

The Government has hinted that, while current Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place until early April, updated guidance on domestic travel may be issued before then. 

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has published a number of tips for anyone thinking of holidaying at home.

Read the terms and conditions: 

Read the T’s and C’s and make sure you are aware of them before paying a deposit or in full. 

Pay particular attention to the cancellation policy and any reference made to public health measures and guidelines. 

Any updated Government advice is likely to affect your booking, so only book when you are satisfied with what you have read.

Should I get a copy of the terms and conditions for myself?

Yes. If you cannot find terms and conditions on a site, contact the business or accommodation directly and request a copy before putting any money down.

If you are told that this information is not available, request the details in writing.

If anything is unclear, contact the business:

If you need more information or to clarify any details, contact the business directly. You need to fully understand your rights and obligations before you book. 

If you are given any important information over the phone, follow up with an email to confirm those details. Keep a record of conversations and exchanges like this in case you need to request a refund sometime down the line.

What questions should I be asking the business?

Many standard terms and conditions do not cover alternative arrangements or deposit refunds if updated public health guidelines prevent booking from proceeding.

Some questions you may wish to ask for the answers to include:

  • What are my options if my booking is cancelled due to public health measures, or other Covid-19 related circumstances?
  • Am I entitled to a refund if I cancel my booking because of Government guidance?
  • If I feel uncomfortable travelling due to circumstances at the time and wish to cancel my booking, will I be offered a refund?
  • If I am unable to travel due to mandatory quarantine, am I entitled to a refund? If not, what are my options?

Keep a note of the business's responses to the above questions as you may need them later. 

What about payment options?

Find out if it is possible to pay in instalments rather than upfront.

You may also wish to consider looking for businesses that offers payment closer to departure, when there may be more certainty around travel restrictions.

Should I keep a copy of payment options also? 

Yes, you should. Keep a copy of any terms and conditions at the time of booking as proof of your entitlements. 

You will need these if there is a change of plan or if something goes wrong. If terms and conditions at the time of booking give you the right to a refund, businesses are not allowed to alter this without your agreement.

How would I recognise a scam?

The best way to recognise a potential scam is to do some research before you book.

Scammers often create genuine-appearing holiday websites and put up false listings for somewhere to rent. 

These scams will usually try to get you to pay full price or a sizable deposit upfront.

Make sure you do some research by checking reviews and social media pages before putting down deposits or full payments.

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