Travel Law: These rules apply to package tours

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Sometimes the laws of the country you are traveling to also apply

But: If the traveler rents a holiday home in Denmark, for example, Danish law may apply. This depends, among other things, on whether the organizer has agreed to Danish law. If the traveler books with a private owner abroad, the law of the country of travel applies.

Conclusion: It can be difficult for tourists to understand, recognize and assert their rights. If a dispute arises, you may have to rely on the laws of the country you are traveling to.

Only for day trips from 500 euros

For day trips, the package travel law only applies to prices starting at 500 euros per person. Day trips are generally not that expensive.

Conclusion: The law on package travel will rarely be applied in these cases.

Large price changes possible

If the price has increased after booking – for example due to rising fuel prices or changes in exchange rates – the holidaymaker will only be able to cancel the contract free of charge if the price increase is at least 8 percent. Furthermore, the organizer may increase the price up to 20 days before the start of the trip.

Conclusion: If the organizer increases the price shortly before the start of the trip, the customer will have difficulty booking something else in a short space of time. “Tourists often take a risk and travel for a higher price,” says Felix Methmann, mobility expert at the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations.

Traveler’s rights in case of travel defects

If a defect becomes apparent during the holiday (e.g. the air conditioning fails for days) or the organizer announces the defect before the trip begins (e.g. the departure date of a flight is postponed or significantly delayed), the Tourists often have various legal problems. options. These are in Paragraph 651i of the Civil Code listed. One of the rights frequently used by a tourist is the right to a reduction in the price of the trip if the trip has any defects.

Tip: To find out when a flight change is considered a missed trip, see “Flight change – flight postponed? These are your rights!.

Report the defect immediately

Before a tourist can make a claim due to the defect, he or she must report the defect to the tour operator – immediately. A reduction in travel price for worms in the hotel room, for example, can only be claimed after the defect has been reported. Anyone who endured cockroaches in their hotel room for three days and then reported the problem will not receive a discount for the first three days of their vacation.

The recipient of the defect notification can be found in the travel documents that the traveler received at the time of booking. For evidentiary purposes, notification of defects must be made in writing and, ideally, signed by the contact person indicated in the holiday documents. If vacationers report the defect verbally, it is best to do so in the presence of witnesses (write down the address!). Photos of the defect can be important evidence later. Notification of defects must be accompanied by a request to the organizer to immediately remedy the defect.

Two years to claim a reduction in travel price

If the defect is reported, the organizer will resolve the issue as quickly as possible. The tourist may request a reduction in the price of the trip during the period between notification and corrective action. Travelers do not need to quantify the amount of the reduction during their vacation.

The right to reduction only expires two years after the end of the vacation. In the case of a disability that is inconvenient (e.g. daycare is canceled for days) but that travelers can live with, it is quite possible for vacationers to first end their vacation and – back in Germany – hire a lawyer, which will help you quantify the reduction in the price of the trip. The only important thing is that you report the defect immediately during your vacation and can prove it.

Trip canceled due to death of a close relative

Sometimes travelers end their vacation prematurely for reasons for which the organizer is not responsible. The death of a close relative at home could be one such reason for leaving. If travelers have to return after just a few days of vacation, the question arises as to what happens to the travel price paid? Do tourists get some of it back due to their early departure? This is controversial among travel law experts and courts.

The Cologne Higher Regional Court recently ruled in favor of a couple who booked a two-month travel package to Asia, Australia and New Zealand for around 11,600 euros – without trip interruption insurance. The vacationer’s mother died three days after the start of the trip. The couple flew home immediately. The organizer voluntarily refunded only around 1,200 euros. But the couple demanded more. Your argument: by canceling the trip, the organizer saved expenses on travel services that were planned but not used (e.g. car rental, flights). He has to repay these savings. The court awarded the couple a further around 3,400 euros ( Reference 16 U 169/20).

Protection for combined travel services

The tourist books at least two different services separately for the same trip in quick succession – such as flights and accommodation. Then there are two different contractual partners and two separate invoices, but it is a connected travel service. If payments go directly to the intermediary – a stationary travel agency or an online portal – they must be insured against insolvency. It must clarify whether the booked holiday is a combined travel service or a package holiday.

Conclusion: If the agent goes bankrupt, the vacationer is protected and sees his money again. He also clearly knows what he has booked: a package tour or a combined travel service. From there, he can see which rights apply to his trip and who is responsible for the defects – in the case of the combined travel service, the individual service providers (e.g. the airline), in the case of a package trip, the organizer.

From intermediary to organizer

Sometimes the travel supplier changes from agent to travel organizer: for example, if he sells several services to the customer for the same trip together and forms a total price for them. So it’s a package tour. Consequence: Travel agencies or online platforms are also responsible, as organizers, for travel defects. A travel package can also be created with connected online bookings: for example, if a flight portal offers a hotel after booking the flight, going to the hotel provider’s website, transferring the tourist details and making the booking there within 24 hours.

Conclusion: An advantage for vacationers. Individual services become a tour package when booked together; the customer has all rights. The travel services agent becomes the organizer and is responsible for defects.

Cancellation in case of travel notice

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that a Travel warning to the holiday destination, organized tourists can usually cancel the trip. The organizer must refund the price of the trip without charging cancellation fees. This also applies if the tourist offer at the destination is significantly limited. For example, because authorities closed beaches and closed shops and bars. If organized tourists leave their destination early due to unavoidable and exceptional circumstances, they may receive payment for the remainder of their holiday. Solo travelers do not have the option to cancel; must negotiate directly with the hotel or airline.

Conclusion: If there is a travel warning and restrictions in place at the holiday destination, free cancellation should be possible.

Useful travel insurance coverage

Sick on vacation. Travelers abroad should definitely have one with them, whether on vacation or a business trip. Travel health insurance. No one knows whether he will become seriously ill or have an accident on the way. In countries with social agreements, treatment costs are partially covered. However, return transport, which can cost tens of thousands of euros in Europe, is never paid for. Travel health insurance covers this.

Cancel trip. It’s worth considering completing a Trip cancellation insurancewhen families plan expensive vacations in advance. If canceled at short notice, there will be high cancellation costs.

Stolen luggage. However, it is not advisable to have a Luggage insurance. Protection is very irregular. Luggage is also insured by transport companies and in case of theft or break-in at your holiday home Home insurance.

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