OVER 600 Co-op travel agencies throughout the UK are "telling it like it is" in a new initiative designed to help customers avoid nasty surprises when choosing and booking a package holiday.
The country's largest independent travel retailer has launched the free Straight Talking holiday guide to help take the sting out of small print and underline its commitment to honest, impartial advice.
The guide is based on the questions most commonly asked of Co-operative travel staff.
Among the issues covered in the 20-page publication are:
? Late availability holidays ? what they are, what they provide and what they don't
? Low or no deposits ? what the offers mean and when final payment is required
? Cash discounts ? how they're applied and how people qualify
? Free insurance offers ? terms of the deal
? Cancellation ? the cost to holidaymakers of pulling out of the arrangements at the last minute
? Supplements ? what they apply to and when they are charged
? Complaints ? how to resolve them either on holiday or on return.
Mike Greenacre, Chief Operating Officer of the Co-operative Travel Trading Group (CTTG), which has produced the guide, commented: "Our aim, as always, is to help the public protect themselves against unexpected surprises before, during or after the event which can often take the shine off their holiday.
"Navigating the maze of discounts, special offers, terms and conditions that surround holidays can be difficult ? using plain English, the guide is designed to help them find a way through."
The free guide, produced as part of the "Traveller's Right to Know" customer service policy now in operation at five leading Co-operative travel businesses in the UK, is available from branches of Co-op Travel and Travelcare.