How to reduce risk
Until recently, local operators were unable to book flights at all – and many are still unable to do so. In the event that a local operator does offer to book your flight, we advise against this as it is one less thing to worry about should the operator get into financial difficulties; far better to book your own.
We always recommend paying for any services – including flights – with a credit card, although if you are not using a credit card issued by a UK bank, you will still need to check if your credit card company offers protection and refunds. Some smaller, local companies may not be able to process card payments, with PayPal or bank transfers being the preferred method of payment – but if you can pay by a credit card, then do. You are still saving money by booking with a local operator, so think of the small credit card fee as a form of basic insurance. Some tour operators may only require full payment on arrival – which, of course, reduces risk even further.
Always purchase travel insurance. If you are booking an accommodation-only holiday (i.e.. directly with a hotel or guesthouse) make sure your travel insurance covers “end of supplier failure”. We have not found travel insurance company that covers end of supplier failure for a tour operator. Finally, make sure you are comfortable with the payment terms. The further in advance you pay, the greater the risk. If you are not comfortable with that risk, and are planning on travelling outside the EU, then book the holiday with a UK-based, bonded operator.