It’s a question which many have asked recently… should you even consider booking a holiday right now?
Let’s cut to the chase. Here in the UK we are currently experiencing Lockdown 3.0, which includes a ban on all non-essential travel within and outside of the country. I’m not even going to talk in detail about the hotel quarantine if you’ve arrived from a red list country. It’s worth noting everyone else still needs to quarantine at home, but the test-to-release scheme applies.
One caveat. You currently need to take a Covid test before you fly home, and then on day’s two and eight when you’re back in the UK.
But should you consider making plans for Summer 2021 and beyond? I say yes!
The vaccine rollout is continuing at pace which is great news, plus the UK government set out their roadmap for easing restrictions. A UK task-force will report on the reopening of travel on April 12 with a view to permit travel once again no earlier than May 17. It’s no surprise that flights from that date onwards are filling up.
Each country is taking a slightly different approach to the migration of people for business and leisure, therefore we don’t actually know when other countries will allow tourists back. I’d like to say they would welcome us with open arms, but if anything the past year has told us… you never know what’s gonna happen. *facepalm*.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should consider booking something now…
As things are constantly changing all the time (literally on a daily basis), one thing consumers like you and I want is flexibility – and it seems the industry has responded to this incredibly well. For example, you can book a flight with the peace of mind if you need to change things around; you can avoid a change fee (fare difference still applies), or better still – get a voucher to use at a later date. Refunds a little bit more complicated as in most cases the flight needs to be cancelled in order to get your money back – but I’m happy to settle for a voucher. Similar options apply within the rail and cruise sector too.
Many hotels are offering free cancellation, sometimes up to the date of arrival – others may provide vouchers or no quibble guarantees. The same goes for a host of ancillary products such as car hire, experiences and excursions too. It’s a yes from me.
Flexibility is one thing, but we want to be reassured that travel is safe – which is why you’ve probably received hundreds of e-mails from different establishments outlining how they are keeping customers and staff members as safe as they can be. From the mandatory wearing of face-masks in public areas unless actively eating or drinking, to enhanced cleaning protocols, limited capacity and physical distancing… it’s a good idea to read up on everything that may be different at where you are looking to go. Granted a lot of things could have changed for the better (sometimes worse)… so do your research.
If you’ve always loved going to that buffet restaurant with the elaborate chocolate fountain – chances are that’s off the menu. Based on the last point, weigh up your desire to travel versus what you look for in a holiday. If you are happy that things will still be a little different for a while, then go ahead and book. Otherwise it’s best holding off for a bit.
On another note, Royal Caribbean have announced they are potentially looking for volunteers on a couple of trial cruises to test out all the CDC-recommended protocols before a restart in operations. Thousands of people have showed interest thus far.
The industry is struggling and companies are literally competing for your business. In these hard-hitting financial times, you’ll find an array of deals around. Flights and 7-nights hotel in the USA from £375pp in late Summer? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s a real steal of a deal.
Okay it’s not necessarily something to convince you to book something, but it’s super important…
Many insurers (particularly here in the UK) stopped offering cover for Covid-19 in the spring once we went into the first lockdown. If you already have a policy, check the schedule or contact your provider for more info. If you’re looking to take out a new policy – bear in mind many aren’t even taking on new customers at the moment. MoneySavingExpert have a great detailed guide on all things travel insurance (and generally money-related) here. UK citizens, remember EHIC’s are still valid!
It’s something to look forward to
We all need things to look forward to in life and for many of us a holiday does just that.
Travel is the industry of making people happy, experiencing different places, cultures and enriching our lives.
For me – it’s actually how I’ve met so many of my best friends!
The dream holiday to Florida may not be exactly what we thought it would be when you started planning it in January 2020 (before the pandemic really took the world by storm), but it’s a break nonetheless – and a lot of the magic is still around.
At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you whether you feel comfortable with booking something right now. Personally I find peace of mind knowing there is flexibility to change my plans and some of the deals are too good to resist, so I’d go for it.
As Captain Chris who works for Virgin Atlantic says “Buy airline tickets like you buy toilet paper” – I’d say that about anything in travel.
If you do end up booking anything, let me know what you’ve planned and if you managed to grab a great deal in the comments.