Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Covid-19 lockdown measures easing in the coming weeks there is real hope of a staggered return to normal life.
As part of the UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, certain restrictions will be eased in four steps at five-week intervals before the summer, with the end goal of all restrictions being lifted by June 21 in England.
One of the key changes set to come into effect will be the new rules on travel and tourism in England, and we have put together a handy guide to explain the latest information.
When are holidays allowed?
APRIL 12 – As part of Step Two of the lockdown easing, trips to self-catering accommodation, including campsites and holiday cottages (with your household ONLY) in England will be permitted.
MAY 17 – All other forms of holiday accommodation can reopen in England, including B&Bs, hotels and caravan parks.
What about international travel?
As per the roadmap, the Government is considering allowing some limited international travel from May 17 onwards.
However, the UK PM stressed that international travel for leisure remains illegal at this stage, and this aspect of lockdown restrictions would remain under review.
Currently, these rules only apply to holiday plans in England, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland confirming separate plans.
What is the latest situation elsewhere in the UK?
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford indicated there will be an update at the next lockdown review on March 12, with specific types of accommodation potentially reopening at the start of April, according to Wales Online.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declined to give firm dates on internal tourism returning, on the premise of ‘not giving false promises’ as other measures are relaxed.
NI First Minster Arlene Foster confirmed there was no update on changing travel measures at this stage, with a strict lockdown in place in Northern Ireland until at least April 1.
International Holiday bookings
Following Monday’s announcement on lockdown, travel firms revealed a spike in online searches and bookings, with budget airline Easyjet confirming a rise of 630% in bookings and Thomas Cook stating a 60% increase in online traffic, according to a report from the Mirror.
Popular European beach destinations were the most popular searches, including bookings for sun spots including Malaga, Alicante, Palma, Faro and Crete, as per Wales Online.
But despite this optimism, international travel in and out England remains subject to change as public health officials monitor the progress of vaccine uptake and infection rates.
With the situation continuing to evolve, we have looked at the pros and cons of booking early to keep you in the loop.
Benefits of booking now
· You’re more likely to get the holiday you want : With surges in bookings and demand, it’s likely accommodation will sell out quickly, especially in popular locations such as Cornwall, Devon and the Lake District.
· There are deals to be found: Travel firms have some tempting offers for both UK holidays and holidays abroad.
· Flexible booking policies: A number of firms have introduced flexible policies which allow you to rebook or get a refund if your plans need to change because of government guidance. For example, Butlins have a Covid guarantee, which includes no-quibble refunds, British Airways are offering free amends with its ‘Book with Confidence’ deal, and TUI are providing Covid cover and free amends in their ‘Travel with Confidence’ package.
Risks of booking now
· The biggest risk is the potential of the key dates changing and your holiday being cancelled. If you do have to cancel your holiday, you will be offered options such as rebooking or a refund, but it’s worth noting this will be dependent on the booking policy for your holiday. If you book, double check the small print before making a payment/deposit.
For holidays abroad, there are factors which could come into play, including an individual country’s Covid-19 risk, quarantine rules and whether borders will be open to UK arrivals. If you book a package holiday, and subsequent Foreign Office advice doesn’t allow for travel, you are entitled to a refund or rebooking to a later date if the company cancels your trip. It is also worth noting that if you travel against Foreign Office advice, your travel insurance will be invalidated.
— to www.inyourarea.co.uk