Nick, 55, from Nottinghamshire writes: “A lot has been written about holidays abroad, most of which are covered by insurance, but what about holidays in the UK? I’ve booked and paid in full for two self-catering breaks, one in May and another in July. As with many people who book accommodation-only, I didn’t take out insurance. I’m about £1,000 out of pocket as both companies are refusing to refund me, even though I paid the full balance long before I had to. They are only offering to defer the date but that is only helpful if I can get the time off work and the accommodation I originally booked is available. What is the best course of action?”

Several readers have asked about self-catering holidays in the UK that have been cancelled due to the lockdown. Are they entitled to a refund? While the Package Travel Regulations extend to package holidays in the UK, they do not cover accommodation-only bookings. Each accommodation provider has its own terms and conditions. Since quarantine, the majority have updated their terms to offer a change of date or credit note instead of a refund. Frustratingly, most providers are advising guests who want a refund to claim on their holiday insurance, even though, like Nick, few people take out insurance for a UK holiday. For Nick, the best, in fact the only, course of action is to accept the postponement and hope the companies he booked with will be flexible with new dates. The same advice applies to anyone with an accommodation booking: the only option is to contact the provider directly.

Examples of companies offering credit notes or flexible booking include: Under the Thatch, a collection of holiday cottages mostly in Wales, which has introduced a flexible booking policy allowing anyone with a cottage stay due to start before 1 September 2020 to postpone to a later date in 2020 or 2021. Most property owners with accommodation on Sawday’s and Canopy and Stars websites are also offering to change the date of the booking – or provide a credit note for a future booking. For cottages.com, bookings up to 22 May can be transferred for up to 12 months. It is not accepting new bookings before 4 June.

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