Posted: 08 June 2022

ABTA, ATOL and Package Travel Regulations Explained

You’ve probably heard of ABTA and ATOL and you’ve probably been made aware that you should be looking for these accreditations when booking your school trip. And you may have heard of the Package Travel Regulations. But what do they actually mean for your school trip?

ABTA is the leading association of travel agents and tour operators in the UK. All members have to abide by a very strict code of conduct, as ABTA aims to promote high standards within the travel industry.

ABTA also provides protection for travellers in the event that their travel agent or tour operator ceases trading. If this happens before you travel, ABTA will ensure you receive a full refund. If this happens while you’re abroad, ABTA will ensure that you are able to continue your trip as planned.

ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence. This is a financial protection scheme that specifically covers air package holidays sold by tour operators and other travel businesses.

If a travel company that holds an ATOL fails, customers who had booked air package holidays with that company will be protected by the ATOL scheme. The scheme ensures that minimal disruption is caused to passengers who are already abroad, while those who haven’t yet travelled will receive a full refund for their trip.

The Package Travel Regulations provide extra consumer protection for travellers. For example, if your trip is cancelled or significantly altered and you booked a package with a travel company, that company is required to provide you with a full refund.

What constitutes a package?

The organisation of more than one element of a trip, such as travel and accommodation, is considered to constitute a package. So, all trips booked with Halsbury Travel are considered packages and this means when you book with us you will benefit from this additional consumer protection.

Please note that if you organise your school trip by yourself and you organise a ‘package’ of travel services, this may mean your school will need to adhere to the Package Travel Regulations, including providing financial protection for the passengers on the trip. Detailed information on this can be found in the Outdoor Education Adviser’s Panel's National Guidance.

Arranging a school trip is a big responsibility, not least because the money spent on the trip is paid by the parents and guardians of your students. If something goes wrong, you need to be sure that you can get their money back.

If you book your trip with a tour company that is ABTA and ATOL protected and is subject to the Package Travel Regulations, you can be certain that if the company fails your trip will be refunded. And if it happens when you’re abroad, you’ll be able to continue your trip as planned, without any fear of being stranded.

It also provides peace of mind in the event your trip is cancelled or seriously altered.

Halsbury is a member of ABTA and holds an ATOL, so when you book with us your trip will be fully protected. And, as we organise ‘packages’, we also adhere to the Package Travel Regulations.

We are also an Assured Member of the School Travel Forum and hold a Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, which are two other accreditations you should be looking for when choosing your school tour operator.

Thinking about your next school trip?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information or to request your tailor-made quote.

The Halsbury Difference

School trips designed by teachers for teachers

Originally founded by teachers in 1986 and with several former teachers in our team, we understand the pressures on you as Group Leader and work hard to relieve them.

Trips tailored to your curriculum and learning objectives

We’ll design your trip around your specific learning objectives and curriculum, to ensure it meets your particular requirements.

Rewarding loyalty scheme

Work together with other teachers in your school to save thousands of pounds on future school trips with our multi-trip loyalty scheme!