Avoid the pitfalls

Avoid the Pitfalls

Typically when you use TF, your inquiry will be fulfilled by a well-travelled, highly trained Graduate who has been helping people plan their travels for more than 8 years. In that time, they will have taken it upon themselves to prepare some 10,000 diverse travel plans all over the globe. Organising travel is what they do all day, every day so they know just how much you need to consider.

Check the pedigree of the company. Don’t book on- or off-line with an unsung tour operator. In our 49 year history we’ve seen countless companies fail, leaving their clients wanting. A recent example is Low Cost Holidays.

Trailfinders guarantees to make good any money paid to us in the event of the financial collapse of an airline, tour operator or any other provider. This pledge has been honoured since the foundation of Trailfinders over 49 years ago. No client has suffered financial loss or ever been left wanting.

Are you protected? Before you commit to anything, look into the company you are planning to use. Are they IATA or ATOL bonded? No bonding – no protection – no professional help.

We hold an Air Travel Organisers license granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. This ensures that in the very unlikely event of our insolvency you will be able to continue with your holiday as planned (if you are already abroad) or be refunded in full (if your travel has not already commenced). ATOL protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the UK. Additionally, we are subject to a binding obligation under ATOL to protect clients' funds in the event of the financial collapse of an airline. Trailfinders does not charge a fee for this protection. Even if you book a flight outside of a package with Trailfinders we will provide you with ATOL protection. This covers you in the event of the financial collapse of an airline. This cover is not offered if you book directly with an airline.

Do all the elements of your holiday have bonding? Many online hotel reservation agencies abroad have no bonding at all and, in the event of financial collapse, your money will be lost.

Does your holiday carry the comprehensive protection of European Package Law? Many booking engines act as intermediaries rather than tour operators, depriving clients of the protection provided by the European Package Travel Directive. Low Cost Holidays are the most recent case in point.

Book all of your arrangements with Trailfinders as part of an inclusive package and you also benefit from the comprehensive protection offered by the European Package Regulations. These are most comprehensive to the extent that they even cover events that are uninsurable and are not available if you book your elements separately.

Are your payments guaranteed?

All money paid to Trailfinders is held securely in our Trust Account in entirety and remains there until all money is paid on to a supplier. This ensures that, in the unlikely event of our financial demise, all money you have paid is protected and the travel you have booked will be honoured. No monies will be withdrawn from the Trust Account until our travellers have completed their itinerary, meaning your money is secure until you return home.

Has the hotel you’re considering had Health & Safety checks? Many internet hotel ‘Bed Banks’ do not take responsibility for this. Trailfinders does.

Are your travel plans designed to meet all your needs? As a privately owned company our advice is independent and impartial, our consultants arrange your travels around you

What’s in a name?Did you know there are 4 Hiltons in Downtown Boston alone, so make sure you’re booking the correct hotel

If you’ve never been to a destination, no matter how much research you do, it doesn’t compare to talking to someone who’s been. Our consultants live and breathe travel – at the last count, between them they have visited 96% of the world’s countries.

Looking for the best value flight, hotel or hire vehicle? Prices vary depending on season, availability and operator. Our consultants knowledge coupled with systems developed over 49 years will ensure we offer unrivalled expertise and the right price for you. Need time to decide before you commit? Are you able to hold your flight booking provisionally for a day or two? You can do this in most situations with TF.

Are you flexible? Your flight might be cheaper the day before or after you were thinking of travelling?

Got the right airport? Did you mean to fly to San Jose in Costa Rica, the Philippines, California or Mexico?

Have you left yourself enough time to connect flights?Many airlines cut it fine – Trailfinders has their own app for recommended connection times to avoid the misery of a missed flight.

You might be planning a fly drive holiday but you don’t want to spend all day, every day behind the wheel. It’s a minefield trying to work out driving distances in a destination you don’t know. TF has exclusive access to an in-house designed map based tool that works out leisurely driving times for you.

Travelling with children? Will your operator make arrangements for cots, baby seats, children/baby meals? Will your hotel be suitable? We check all of this for you.

Think again if you need to fly into one city and out of another, or have a complex multi stop itinerary as it is very much hit and miss to efficiently organise anything, even slightly complex, online.

Booking the cheapest hire car? Are you sure it will fit all passengers and their luggage? Does your car hire include mileage, insurance excess, roadside assistance and additional drivers? What’s the fuel policy? Will you incur a one way drop fee or a young driver surcharge? We’ll advise you which car will give you enough luggage space and ensure you are not surprised by any local charges.

Do the check-in and check-out times at your hotel work with the flights you’ve booked? Are the rooms you’ve booked for your family interconnecting? Does the bed configuration match your requirements?

Do you want an Airport Hotel and/or parking the night before you fly?

Would you like an airport lounge pass to start your holiday in style?

Does your insurance offer Comprehensive Cover? Standard credit cards do not cover cancellation fees, which are the most common claims, whilst loss of possessions and accidents are not normally covered either. Travel with peace of mind.

If you’re travelling alone with your child – check the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to. Many demand extra documentation.

Have you considered an upgrade on your return flight only so avoiding Airline Departure Tax on the inbound?

Can you spread payments? Most internet companies only take full payment no matter how far in advance you book. Trailfinders will, where possible, secure your arrangements on a deposit only basis and will hold a flight provisionally whenever conditions allow.

Are there any surcharges? Some package holiday operators surcharge up to 10% after you’ve booked your holiday. Often this is hidden away in the small print. With Trailfinders, once your arrangements are confirmed you can relax knowing the price is fixed.

Look out for companies charging a premium rate for telephone calls – some charge up to 10p per minute for the pleasure of speaking to them.

Got a good deal paying for your hotel locally? Changes in exchange rates, local taxes and foreign currency transaction fees from your bank often result in a final bill higher than expected.

Be aware of hidden extras – resort fees, local tax, car insurance, airline baggage are just a few of the costs companies strip out to offer an apparently more attractive price. Where possible, TF include all required charges and advise you if they can’t. If the price looks too good, then it normally is. Always double check the small print before you proceed with payment.

Check the cancellation conditions before you part with any money. Will you be held to a non-refundable contract? We advise cancellation conditions from the outset, and will explain them to you prior to payment.

Is there a fee to pay with your credit card? Some companies unlawfully charge up to 3%.

Remember to check the baggage allowance on all of your flights as they may vary between airlines on connecting flights – this can be costly.

Don’t forget to request your meal or preferred seat before your travel. Double check you don’t have to pay to reserve a seat. TF will offer seat allocation and book your preferred meals; where an airline won’t permit this, we’ll advise you.

Does your passport have enough validity? Does it contain enough blank pages for your journey? Does it need to be biometric? Get this wrong and you might not be going anywhere! TF will advise and have a full visa and passport renewal service.

Do you need a visa for the country you are planning to visit? If you are connecting through a country, do you need a transit visa? Don’t get caught out as there are so many exceptions to the rule. We advise which countries require a visa. It’s what our specialist team of Visa and Passport experts do all day, every day.

Ensure your name is as it appears on your passport. This is vital; your ticket won’t be valid if your details aren’t correct. TF will always read your name back to you, using the phonetic alphabet to highlight the importance.

What immunisations are required or advised for the country you are visiting? We’ll advise you from the outset. We can offer further advice, and provide immunisation, through our travel clinic in London.

Plans changed? Who do you contact if you want to make any additions or amendments to the travel plan? Are amendments possible?

Who should you contact if things go wrong or who can help in the event of a natural disaster? Do you have a telephone number for a Duty Officer for the companies you are using? Are they available 365/24/7? TF are on hand to offer round the clock support.

Self-service or follow up service? Who looks after your booking once it’s been made? We manage your arrangements until you are home and keep you informed through our ViewTrail mobile app if your arrangements are altered en route.

Flight delayed? What will you do if your flight is delayed or cancelled and you miss your transfer, tour or cruise? The TF team will assist and, once you’re back home, our dedicated Client Support Team can offer guidance on your full rights under EU 261/2004.

The cheapest hotel website rooms are of course of the lowest standard. Don’t expect a sea view!

Is breakfast or transfers included?

Will the room be suitable and available when you arrive?

Are all the facilities operational and is there any building work in progress?

Hotels respect TF clients because they value the business we bring them and know they will be held to account by us if they fail to deliver.

Price comparison sites can never give the whole picture as they cannot know TF’s price for a start and have no means of knowing your precise needs and preferences. Too often a low flight price is not actually available and does not mention credit card charges, booking fees and other drip pricing.

Is the rental depot the closest one to your hotel?

Would it be cheaper to hire from a city depot? Some countries charge extra to pick up from the airport.

Make sure you’ve pre-booked your GPS and child seats before you turn up – arriving to find out they’re all gone is a disastrous start. Check the cost – you may find it cheaper to actually purchase one before you go if you are a regular traveller.

Make sure you have a valid credit card to pick up your car – you’ll need one regardless of how you’ve paid for the rental.


Does everything fit together? If you book your flights, hotels, car, tours and cruises piecemeal with different companies, keeping track of your arrangements can be very difficult, especially with overnight flights involved. Trailfinders ViewTrail App pulls your whole itinerary together into one easy to read document.

What recourse do you have if all was not as it should have been on your trip? Trailfinders dedicated Client Support Department respond to any complaint and compensate clients without hesitation if you have a genuine complaint.

How much time is all this going to take to get just right? If one element is flawed it is all down to you if you take sole responsibility and book it all yourself.

All this makes Brexit look easy!


Our free Viewtrail App stores your essential travel information in one secure place, ensuring we are with you from start to finish.
  • View your travel plans on or offline, wherever and whenever you wish
  • Live flight notifications - real time information as you travel
  • Online check-in links and pre-tour notifications
  • Luggage allowance
  • Mapped places of interest - restaurants, shops, stations...plus route guidance back to your hotel
  • View e-vouchers and export them to your Apple wallet
  • Secure access to booking history, profile and insurance contact information
  • One touch emergency contact 365/24/7
  • Add to calendar function
  • Countdown to travel
  • Local time, weather, translator and exchange rate calculator
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