Holidays after lockdown – ideas & advice
We all want to go on holiday but we also want to stay safe. What will holidays after lockdown look like before we have that vaccine we so desperately need.
The government has released the list of ‘safe countries’ and holiday flights are set to resume in earnest very soon. Are you going to rush out and book a Summer holiday abroad? Will you book something a little different this year? Or are you going to stay in the UK and postpone your foreign holiday?
If you need a little help to decide I have some advice………
There has been a huge increase in interest for holidays at home this year. The main problem is the unpredictable UK weather but if we see some of the same sunshine we have had over the last couple of months then a holiday at home might be a great option. A lot of places are already booked up for July & August though so it is best to get something sorted soon. Check out some great staycation ideas here.
With social distancing measures in place and people still worried about catching Covid19 I can see more remote destinations and hotels becoming more popular. People will be more inclined to pick a smaller hotel a little out of the way to avoid the busy holiday hotspots and crowded beaches. Small boutique hotels should see a big increase in bookings, as will smaller lesser known resorts and countryside locations. If you like the sound of a quiet and relaxing holiday in a remote location then why not check out a mountain or forest retreat or a fabulous spa hotel on a secluded beach somewhere. If the budget allows then you could be lucky enough to be staying on your own private island somewhere. City breaks I think will be the real losers here as people try to avoid busy cities.
ADVENTURE & OUTDOOR TRAVEL
Holidays that involve a lot of outdoor activity are going to be a much more popular. We all know being outdoors is safer with less chance of catching the virus. So hiking, mountain biking and nature based holidays could be high up on a lot of people’s list now. A lot of adventure tour operators offer really great tours with small groups in remote and quiet locations. You may normally go to the beach every year, so maybe now is a great time for a change and try something new. Why not a real bucket list adventure like tracking Gorillas or an African safari.
VILLAS & APARTMENTS
Private villas are definitely going to be popular after lockdown. They are the perfect solution for social distancing and keeping away from crowds of potential Covid spreaders. Enjoy your own space with just your family and relax on your terrace and enjoy your very own pool. No busy hotel restaurants or communal swimming pools to worry about. Why not go for something a little unique and look at booking your very own castle or chateaux. If you are staying in the UK then you have a huge choice of lovely village and country cottages as well. You might find some ideas for your next European luxury villa here.
A lot of Coronavirus in Europe was said to come from shared ski chalets. So next season people may want to pay the extra for their very own ski chalet or choose to stay in a self catering apartment. You will still have to mix with people on the mountains but there will be robust social distancing and hygiene measures at the lifts and plenty of space to avoid people while skiing.
ON THE WATER
Another way to keep away from people and enjoy your own space would be on the water. In the U.K you could explore the canals on a traditional narrowboat, or hire a cruiser on the Norfolk Broads. If you want to go a bit further afield you could charter your own yacht in the Med or Caribbean, with your own captain, chef and crew.
I think people when possible will want to upgrade to private transfers from shuttle buses or coaches? That will solve social distancing issues getting to and from the airport. Although if you have a long transfer (I am thinking a ski transfer for example) these could be very expensive. Car hire I can see being much more popular for people who can jump in the car and get to out of the way, quiet beaches or locations away from the crowds. For lucky first class travellers private jets will be high on their wish-list for the foreseeable future.
To avoid mixing with people while travelling you could take your own car. If you get the Euroshuttle you don’t even have to leave your car while on the train to France. Ferries offer plenty of space compared to airlines so social distancing will be much easier. When you get to the Continent you can take the back roads and explore lovely little out of the way villages and towns. Self drive trips are a great way to explore and visit places you wouldn’t normally see and meet friendly locals. Even better if you can hire a camper or motorhome where you have the freedom of stopping when and where you want without having to book into hotels.
So if you are driving then why not take a tent and have a fun camping trip. Not everyone’s cup of tea I know but the kids love it and it’s a great way to enjoy a holiday where you can easily social distance and enjoy the great outdoors. If you like the idea of camping but you’re not keen on sleeping in the floor and communal shower blocks then choose a campsite with holiday homes, bungalows or some even offer really cool treehouses you can stay in. Europe has some really amazing campsites with a huge range of facilities and really quite luxurious accommodations.
Okay, so you will still be travelling with other people but rail travel is a different beast to flying. Train stations are generally much less busy and not enclosed like airports. The check procedure is much easier and quicker so you spend much less time at a station than at an airport. On the train itself there is generally more space and room between passengers. You can now jump on a train in London and get to pretty much anywhere in Europe easily and pretty quickly and in relative comfort.
What will flying look like in the future. Until we have a vaccine expect much longer check in times as there will be social distancing and health screening measures at the airport. It will probably be best to drive and park at the airport rather than get the bus or train. Make sure you get a nice comfortable mask as you will have to wear one in the airport and on the plane. For longer flights you will need several masks and a plastic bag to put used ones in. These should be available to purchase at the airports. Online check-in will be the norm and there will be limited face to face contact with airline staff. You may find that you will only be able to take limited hand luggage on the flight so pack most in your main bags and ensure you purchase enough baggage when you buy your flight.
Airports and planes are set to be thoroughly and constantly deep cleaned and there will be sanitising stations all over the place. The air conditioning units on the planes are actually very efficient at filtering virus particles and so the recycled air in the cabin is actually very clean. They are similar to the ones used in hospital operating theatres and completely clean the air every few minutes.
Some countries are talking about health certificates and compulsory Covid tests on arrival. If you have a temperature or any symptoms you are told not to even go to the airport. Take your temperature before you leave the house just in case. So maybe for a week or more before our holiday we should be working from home and not seeing anyone to be safe. It would be awful to look forward to your big trip only to be denied boarding when you get to the airport. Check out the latest government safe list.
FLEXIBILITY & SECURITY
With everything that is going on at the moment you must ensure you book a holiday that offers full financial protection. If you book a holiday through a tour operator or travel agent you are covered under ‘Package Travel Regulations’ PTR rules. So if your flights or holiday is cancelled, you will be able to rebook or get a full refund. You would need to book both your flights and accommodation to get the enhanced cover as booking separately online or direct with the airline or hotel means you are not. Many tour operators are offering very small deposits to book now and very flexible payment terms. Some are even letting you change not only dates but the destination as well, right up to around a month before travel. Having that flexibility in place is important should there be any Covid19 flare ups whether it be here in the UK or at your destination. It is more important than ever to get comprehensive travel insurance. A lot of policies won’t cover you for Coronavirus so make sure you check this before you buy and never travel without insurance! Remember though that if you are expecting compensation for any extra costs incurred due to cancelled flights at the moment you will be disappointed. You are due a refund but not compensation as this is out of the airlines control. If your flights and holiday is operating and you decide that due to health reasons or quarantine measures you want to cancel, then normal cancellation conditions will apply.
COVID19 TRAVEL INSURANCE
It is important to get decent travel insurance, ideally before you book a holiday. A lot of insurance companies are not including Covid19 into their policies, although some do. At present most of the ones that do will only cover health issues you may have abroad and not any cancellation cover. Although Rock Insurance have just released a new Covid19 policy which does now include Covid19 health and cancellationy. More insurers should follow their lead soon.