What does travel look like in 2021?

Don’t know about you, but it was quite nice to say goodbye to 2020. Not the best of years, was it? Looking forward to the next 12 months, I can’t see that much changing until March or April, so what does that mean for travel and holiday plans?

Well, I have just booked a holiday – for September. I talked the other half around to the idea because the flights have been paid for with Virgin Points and are changeable and refundable up to the day before travel, as are the hotels. The hotels are also pay on arrival. Our only outlay is the flights and if the worst happens and the airline fails before we can travel, I can fall back on Section 75 from the credit card company so the money is protected.

All being well, we should have a fantastic week in San Francisco and I can’t wait to fly Virgin’s Upper Class again. We’re currently booked on their new A350 so hopefully they won’t change that before we travel! Because we had 2 upgrade vouchers from the Virgin Atlantic credit card, we’ve upgraded from Premium to Upper Class for no extra points so the trip is incredible value.

The other big trip is to Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong in November for the mother’s decade birthday. This trip was booked for March, changed to February and now it’s November. As I’d booked the flights with a mix of Avios & Virgin Points, I’ve been able to change them by paying a small fee each time our plans had to change. I’ve booked Qatar Airways famous Qsuite for the outbound and am super excited! The main trip is booked through a highly reputable escorted tour operator who have been very accommodating 😉

Have you seen Ryanair’s Jab & Go advert? I mean, it’s very Ryanair, but there’s no denying that the rollout of the vaccines is going to play a pivotal role in when we can travel again. Will countries insist on proof of vaccination on entry? I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, and considering how long the roll out will take, September is about the earliest I’d consider booking in a trip. The key for me is the flexibility of booking with points & miles, that at least minimises our risk if we can’t travel.

There’s plenty of flexible booking policies out there at the moment – and some amazing deals – so if you do want to book a break, do your research on what each company is offering. Tui has a free change policy, for example, but it only covers changes up to 3 weeks before travel and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that things can change very quickly. Make sure to read the small print.

If you do book a trip, don’t forget about travel insurance. Most now cover for Covid whilst abroad but not for cancellation charges if you can’t travel because of the risk of Covid, you’re told to self isolate by the NHS or because of a change in FCDO advice. Which? did a great survey of 73 insurers and over half are only offering a “low” level of cover. Don’t scrimp and if you’re not happy with the level of cover, I wouldn’t book the trip.

I think 2021 will be the year of the late deal as we continue to navigate the myriad of rules for each country and pounce as soon as the light turns green. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to get on that plane.

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