Consumer rights expert Martyn James shares the latest “travel traps” you could fall into when holidaying this year – and explains how best to avoid them

The thought of a holiday may come to mind over the Easter bank holiday weekend (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Are you planning a getaway for Easter with the kids? Or maybe you’re thinking about a summer holiday to cheer yourself up after this unending rain we’ve all been suffering through.

I need holidays in my life. I long to stick on the out of office message, jump on a plane and begin a brand new relationship with some fabulous new city or destination. But I do tend to get a bit stressed out when planning and prepping for the vacation. That’s because one of the downsides about being a consumer rights campaigner and columnist is I’m only too aware of all the horrible things that can go wrong.

So in the interests of making your holiday as fabulous as possible, here’s my guide to the latest travel traps you need to watch out for.

Passport problems

When did you last renew your passport? If you’ve not checked and you’re going away soon, do it right now. I mean it, go and grab the passport immediately.

The news is full of stories this week about people who have been turned away at the boarding gates because they’ve fallen foul of a post-Brexit bureaucratic blip that means their passport has expired. It might seem like a small thing, but trust me. You will not get on a plane. My top TV travel expert mate, Simon Calder, estimates that a couple of hundred people get turned away every day as a result of this situation – over 100,000 each year.

Here’s the problem. One of the many perks of being in the EU was if you still had some months left on your passport when you renewed it, they were tagged these months to the new one. So if you had eight months at the point you applied for the new passport, it would display 10 years and eight months on the expiry date.

We are out of the EU now and as a result, this member’s only perk is gone. Your new blue passport will only give you a flat ten years. This is where it gets complicated. If you are travelling to the EU/Schengen area, your entry in to the destination country is based on your passport’s issue date, not it’s expiry date. It’s a subtle difference but a major one.

Say, for example, you are travelling on 01 June 2024 and your passport expiry date is 01 July 2024 you might think you are okay. But if your passport issue date is 01 May 2014, then you’ll be turned away because your passport is over ten years old and has expired.

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