Whether you have travelled extensively, or this is your first trip abroad, here is a quick list of things you should remember if you find yourself in a difficult situation.
1. Do more research before you leave. It might sound obvious, but many people wait until they are at their destination before they get around to doing any real legwork.
2. Before booking, look for professional help. This is crucial, because these days there are so many different levels of service providers. Although the trend is to book online, for your security it is often better to go down the old-fashioned route and use a travel agent.
3. Along the same lines, if you do have problems with the service provider, your travel agent will be able to help you get satisfaction.
4. If you have a problem with the room or with something that was promised on the website or in a brochure, say something immediately. Do not wait until the end of your trip or when you get back home.
5. Take photos for evidence and collect names of witnesses. This is sometimes the only proof you need.
6. When you book with a well-known brand name, be aware that this is often only the middle man and it does not matter how reputable the brand name is. If your contract is with an unknown or unreliable company, the well-known company you started with is rarely legally obligated.
7. Read the Terms and Conditions. No matter how boring this sounds, many travel problems could be avoided if you were simply aware of exactly what was written in the contract. When you blindly click 'agree', you are often signing away your rights.
8. Finally, only book with specialists. If you plan to go to the mountains, make sure your service provider has extensive background with everything alpine. There is no sense in allowing an inexperienced travel company to ruin the little time you have for your holidays.
(source: Katrin Voss at the Frankfurter Rundschau nr. 156: 7/8 July 2012)