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Holiday season: useful tips for a worry-free summer

With the holiday season already starting and millions of Europeans planning trips across the continent and beyond, here are a few tips on what to do when faced with a problem. If you are wondering who will cover the costs of your treatment in case of an accident or want to know what papers to prepare before taking your dog aboard, here is a list of the things the European Union is doing to assist you on your travels.

I'm travelling outside Europe but my country has no embassy or consulate at my destination. Whom should I contact, if I need help?

  As a citizen of an EU Member State, you are automatically an EU citizen, thus entitled to consular assistance if you are outside the EU (even if your own country is not represented). You can go to any other EU Member State's consulate or embassy to ask for help, if for example you are arrested, have a serious accident or lose important documents.

You are also entitled to assistance in crisis situations: EU Member States must help citizens evacuate when needed as if they were their own nationals.

You can find out if your country is represented at your destination on the European Commission's consular protection website.

Whom should I call, if my child should go missing?

  The European Union has agreed on a common helpline number (116 000) to report a missing child in any EU Member State. Whether you are a parent whose child has gone missing, a child who has got lost or run away, or a person holding information about a missing child, you can dial the same number. It will connect you to an experienced organisation able to provide support and practical assistance, whether it is psychological, legal or administrative.

Who can help me, if during my holidays I have problems with an airline, a car rental company or a tour operator?

If my plane, train, bus and boat journeys are delayed or cancelled…

  Thanks to EU passenger rights rules, if your flight or trip is delayed by several hours, the transports company you are travelling with should compensate you in a fair way. If it is cancelled and you have to stay in a hotel away from your final destination, the airline or the train operator should pay for it. Before travelling, check how to claim your rights at airports, ports, and bus and train stations across Europe, or download the application for smartphones.

What specific rights do I have, if I am a disabled traveller?

  EU passenger rights rules protect disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility from discrimination when travelling by air or train and grant them the same access to transport as other citizens.

If you have the right to disabled parking facilities when travelling by a car in your home country, you are granted access to identical facilities all over Europe. All you need for this is your standardised model of disabled parking card.

I have booked a package holiday but my operator went bust. Can I get a refund?

The Package Travel Directive protects European consumers going on holidays and covers pre-arranged package holidays combining at least two of the following: (1) transport, (2) accommodation (3) other tourists services such as sightseeing tours (sold at an inclusive price).

The Directive provides protection covering: information in brochures, rights to cancel without penalty, liability for services (e.g. sub-standard hotels) and protection in the case of a tour operator or airline going bust.

In future, this protection will be extended to holidaymakers who book customised packages online (either from one trader or several commercially linked traders), under new proposals from the European Commission, backed by the European Parliament (MEMO/14/184). Around 120 million people will gain additional protection.

I liked my holiday so much, I'm thinking of buying a timeshare at the same resort. What should I keep in mind?

  Thanks to the EU rules timeshare sellers must provide detailed information to customers in appropriate time, before the customer is bound by any contract, including the price to be paid, a description of the product and the exact period and length of stay that the customer is entitled to under the contract. This information should be provided in the customer's own language if they so choose.

The rules also ensure that customers may withdraw from a contract within a "cooling-off" period of 14 calendar days and that traders are not allowed to ask customers for any form of advance payment or deposit during that period. Before the conclusion of the contract, the trader is required to explicitly draw the customer’s attention to the existence of the right of withdrawal, the length of the withdrawal period and the ban on advance payments during the withdrawal period.


MORE TIPS (in all EU languages)


Reference:  MEMO 20/05/2014

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