With England starting a four week embargo and instructing people in Wales not to vacation outside of the country, many potential travelers have something to look forward to.
The travel industry, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions, is desperate to make bookings on a reasonable scale. Businesses hope to harness the appetite of frustrated vacationers to travel.
Accordingly, numerous flights, package tours and cruises can now be booked for 2021 and even 2022.
What are the current travel rules?
People living in England cannot start their vacation before December 3, 2020. Wales is currently on a “fire lockdown” which will wane on November 9th. From then on, international travel is still prohibited for Welsh residents.
Travelers from Scotland can travel abroad, including from airports in England.
By November 13th, the people of Northern Ireland should “avoid all unnecessary travel”.
The Foreign Office has issued a warning against non-essential travel to most destinations and anyone returning to the UK will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
In the meantime, there are a number of restrictions on international visitors abroad, from pre-departure testing requirements to total prohibitions.
There remains a lot of uncertainty as to whether a lot of meaningful travel will be practical in the final weeks of 2020.
The travel industry hopes to convince customers that they can safely embark on vacation for the next year and beyond. Be warned, however, that the range is narrower and prices are likely to be higher than in previous years.
A New Year’s city break?
British Airways is offering three night stays in Barcelona with dozens of hotels to choose from at a fixed price of £ 159 per person for the weekend of January 8-11, including flights to and from London Heathrow (with checked baggage) and, at some hotels, breakfast.
From Manchester, easyJetidays is offering three nights in Paris from January 22nd to 25th for £ 188 per person – including checked baggage but excluding breakfast.
But can I travel?
Not if the current rules apply. Both Spain and France, the two most popular international destinations for British vacationers, are currently on lockdown. The Foreign Office warns that they represent an “unacceptably high risk”.
If you book now and are unable to travel due to government restrictions, you can cancel without penalty with these and other companies that offer proper package tours – flights and accommodations purchased at the same time.
Note that some online travel agents, including On The Beach and Love Holidays, which offer scheduled low cost flights with accommodation, have declined refunds for the fare portion of the offer. It has yet to be decided whether this is legal.
What are the new blocking rules?
The transport secretary Grant Shapps told the virtual meeting of the Abta Travel Association: “We are looking for agreements that maintain connectivity.”
However, there is currently no legal framework for flights scheduled to continue next year.
Can i go skiing?
The leading winter sports companies believe you can. Neilson spent a week at the 24-room Chalet Hotel Edelweiss in the Italian resort of Sauze d’Oulx for £ 755 per person, including flights from Manchester to Turin, transfers, breakfast and afternoon tea daily and six dinners with wine. The next lift is only 50 m away.
Although in Italy the ski slopes are currently closed due to local restrictions.
If the trip goes on, you can switch your vacation to an alternative winter vacation free of charge up to two weeks before you travel.
Many people believe that limitations will wear off over time. Since Easter Sunday 2021 is relatively early (April 4th), it offers opportunities for skiing. The same Neilson holiday only costs £ 635 if you depart on March 28 and return on Easter Sunday.
We need a family vacation in February with some sunshine
A package tour to the Canary Islands is usually the obvious choice. In late October, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and their sister islands were opened to British tourists, but English and Welsh vacationers are currently unable to travel there.
In addition, the Canarian Government is introducing mandatory pre-departure PCR tests for arriving visitors planning to stay in registered accommodations (including all holiday hotels).
For many schools, the bank holiday is February 13-21, 2021. Tui has a week in Fuerteventura departing from Birmingham on February 13 for £ 569 per person based on a family of four at the self-catering hotel Broncemar Beach.
What about the summer?
According to Tui, the UK’s largest holiday company, prices for summer 2021 are higher than last year. The reason: Demand from vacationers who couldn’t travel in 2020 and postponed their trips instead of canceling a refund.
However, there are some competitive deals out there for those willing to commit. Jet2 Holidays has a week on the Be Smart Terrace in the village of Porches in the Portuguese Algarve for £ 469 per person based on a family of four, including flights from Leeds Bradford, checked baggage and transfers.
Is Florida an Option?
President Trump’s March 14 proclamation banned Florida and the rest of the US, but that is likely to change by next summer.
A half-time break from Heathrow to Orlando on May 22, 2021 with Virgin Holidays costs just £ 501 per person based on a family of four, including flights with luggage and accommodation at Champions World Resort in Kissimmee – convenient for most theme parks.
Can i take a cruise?
Logistically, the complexities of the cruise industry, involving crew members and customers from around the world, and trips that typically stop at many destinations have made them particularly vulnerable to the tangle of restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
It also has an image problem. Diamond Princess became a standalone coronavirus hotspot while quarantined in Japan while several countries – including the UK – are warning their citizens not to board cruise ships.
Cruise lines may insist on “official trips only” which may put some people off.
But the die-hard cruise lines have some great deals. P&O offers a week-long flight cruise on Azura that begins with flights from London to Malta and flies to Athens and the Greek islands of Crete, Santorini and Rhodes for £ 949 per person.
Should I wait until the last minute?
Many travelers will do just that to reduce the margin for unexpected events and thwart plans.
You will surely reduce the risk. You could also get a deal, but conversely, you might find that prices drop sharply as availability decreases.
What type of insurance should I take out – and when?
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid from January 1, 2021, so British travelers to the European Union will no longer receive free medical treatment.
My passport expires in 2021 – when should I renew it?
Now might be a good time; The collapse of tourism means online renewals are fast right now. From January 1, 2021, strict new rules will apply to the validity of passports for British travelers to the EU.
Should I seriously book now for 2022?
Some people do, with the UK’s largest vacation company, Tui, having trips for sale through October 2022.
Cruise ships also want to bring customers on board. Royal Caribbean is offering a week-long Western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans on April 30, 2022 for £ 503 per person – but does not include flights.
To build confidence, as long as you cancel at least 48 hours before your sailing date, you will receive “Future Cruise Credit” that is valid for up to one year from the original sail.