Should I Book a Holiday or Stay at Home?
As most of you are now aware, the lockdown restrictions are slowly starting to lift around the world. Instead of January being the month where you see a barrage of holiday ads, they have now migrated to June.
The vast majority of airlines and tour operators have announced plans to restart international flights such as Ryanair, Easyjet, and British Airways. The only one that hasn’t is TUI who has planned to get things restarted from July 6th.
It looks as though Italy has started to reopen its borders which is exactly what I suggested would happen earlier. The fact that the vast majority of holidaymakers to Italy aren’t necessarily coming for the sandy beaches makes life a lot easier since most of the shops, historical places of interest have already reopened.
So that’s the planes. What about the boats and ferries. P&O is one of the shipping operators who have said that they won’t sail until October at the earliest and the Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all non-essential travel.
Here’s where things are still a little tough for holidaymakers. The 14-day quarantine that is in place at the moment means that any holidaymakers returning to the UK will need to quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days which for most, is a little impractical to say the least.
There are also still quite a few countries that have a ban on accepting UK nationals such as France and Spain.
So is it really time to book a holiday? Let’s look at this in more detail before you look to part with your money.
When will it be safe to book holidays and flights again?
As each week passes, we are getting a clearer picture of the government's COVID-19 recovery strategy. At the moment bars, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 4th July, however, some form of distancing will still be in place and the most vulnerable in our society will still have additional restrictions.
The FCO still advises against all non-essential travel and they haven’t given any indication on when this will be lifted. As far as we are aware, package holidays are still canceled, so any travel will need to be organised by individuals.
The fact that airlines are still flying and travel agents are still taking bookings doesn’t necessarily mean it’s OK to travel. We just don’t have enough information available
Should I book a package holiday for this year or 2021?
Yes and No. There’s no problem booking a holiday, but, you should keep in mind that the FCO continues to advise against travel. Until this is lifted, none of these holidays can go ahead.
Even when their decision has been lifted. You still need to factor in the quarantine period of 14 days on your return. By then, most employers will be fully up and running again and they may not approve of you taking a further 14 days on top of your allocated time off.
Should I book flights for this year or 2021?
Whether this is good or bad, airlines are not under FCO rules nor do they have to follow them. That’s why they are able to announce plans of reopening routes.
As soon as countries start to reopen their borders, expect the number of flights available to increase significantly. However, I wouldn’t recommend booking one straight away though.
Even though borders may reopen, some countries will still restrict UK nationals and will require you to go into quarantine. I can guarantee you that if your holiday is for 2 weeks, that much of that time will be under quarantine and not a lot of fun.
Should I book accommodation for 2021?
Did you know that some hotel booking sites and hotel chains allow you to cancel bookings for free even up to a few days before your stay? Unfortunately, you are likely to pay more for this privilege since it’s just a glorified insurance policy. But, if you’re looking for a hassle-free booking process and peace of mind.
Like with any contract, just ensure you read the small print so you know when you will be charged for the room.
If there’s a choice, then Non-refundable overseas accommodation is probably a better one to stay clear of at the moment (Unless it was booked as part of a package).
Should I book a 2021 cruise?
The vast majority of major cruise operators are provisionally planning to start sailing again this summer, but it’s hard to see how popular this will be if we still need to abide by social distancing guidelines.
Unlike airlines, these cruise operations do fall under the FCO mandate and they will be affected by any future decision the government takes to reference the relaxation of the rules.
Don’t forget, there will still be some ports that haven’t reopened, which will leave the options available quite limited.
Most of the cruises booked are thankfully covered by the Package Travel Regulations which means you will be entitled to a full refund within 14 days if for some reason the cruise was canceled.
If you’re lucky, you may even be entitled to a partial refund if port stops are missed from the itinerary.
Is it cheap to book a holiday now?
No matter what sort of holiday you’re going to book, there is still a risk involved. However, if there’s a chance to pick up a nice discounted deal, then you might feel it is well worth the risk.
I don’t think there will be that many good deals flying around. With a few firms going bust and with social distancing, a few operators will struggle to make any form of profit due to the low number of holidaymakers. With fewer firms this normally means reduced competition, and, whenever this happens prices are likely to increase.
Just because a tour operator is advertising something as a good deal. It doesn’t always mean it is one.
If you did have an idea of what a holiday cost before the crisis, then it would be a good idea to compare the prices. But, I’m guessing that most people didn't For that reason, we would recommend caution.
In all honesty, this is ultimately your decision to make. Everyone has their reasons on which way to jump on this one. From a personal point of view, I would leave any holiday travels till next year and would consider traveling within the UK maybe, instead of taking a flight somewhere.
It’s purely subjective and there is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on what your risk tolerance is like.
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