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How to work out a claim for holiday compensation

If something goes wrong with your holiday you may be able to make a claim against your holiday company. Depending on the circumstances, you can claim for money you’ve lost, out-of-pocket expenses and compensation for loss of enjoyment.

This page explains how to work out how much money you should claim from your holiday company. It’s important to remember that the amount you claim needs to be reasonable. You will only be able to claim the whole cost of your holiday or more if your holiday was completely ruined and you got no enjoyment from it at all.

What you need to know

If you booked a package holiday you will be protected by special regulations. If you organised your holiday yourself, booking flights, accommodation and services separately then you are an independent traveller. As an independent traveller if you booked your holiday in the UK you are protected by general consumer law.

When can you make a claim from your holiday company?

You can’t make a claim from your holiday company just because you didn’t enjoy your holiday. There could be lots of reasons for this that are beyond the holiday company’s control – for example, bad weather or the wrong choice of holiday. To make a successful claim, you need to prove that your holiday company breached your contract. This means proving they didn’t deliver the holiday they promised in your contract. Your contract includes:

  • information you were given when you booked the holiday
  • information printed in your holiday brochure or on the company’s website.

Your holiday company may have breached your contract if they:

  • gave you misleading information about your holiday, or
  • didn’t meet the terms of the contract properly – for example your accommodation was dirty and your hotel pool was unusable.

What can you claim for?

Claims for money back and compensation can usually be broken down into three types. Your claim could be for money which covers:

  • loss of value – the difference between the value of the holiday you paid for and the one you actually got, for example you paid for a sea-view room but didn’t get one
  • out-of-pocket expenses – any money you had to spend because of the problem, for example if you had to pay for a new hotel
  • loss of enjoyment – money to compensate you for the disappointment and distress caused by things going wrong, for example the promised children’s club was cancelled meaning that you were limited to entertainment that allowed children too
  • physical discomfort

This type of compensation is known as consequential loss. You can only claim for consequential loss if it was foreseeable. For example, it’s foreseeable that you’ll experience physical discomfort if you have to sleep on the floor because a hotel room isn’t available – especially if you had a bad back and the holiday company knew this.

How much can you claim?

When you make your claim against the holiday company, you should set out each part of your claim separately, explaining how you’ve worked out the amount you’re claiming for. Presenting the claim in a detailed and logical way is likely to help you reach a settlement.

Loss of value

This should represent the difference in price between the holiday you paid for and what you actually got. So, for example, if you were moved to a cheaper hotel because of overbooking, you should claim the difference in price between the two hotels. If you spent two days sorting out a problem, you can claim the value of the days your holiday was ruined doing this. If you were on a package holiday, you will need to deduct the estimated cost of flights before you work this out. As a guide, the flight and transfer element of a package holiday is usually estimated to be at least half the total cost.


You should be able to claim reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. For example:

  • the cost of meals taken in local restaurants where the hotel food provided as part of a package was inedible
  • alternative accommodation where your original accommodation was of such poor quality you couldn’t stay there
  • the cost of extra meals if you booked an all inclusive hotel but have had to stay in an alternative a hotel where you could only get bed and breakfast.

You won’t be able to claim for things like ice-creams or drinks that you would have had to buy anyway in the normal course of your holiday.

If you have to find alternative accommodation, you will need to be able to show that you’ve done everything you can to keep the price down.

Loss of enjoyment

Whether you can claim for loss of enjoyment depends on the circumstances of your holiday. For example, the fact that this was a special holiday, to celebrate your husband’s 60th birthday might mean you can claim more compensation. The circumstances will be different for everyone so you should point out to the holiday company why you chose the holiday and how your enjoyment of was spoilt. In extreme cases, you could claim as much as the whole price of the holiday for loss of enjoyment. However, you’ll only be able to do this if the whole holiday was ruined and you got no enjoyment from it at all. Remember, you won’t be able to claim for loss of enjoyment if what happened was out of the company’s control – for example, problems caused by war or natural disaster.

If you feel you have a claim then contact James Kan-Hai on 0800 195 2537 or 0161 456 2627 and he will be more than happy to talk you through the process.

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