man cancelling holiday

What Happens If I Cancel My Holiday Last Minute?

Get travel insurance information here


Life is unpredictable, and sometimes, events beyond our control force us to change our plans. If you find yourself needing to cancel your holiday at the eleventh hour, it's essential to understand the implications, especially in terms of finances and insurance.

Financial Repercussions

Cancelling a holiday at the last minute can be costly. Several factors determine just how much of your prepaid expenses you might lose.

1. Travel Provider Policies: Travel agencies, airlines, and accommodation providers often have strict cancellation policies, especially as the departure date nears. Many will have tiered cancellation fees that increase the closer you are to your travel date.

2. Non-refundable Bookings: Some bookings, particularly those that offer discounted rates, might be non-refundable regardless of when you cancel. Always check the terms and conditions when making such bookings.

Insurance Implications

Travel insurance is designed to protect travellers from unexpected events that disrupt their plans. However, the protection it offers in the case of last-minute cancellations depends on the specifics of the policy and the reasons for cancellation.

1. Standard Travel Insurance: Most standard travel insurance policies will provide compensation for cancellations due to certain unforeseen events, such as illness, injury, or a death in the family. However, they may not cover cancellations for personal reasons or work commitments.

2. 'Cancel for Any Reason' Insurance: Some travel insurance policies offer a 'cancel for any reason' option, which, as the name suggests, allows you to cancel your trip for any reason. This type of policy generally comes at a higher premium but offers more flexibility.

3. Pre-existing Conditions: If you're cancelling due to a medical reason that was known before you took out the insurance policy, you might not be covered unless you have a waiver for pre-existing conditions.

Steps to Take When Cancelling

When faced with the need to cancel a holiday, it's important to act promptly and efficiently to mitigate potential losses.

1. Inform All Parties: Notify your travel agent, airline, hotel, and any other service providers of your decision to cancel. The sooner you inform them, the better chances you have of receiving some form of refund or credit.

2. Check the Cancellation Policy: Always review the cancellation policy of each booking. Some might offer partial refunds or allow rescheduling without additional costs.

3. File an Insurance Claim: If you have travel insurance and believe your reason for cancellation is covered, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. They will guide you on the necessary steps and documentation required.

Tips to Minimise Financial Loss

Whilst it's not always possible to foresee the need to cancel a holiday, there are some measures you can take to minimise potential financial losses.

1. Book Flexible Options: Whenever possible, opt for flexible flight tickets and accommodation bookings. They might come at a slightly higher price, but they often allow changes without hefty fees.

2. Consider Travel Insurance: Always evaluate the benefits of travel insurance. It provides a safety net and can offer peace of mind, especially when booking expensive holidays.

3. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on travel advisories, especially if travelling internationally. Situations like political unrest, natural disasters, or health crises can affect your travel plans. Being informed can help you make timely decisions.


Cancelling a holiday last minute is never a pleasant experience. Between the disappointment of missed experiences and the potential financial repercussions, it can be quite stressful. However, understanding the potential costs and insurance implications can help you navigate this unfortunate situation with a clearer mind. Preparation and knowledge are key to ensuring that unexpected cancellations cause as little disruption as possible.

Note: This article offers a general overview and might not reflect specific financial or insurance details. Always consult with your travel providers and insurance company for individual guidance.

Note: This article offers a general overview and might not reflect specific financial or insurance details. Always consult with your travel providers and insurance company for individual guidance.

Get travel insurance information here

Liability Insurance       Cyber Insurance     Courier Insurance     Liability Insurance      

What happens if ...

my flight is delayed?     my greenhouse is damaged in a storm?     my heir dies before me?     my holiday caravan gets damaged?     my holiday is cancelled?     my home is burgled?     my landlord is not insured?     my tenant defaults on the rent?     my insurer goes bankrupt?     I put wrong information on an application form?     I drive without insurance?     I forget to renew my pet insurance?     I have a car accident abroad?     I have a foreign no claims bonus?     I am injured in a rented car?     I change jobs and lose health insurance?     I make a claim for subsidence?     I make a home insurance claim from abroad?     I miss a car insurance payment?     my business suffers from an unexpected event?     my home suffers from flood damage?     I let my home insurance lapse?     my pet causes an accident?     I have no liability insurance?     I underestimated the value of my home contents?     I get a critical illness?     I get food poisoning abroad?     I have a pre-existing medical condition?     I hit a pedestrian in my car?     I lose my travel documents?     I lose my mobile phone?     I am injured at work?     I need surgery abroad?     I rent my house on airbnb?     I use my car for business?     my business is sued?     my car is vandalised?     my child is ill abroad?     my computer is hacked?     I forget to inform insurers of convictions?     I am involved in a hit and run event?     I cancel my insurance early?     I fail to declare car modifications?     I have an accident in a rented vehicle?     my tenant damages my property?     I cancel my holiday at the last minute?     I accidentally damage another person's property?     I rent my car out?     I buy a car with outstanding finance?     A tree falls on my property?