If you’re planning an international getaway in the near future, be prepared to shell out more cash for your trip. The boss of travel website Booking.com predicts that holiday costs will go up this summer due to a combination of pent-up demand and reduced airline capacity.
Here is what you need to know.
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Where can I go on an international holiday?
After close to 20 weeks of a blanket ban on international travel for leisure, people in England will be allowed to go on holidays abroad from 17 May.
However, travel is limited to a dozen countries on the government’s green list, including the likes of Portugal, Israel, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand. It’s important to note that not all countries on England’s green list are allowing visitors from the UK, so check before you make any travel plans.
When returning to England from a green list country, you will not be required to quarantine. However, you will still have to take a pre-flight Covid test and another test on or before day two after you arrive.
Travel for leisure to amber and red list countries will not be allowed.
All of the latest information and updates on the green, amber and red lists can be found on the gov.uk website.
Why are international holiday costs set to rise this summer?
Glenn Fogel, chief executive of Booking.com, told the BBC that holiday costs are likely to go up due to pent-up demand and fewer planes in service.
After spending months confined to their homes, many people are eager to travel. At the same time, many airlines are having to cut back on the number of flights they operate due to travel restrictions. With such uncertainty still clouding the travel sector, many airlines remain apprehensive about bringing back more planes into service.
All of this means that the current capacity of airlines may not be sufficient to meet the pent-up demand set to be unleashed once international travel is permitted. This is something that airline algorithms are likely to pick up on and prices will be adjusted upwards accordingly.
Prices to some of the countries on the green list have already started going up. The BBC reports that British Airways is now charging £530 for a flight from Heathrow to the Algarve on 17 May, compared to £276 two days earlier.
A Ryanair flight from Stansted to Lisbon will set you back £262 on 19 May. This is more than double the price of £128 for the same flight on 14 May.
Still, some airlines insist that they won’t be pushing prices up any time soon. Tui’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, Andrew Flintham, told the BBC: “Our prices are very, very stable. They’re pretty much like for like, flat, year over year. There isn’t a big increase in there”.
He added: “It’ll be a long time before the idea of trying to increase prices to make more money”.
How can you save on costs when holidaying abroad?
With the cost of holidays set to increase this summer, here are a few things you can do to keep things affordable.
1. Check prices both directly and using booking sites
Contrary to popular belief, booking websites do not always offer the best deals on flights or hotel rooms. You may be able to negotiate a better rate by directly contacting the airline or hotel. Check with both to get the best possible rates.
2. Be flexible
If you are flexible on travel dates as well as where you stay, then you can make use of the dates that airlines are offering the cheapest flights and where and when it is cheapest to stay.
3. Take out a travel credit card
Unlike normal credit cards, travel credit cards don’t charge you extra for non-sterling transactions and cash withdrawals. Having such a card when on holiday could help you stretch your budget a little further.
4. Pack properly
Make sure you’ve packed everything you need for your trip to avoid having to dig into your spending money later to buy something you could have brought from home.
5. Go for a local holiday
Rather than booking an international holiday, which is full of unknowns, why not book more locally? After all, there are still plenty of wonderful places in the UK worth exploring. More importantly, vacationing locally is safer and will cost you a fraction of what an international holiday would.