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We comply with the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007. Any solicitor (or registered European lawyer) we refer you to is independent from us and will give you impartial and confidential advice. You are free to choose another solicitor (or registered European lawyer). We have an arrangement with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors (IM) where we will introduce clients to them, and they pay us a yearly fee.  Under no circumstances will you be asked to reimburse Irwin Mitchell for any of their payments to us. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors is completely independent of RealHolidayGuides.com and will always act in your best interests. Our agreement with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors does not affect the advice they give you, which will always be impartial and confidential.
 
 
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UK Package Holiday Law

Regulation 15 of The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

The above regulation ensures that tour operators in the UK must provide the service and facilities they describe in their brochure or on their website and if they fail in this matter they are in breach of contract and are liable to pay compensation.

Section 14 and Trade Descriptions Act 1968

If a description in a brochure contains false information and was published 'knowingly or recklessly' the tour operator could be charged with a criminal offence under the above law and should be reported to Trading Standards.

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To Pack Or Not To Pack

What to take on the plane as hand luggage and what needs to go in the hold.

Most airlines accept aerosols totalling less than 2 litres (2kg) in your hand luggage, which includes hairspray and deodorants

However each single item must be 0.5 litres (0.5kg) or smaller.

Some airlines prefer aerosols to go in the luggage hold but the following allow them in hand luggage in small quantities.

Britannia Airways, British Airways, BMI Baby, Easy Jet, Excel, KLM, Lufthansa, Ryan Air, Thomas Cook, South African Airways, Virgin Atlantic. These details are subject to change so please check with your airline before travel.

It is recommended that electrical items such as hairdryers, etc are packed in the hold.

Restricted Items include:

  • Explosives - fireworks, flares, toy guns and caps
  • Flammable & Non Flammable Gas - aerosols (over 2kg. or 2 litres), camping gas cylinders
  • Carbon dioxide cylinders for soda siphons, lighter refills, butane gas cylinders, filled aqua lung cylinders, mace
  • Flammable liquids - paints, thinners, solvents
  • Oxidising materials - bleaches
  • Organic peroxides - resin kits poisons - arsenic, cyanide, weed killer, tear gas
  • Cigarette lighters are banned on flights into the USA

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Airline Compensation

New rules have come into force compensating airline passengers for the inconvenience of flight delays and cancellations. Note: The follow points are Real Holiday Guide's 'interpretation' of the rules and have been edited for publication purposes.

These rules ONLY apply for those travelling on an EU registered airline and provided you check in on time.

  • Denied Boarding - When you are denied boarding because there are too many passengers for the seats available, an airline must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats in return for agreed benefits. These must include either a refund (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to final the destination.
  • If you are not a volunteer, the airline must pay you compensation of �173 for short haul flights less than 932 miles, �276 for longer flights within the EU, and for other flights between 932 and 2,175 miles, and �415 for flights over 2,175 miles outside the EU.
  • Cancellation - Whenever your flight is cancelled, the airline must give you a choice of either a refund (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant) or alternative transport to your final destination, and meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary (including transfers) and communication facilities.
  • Compensation or refunds may be in cash, by bank transfer or cheque or, with your signed agreement, in travel vouchers, and must be paid within seven days.
  • Delays - If the airline expects a delay of two hours or more for short haul flights of 932 and 2,175 miles of three hours or more, for longer flights within the EU and for other flights between 932 and 2,175 miles, and of four hours or more for flights over 2,175 miles outside the EU, the airline must give you meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation when necessary (including transfers) and communication facilities.
  • When the delay is five hours or more, the airline must also offer to refund your ticket (with a free flight back to your initial point of departure, when relevant)

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Passports and visas:

All British citizens require a full, 10 year British passport to travel to any of the destinations on the Real Holiday Guides website. The UK Passport Office recommends travellers who need new or replacement passports apply at least 12 weeks before departure. Up to the minute processing times are published on the official recorded message hotline: 0990 210410.

Important points:

  • All children under 16 require a passport of their own, unless they are already included on a parent's current passport.
  • Travellers cannot amend passports - they must buy a new one
  • Some countries insist a 10 year passport remains valid for a certain period of time after your visit has ended.
  • Cyprus - passports must be valid for at least 3 months after returning home. Passport holders entering Cyprus who've also visited Turkey need advise from the Passport Office.
  • Visitors to the USA will require a visa in future, this will have to be authorised at the US Embassy - check with your travel agent.
  • A visa is required to enter Turkey - check with your travel agent.

Current passport prices and policies:

  • New adult passport �42

  • New child Passport �25

  • The guaranteed same-day premium service costs �89 or �71 for a child's passport.

  • The one-week "fast-track" service costs �70

  • A 48-page passport costs �95.50

Applications can be submitted to main post offices.

For more information on passports visit the official site : www.passport.gov.uk or telephone 0870 521 0410

USA Travel requirements

People heading to the United States from Britain will now be fingerprinted and photographed.

The new measures came into force on October 1st (2004) and is part of a drive to increase security.

In addition, all British passport holders, including children, travelling to the US without visas will need their own machine-readable passports (MRP).

Practically all UK travellers will already have an MRP, but the new measure will particularly affect children who are currently on a parent�s passport.

For more information about the new policies visit:

www.usembassy.org.uk

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Duty Free:

Advice for UK travellers

Sales of Duty Free goods at airports and onboard aircraft, including cigarettes and alcohol, have been discontinued within the European Union. This includes; Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. These restrictions however do NOT apply to the following destinations: Spanish Canary Islands (i.e. Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria), Madeira, Malta, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Caribbean, USA.

If you're travelling from somewhere outside the European Union (e.g. the US) there are still limits to what you can bring in to the UK before you are obliged to pay duty.

To those non EU destinations the allowances are as follows;

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g tobacco.
  • 1 litre spirits and 2 litres wine or 2 litres fortified spirits and 2 litres wine.
  • 60ml perfume and 250 ml eau de toilette/aftershave

You are also allowed to bring home up to �145 worth of other goods, such as souvenirs and gifts. Anything over that is taxable and you're advised to keep the receipts.

If you�re travelling within the EU you can purchase as much wine and tobacco as you like, provided you can prove the goods are for your own consumption.

Anyone intending to sell the items faces a stiff fine and could face up to seven years in prison.

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Euro Currency

The EURO is the legal currency in 12 European countries including those featured on this website, i.e.; Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France. There are eight different coins - the one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents as well as the one and two EURO. The coins will be different on one side in each country but can be used in any of the participating countries.

There are eight different EURO notes - five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. You are advised to check with your tour operator for more information on foreign exchange.

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Tipping:

The Med

People providing any kind of service on holiday expect a tip and in many cases a gratuity forms up to 80 per cent of their wage. These include; bar and restaurant waiters, taxi drivers and bell services at your accommodation. The amount to give varies from country to country. Check our handy tipping guide below.

Destination Taxi driver Waiter/waitress
Cyprus 10% 5%
Fuerteventura 15% 15%
Gran Canaria 15% 15%
Greece 15% 5%
Italy 10% 5%
Jamaica 10% 15%
Lanzarote 15% 15%
Madeira 15% 10%
Malta 0 10%
Morocco 0 10%
Portugal 15% 10%
Spain 10% 10%
Tenerife 15% 15%
Tunisia 0 10%
Turkey 0 15%
USA 15% 15 - 20%

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USA

In the USA you will be pampered everywhere you go, but at a cost. For satisfactory service leave 15 %. Excellence is rewarded with a tip of 20% - and the service in the States rarely falls below excellent. Coach drivers will be happy with a few dollars while for bell services at your accommodation the rate is usually around a dollar a case/bag. See the handy conversion chart below.

Price 15% Tip
$5 $0.75
$10 $1.50
$15 $2.50
$20 $3.00
$25 $3.75
$30 $4.50
$35 $5.25
$40 $6.00
$45 $6.75
$50 $7.50
$60 $9.00

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Travel Insurance:

A recent survey claims travel operators are charging holidaymakers up to four times more for travel insurance than independents.

Consumer watchdogs released a report accusing the big high street chains of abusing their dominant position. 'Holiday Which?' claims some charge more than �40 for a policy to cover two weeks in Europe while the same cover is available for just �10. Clearly it pays to shop around.

Timeshare:

Holiday Which? the UK-based watchdog carried out an in-depth study into timeshare operators and is urging people to be aware of con merchants who prey on potential and existing timeshare owners.

Whilst recognising there are many satisfied timeshare owners here are some tips to those who are considering buying into a property

  • Timeshares are not an investment - most people only get back about 20 per cent of the price they paid

  • Get a lawyer to go over the contract before you sign anything

  • You are only signing up for accommodation - bear in mind the total cost of future holidays including flights, transfers, car hire, etc.

  • Additional costs such as maintenance charges can escalate so make sure the resort has a democratically run owners' club to avoid being at the mercy of resort management companies.

  • If you really want to buy into a timeshare property, consider purchasing your interest on the resale market � owners sometimes sell timeshares for as much as 80 per cent off the resort pricing.

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