To book, or not to book, that is the question. With COVID guidelines changing faster than the weather, you may be wondering if it is worth booking a holiday at all…
Well, if you want to know if you should book a holiday, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider.
Here are 6 things to consider when booking your holiday.
Where is my destination?
If it’s a sunny Spanish holiday you’re after, you may be out of luck. It is currently illegal to travel outside of the UK for a holiday. It is also illegal to travel outside of the UK unless your reason meets certain criteria.
The UK government has provided a list of reasons why one might leave the UK during the pandemic, and have also provided a nice guide on what evidence of that reason you’ll need.
But it’s not hopeless.
Domestic travel is significantly easier as self-catered holiday vacations are open across the UK. Currently, if you are within the same household or bubble you may travel freely around the UK and stay in any self-catered accommodation you like. But, starting May 17 in England, mixed guests will be accepted – With Wales following suit at the end of the month.
While travelling abroad is infinitely more complex than travelling within the UK, some of the same considerations apply.
Am I allowed to cross the border?
If you’re doubly concerned about your overseas vacation being cancelled, you may be thinking about traveling in the UK.
As already discussed it is perfectly legal to travel within the UK (or Common Travel Area), but different areas have different rules.
Domestic travel is obviously much simpler, but you still need to factor in the UK government’s ever-changing COVID rules and guidelines. It’s important to note that while the UK Government often uses extremely vague terms, it distinguishes two different types of rules:
- You Should – “You should avoid touching your face.”
These are recommendations!
- You Must – “You must wear a mask on public transport.”
These are legal requirements!
So keep that in mind when looking through the guidelines.
When travelling within the UK, also keep in mind that different countries and areas may have different interpretations of the same rules. What is legal here may be illegal elsewhere, and vice versa. For example, it’s now perfectly fine to travel from England into Wales, but travelling to the Isle of Man requires a Landing Form and for you to isolate for 21 days.
Will the UK let me leave?
While it is currently illegal to leave the UK without a valid excuse, the UK government has announced it might allow international travel from May 17th.
‘Might’ being the operative word.
As has been the case in the UK, these rules are always subject to change, and at short notice. The roadmap out of lockdown provides a modicum of comfort, but the frequency and rapidity of these changes must be taken into consideration when booking.
Will the airline let me board?
Added to the new list of concerns is whether the airline will allow you to board. You must check carefully whether your airline requires a negative COVID test, and how recent the results must be. Most require a test to be taken within 72 hours before departure.
Some countries are toying with the idea of a Vaccination Passport. This is not an entirely novel concept, with many countries requiring inoculations before travel, but is still a point of contention.
As it is uncertain the extent to which vaccinated people can pass the virus, it is likely that a two-fold process will be in place. A negative COVID test result + Vaccine Passport.
Will my destination let me in?
While the UK may allow us to travel out, it does not mean that your destination will allow visitors in. As has been the case with some unfortunate Brits being turned away upon arrival.
Some countries do not allow travel without a negative COVID test result. Some countries have closed their borders entirely. This is something you need to consider in your research.
At the height of the pandemic, countries like Canada required not one, but two negative COVID tests and a quarantine; Just because the UK is easing restrictions, does not mean other countries are.
Even if the final destination will allow you in, you must also consider the transition country if your flight requires a layover. Some airports themselves require a negative COVID test.
Can I get a refund?
Lastly, if your are dead set on travelling during the pandemic, it is advised to purchase refundable or flexible tickets – Now more than ever, with these ever-shifting regulations and nervous border agencies.
If restrictions lift in popular travel destinations it is also likely that airlines, in a bid to boost their sales, will overbook. This will lead to travellers being bumped from flights against their wishes. You may be able to claim money back if this happens to you.
Sifting through these regulations can be tiring. This applies to every aspect of your life and business. If you need help making sense of regulations, you should contact us via our website, or contact us on 0330 400 5490.