Package holiday: What are your rights?

A package holiday/package travel deal is the classic “flight and hotel” purchased through a travel agency or directly with the package tour operator, but not individually! Europe has taken into account the current modes of reservation of consumers and better protects you thanks to Directive 2015/2302.

Questions and answers concerning your rights

  • Through one distinct professional with a unique contract or at a total price or under the name of a package trip.
  • Separately, but through one point of sale and selected together before payment.
  • With certain professionals through a linked, online reservation: You have clicked on a like offered by a website that sent you to a partner website where you were able to reserve another travel service in less than 24 hours without having to once again indicate your personal information (name, mode of payment, email).
  • The sale of individual titles of transport (plane tickets, plane tickets, etc.),
  • The location of seasonal furnished accommodations,
  • Tourist services and packages sold in the setting of a business trip
  • The services of linked trips, that is to say purchased by following the link of a first vendor towards the website of another but sold without the automatic transfer of your personal information.
  • Details of the services included in the holiday package (mode of transport, companies, schedules, type of lodging, number of nights, visits, meals…),
  • Whether the services will be furnished in the context of a group of travelers and the minimal number of travelers required to realize this package deal,
  • The language in which the visits and other verbal services will be provided,
  • The compatibility of the trip for disabled or reduced-mobility persons,
  • The contact information (address, telephone number, and email) of the organizer and/or the vendor,
  • The total price and the additional eventual costs that could be added due to certain modes of payment,
  • The general information for European nationals concerning passports and visas and the length of time necessary to obtain such passports and/or visas as well as the health and sanitary formalities to get you to your destination,
  • The possibility of cancellation of the contract and the charges for doing so,
  • Information regarding mandatory and optional insurances that cover charges of cancellation, assistance, or return travel,

The package tour operator has to communicate a form containing this information once you  complete the purchase, whether distantly or in the vendor’s establishment.

Your contract should be clear, understandable, readable, and furnished to you in writing on a durable medium.

It is necessary to bring together the pre-contractual information mentioned above as well as:

  • The contact information of the organizer or vendor,
  • The contact information of the guarantor (the company with which the service provider insures itself against insolvability),
  • The contact information of the local representative,
  • The statement of responsibility of the retailer and the organizer regarding the full execution of the contract,
  • The statement that the traveler is held is communicate all non-conformity that he/she observes during the trip,
  • Information regarding the internal procedures of treating complaints and the contact information of the designated mediator.

If modifications to your trip take place BEFORE your departure, the professional must inform you as soon as possible to allow you to either:

  • Cancel the contract without charges (with a reimbursement for any sums already paid) if these modifications are significant, or
  • Accept the modifications with an additional clause that mentions the accepted modifications and their eventual effect on the price.

The cases in which the vendor is able to demand supplementary charges are strictly limited.

If modifications take place AFTER your departure (services not being provided or different from the contract), the professional should either:

  • Propose to you alternative services, without increasing the price (unless this is impossible or these alternative services generate disproportionate costs), or
  • Reimburse you for the services not provided.

Good to know: if the professional does not propose a solution within a reasonable delay, you are able to take the necessary measures and claim reimbursement for the caused expenditures.

If your return trip is affected, the professional should organize your return and take responsibility of the eventual additional costs of accommodation (3 nights maximum).

Attention, you do not have the right to additional compensation (beyond the reimbursement of offered services) if the modification or cancellation of the trip is due to a case of force majeure (inevitable circumstances) for the professional.

When the vendor or the organizer cancels the contract, they must reimburse you for the trip in full.

However, you will not be able to demand further compensation if:

  • The minimum number of trip participants, fixed in the contract, was not reached and if the professional has informed you within the period accepted by the law;
  • The contract cannot be executed due to exceptional and inevitable reasons.
  • If you can no longer travel for personal reasons, you can demand a cancellation of your trip, but cancellation charges are to be expected. These charges will have to be appropriate and justifiable by the professional. The contract may include standard reasonable charges according to a certain cancellation date before the trip.
  • You may cancel your trip without charges in the case of exceptional and inevitable circumstances occurring in the area of your destination.
  • Know that there is no right of withdrawal for package holidays, even those purchased on line.
  • Think about subscribing to a cancellationinsurance if this seems necessary to you.
  • You can give your trip to someone else before the departure. You must inform the vendor of this within a reasonable period and in writing. Your replacement should fill the same conditions and accept the trip under the same terms. Charges may be demanded for this change, but they must be justified and reasonable.
  • Any package tour operator in the territory of the European Union must insure themselves against insolvency with a financial establishment based in the EU as to be able to reimburse the consumer or to assure their return home in case of bankruptcy.
  • You may address the guarantor directly (whose contact information should be communicated in your contract) to activate your right to the realization of your trip or that of your reimbursement. In Germany package tour operator has to forward a guarantee certificate with the relevant information.
  • In the event of a problem before the departure, contact the vendor of the trip (travel agency, website) or the organizer (tour operator,) to try to resolve your dispute.
  • In the event of a problem during your stay, inform as quickly as possible and in writing, the representative on the spot given to you by the tour operator. If there is no contact information shown or if it is not possible to meet the representative, you should contact the vendor or organizer of the trip using the contact information shown in your contract (e-mail, phone number, online contact-form).
  • If you have an unresolved dispute with a European travel agency, contact us
  • If you reside in Germany and your dispute is against a German travel agency, contact the Verbraucherzentrale in your federal state or the German conciliation body for public transport SÖP.

Good to know: disputes relevant to the application of Directive 2015/2302 are time-barred after a period of 2 years. You will no longer have recourse through the organizer of your trip after this period has passed.

Verify if you have reserved a package holiday or not!

Thanks to Directive 2015/2302, you are better informed on your trip and better protected in the event of cancelation or bankruptcy of tour operator. However, how do you know if you benefit from this protection? We distinguish the various situations:

  • I bought my flight and my hotel reservation at the same time. Both services were purchased at the same time and both appear on the same order confirmation.

You have reserved a package holiday.

  • I bought plane tickets and the same website offered me a hotel reservation provided by one of its partners. I did not need to enter my personal information again (name, mode of payment, email) to reserve this hotel and it was less than 24 hours after the purchase of my tickets. 

You are protected by the rules of a package holiday.

  • I bought plane tickets and the company suggested I go to a partner website to reserve my hotel. I was redirected, less than 24 hours after the purchase of my tickets to the hotelier’s website where I had to enter all my personal information for the reservation.

This is a linked service, but the rights of a package holiday do not apply and you should be aware of this.

  • I bought plane tickets and the company offered to take me to a partner website to reserve my hotel. I was redirected, more than 24 hours after the purchase of my tickets to the hotelier’s website where I had to enter all my personal information for the reservation.

Each service is a separate contract with no link and without specific liability of the intermediate vendors.

  • I bought my plane tickets on a website, and then I went to another website to reserve a hotel.

Each service is a separate contract with no link and without specific liability of the intermediate vendors.

Brochure: Package travel accross the EU

Thanks to the EU, travellers who have booked a package holiday have certain rights. Find out more about EU package travel law in our free online brochure.

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.