SHOULD I BOOK A HOLIDAY AT THE MOMENT?
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SHOULD I BOOK A HOLIDAY AT THE MOMENT?
Many people have asked me this question. Were you one of the ones who were waiting until after Christmas to book your 2021 trip? Are you now worried about booking anything with this new strain of Coronavirus and tougher restrictions?
Here are a few things you might want to consider if you are looking to book a holiday for 2021
LOCKDOWN – When I first wrote this page we were in tier 4. The country is now in the midst of a full lockdown. International travel is banned for all but essential trips. So when can we travel again. At the moment the lockdown is due to end in mid February. A little annoying if you planned to get away for the school half term. Realistically I think it will be extended. Even if it isn’t I think there will still be some severe travel restrictions in place. If you are planning to book a holiday, my personal and professional opinion is you may have to wait until Easter to get away. I hope we can get away sooner though.
Although it is not all bad news. We now have two vaccines approved and we are well into the vaccination process. This will help get life (and travel) back to some sort of normal soon. Hancock seems to think by Easter, when they have promised to get everyone in the country over 50 vaccinated. I won’t hold my breath on that one but let’s hope that he’ right.
UK VISITORS BANNED – Lots of countries are actually banning us from entering at the moment anyway. Hopefully this will change soon. Double check with your travel agent the countries that are accepting UK visitors. Most will require you to have a negative Covid test result to enter. If UK visitors are banned then your holiday will be cancelled and you can change dates or get a refund.
You also now need to get a negative test before you return to the UK. So that is a bit of a pain and expensive. At present you will have to get a test before you leave to go on holiday and one in the resort before you fly back. At your own expense. Hopefully this may not affect people too much as we can’t go anywhere at the moment anyway. Plus the government have said they are looking to end this scheme in mid March.
SUMMER & BEYOND – At the moment Summer holidays are looking to be operating fairly normally, if we go by the governments vaccine promise. They have said restrictions should be lifted by Easter so Summer is looking okay. I would personally be happy booking a Summer holiday now.
PEAK DATES – So before the Summer period we have February half term and Easter. As we now know it won’t be possible to travel at half term. Easter may be okay. The demand is high for Easter as families who wanted to go in February now can’t. Plus many families have already moved trips from 2020 to Easter. This is the same for Summer school holidays, which are getting booked up already. I would say to book soon to get the best deals but ensure you get a fully flexible and ATOL protected package. You can grab a package at the moment for as little as £25 per person deposit. If you want something specific then don’t wait as you could be dissapointed when its not available when you try to book later. If you don’t need to travel in school holidays then there is less of a rush to book. Although it is a good time to grab a bargain as it is January sales, plus as we are in lockdown, companies are offering more incentives to book.
FLEXIBLE PACKAGES – As I just mentioned, you should always look to book a package holiday at the moment. Book your flights and accommodation together and you are covered under PTR and ATOL rules. Make sure you can change the dates of your trip easily and with little or no costs. Most decent companies are offering lots of flexibility at the moment. If a package is cancelled then you are absolutely due a full refund. If the country you are travelling to has banned UK visitors then your holiday will be cancelled and you can change dates or get a refund. You will need to check this with your travel agent or tour operator when you book.
INSURANCE – It is more important than ever to have comprehensive travel insurance. Don’t just buy any old policy though. Make sure you get one that covers you for covid19 cancellation due to you have to isolate, getting covid before travel, being unable to travel due to restrictions – plus full covid health cover when you are away. You may have to pay extra for these full covid policies but its worth it. You might also want a policy that covers you for travelling to places on the FCO list against travel, which is a lot of places at the moment. This doesn’t mean they are especially dangerous but just not on the travel corridor list.
JANUARY SALES – There are some really good promotions on at the moment. Virgin, BA and Easyjet in particular have some really good ones as do a lot of the cruise lines. I have just booked a group today to New York in October and got them all a free upgrade to premium economy on their flights. So it is a good time to grab a bargain and most of the packages are going to offer full flexibility and protection – but don’t just assume, always double check.
WHERE TO GO? – It is hard to say right now where we will be able to travel at Easter and beyond. Hopefully restrictions will be lifted in a lot of places but I doubt that will happen straight away. You would probably best best to look at going to Europe and the Caribbean for starters. Most of the original air-bridges were European and Caribbean destinations. The Far East, Australia and New Zealand have had very restrictive quarantine for UK visitors and I can’t see that changing soon. Always heck the FCO website to check out each destination and whether it is on an air-bridge or has restrictive quarantine. Again and sorry to repeat myself, make sure if you do book, it is a package that is flexible and financially protected. Plus you will have a travel professional on hand to help and advise you.
CONCLUSION – If there is something specific you want or can only travel on certain dates or in peak periods like school holidays then I would book now. Find a package with flexible terms and a small deposit. Never book non-refundable packages or flight and hotel separately. If you are flexible and don’t mind when you travel or where and don’t need to travel in school holidays then you could wait and book a last minute package. Sometimes this saves money, although it will depend on availability. You will miss out on the January sales though. If you do see something in the sales then go ahead and book – just make sure its with a small deposit and its flexible and protected. Plus we all need something to look foward to at the moment to get through this depressing period.