Worried about booking a holiday? Follow these 3 tips to reduce the risk of COVID disruption

Keen for an overseas trip following the latest changes to UK travel rules? Follow these tips to reduce the risk of COVID-19 disruption.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

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Holiday bookings have surged in 2022 following the recent relaxation of UK travel rules. Fully vaccinated travellers now no longer have to buy costly PCR tests or take pre-departure tests before returning to England.

Despite the relaxing of the rules, holiday demand hasn’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. So if you’re one of those reluctant to book an overseas trip, how can you lower the risk of losing out to COVID-19-related disruption? Let’s take a look. [top_pitch]

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What are the current UK travel rules?

Under current travel rules, fully vaccinated travellers (and under-18s) now only need to take a lateral flow test on, or before, day 2 after arriving in England. These tests must be from a private, Government-approved provider. Free NHS tests cannot be used.

Non-vaccinated travellers are still required to take a pre-departure test before flying to England. These travellers also have to take a PCR test on day two and day eight after arrival, and self-isolate for 10 days.

Do note that the above rules apply to England only. If you live in another region of the UK, check the current travel rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


How can you lower the risk of COVID-19 travel disruption in 2022?

Travellers now face fewer hurdles than they did a month ago. However, the pandemic continues to show us that the situation can change quickly.

Whether a new Covid-19 variant is discovered, virus cases surge in a particular country or other nations close their borders to UK travellers, it certainly pays to keep these risks in mind when you next book an overseas trip. To help reduce the risk of losing cash, follow these three tips.

1. Book flexibly if you can

Due to the ever-changing travel rules surrounding the pandemic, a number of travel operators have implemented flexible policies that allow travellers to change their plans should they be impacted by Covid-19.

For example, should you or your party test positive for the virus, or you are legally required to self-isolate, then you shouldn’t be financially impacted as long as you book with a company that has a good flexible booking policy.

TUI and First Choice are two big-name holiday providers that have introduced flexible booking policies in response to Covid-19.

2. Get good travel insurance

When Covid-19 first kicked off, getting travel insurance to cover you for virus disruption was difficult. Thankfully, this has now changed, and a number of travel insurance providers are happy to cover issues related to Covid-19.

This means that there are now policies that will cover you should you fall ill with Covid-19 or be unable to travel because of it. However, travel policies can differ massively between providers, so always pay close attention to the wording of the policy.

3. Pay on a credit card where possible

An often overlooked way of ensuring you are protected from Covid-19 disruption is the added protection available if you for your trip on a credit card. This is all thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. It makes your credit card provider equally liable should you be unsuccessful in claiming a refund for a cancelled trip.

However, to get this extra protection, your trip must cost at least £100. That’s because Section 75 doesn’t apply to purchases under this amount.

Also, to qualify for Section 75 protection you need to ensure you spend £100 within a single transaction. For example, two one-way flights purchased separately that each cost less than £100 wouldn’t be covered. However, a return flight costing more than £100 would be covered.

If you don’t pay by credit card, then it’s also worth being aware of ‘chargeback’ protection. This can apply to purchases under £100, as well as those made on a debit card. However, chargeback protection is not legally binding, so it’s less valuable than Section 75.

For more information on Section 75 and the chargeback scheme, see our article that explains what a credit card chargeback is and how it works.

Keen for more travel tips? See The Motley Fool’s latest travel money articles.

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