Travel is back (again)! Hopefully…

Monday 22 February 2021 was a date the whole of England was looking forward to, not least those desperate for a holiday, but those desperate to send people on holiday. But what does it all mean?

The key dates to watch out for now are;

12 April, but not earlier

Your household can take a holiday in a self contained holiday let such as an apartment or cottage somewhere in England. Note that Scotland and Wales might have different rules and may not allow travel to/from England by this date.

Desperate for some sun? Well 12 April is also the date that the UK Government’s newly (re)formed Global Travel Taskforce is expected to report on the safe resumption of international travel. The Taskforce have invited consultation from the industry, and I hope that there’s a broad spectrum of voices from all sectors – inbound, rail, coach and corporate travel as well as aviation.

What should we expect from this report? Details on quarantine, testing and vaccine passports need to be addressed.

The first 2 points especially are critical to the resumption of travel. The current rules of home or hotel quarantine and the need to have up to 4 Covid tests just to get a week or 2 away from home are far too onerous for most. Unless these requirements are significantly reduced (in time and cost) or removed completely, they’ll continue to be major barriers to people travelling overseas.

17 May, but not earlier

Foreign travel can start again. Hopefully.

Much will depend on the detail of the Travel Taskforce report. Will there be travel corridors like we saw in 2020? There’s already discussions taking place to have links with Greece and Spanish islands such as Majorca and Ibiza. But the biggest barriers to where you can go will continue to be how other countries control the virus and manage their vaccine rollout.

I wouldn’t expect to get far from Europe and countries with strict border policies such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan will likely keep those in place until after May.

So should you be booking a holiday for 18 May? Only with caution.

Check the change and cancellation policy for what you want to book and try to prepay as little as possible.

Accept that any prepayment may be lost if you need to cancel and always pay with a credit or debit card for chargeback protection.

Book an ABTA protected package holiday. If your trip can’t go ahead because the government won’t let you travel, you’re entitled to a refund.

These dates are the earliest points for when restrictions could be lifted. A lot could happen to get in the way of your long awaited break.

But hey, we’ve got something to work with and to look forward to, which is more than we had this time last week!

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