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When can I book a holiday?

When can I book a holiday?
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The announcement that British holidaymakers have been longing for is finally here. Boris Johnson has unveiled the country’s roadmap out of lockdown which includes key dates affecting travel and holidays. Here’s everything you need to know about when you can book a holiday.

What are the key dates for travel and holidays?

From 12 April, domestic travel for holidays will be allowed to self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday cottages (as long as you travel with members of your household only).

From 17 May, all other accommodation, including hotels and B&Bs can reopen. International travel for holidays may also resume pending a government review.

From 21 June, the government expects to have dropped all restrictions on socialising, meaning that you can go on holiday with whomever you like, including in large groups.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that these dates are subject to change.

Can I book a holiday right now?

The short answer is yes. While the ban on non-essential travel remains in place (at least until 12 April for domestic travel and 17 May for international travel), there are no rules against booking a holiday right now. Bookings are currently open for many airlines and travel companies.

In fact, there are several good reasons to consider making your booking early. For one, you’ll be more likely to get the exact kind of holiday you want.

The recent announcement by the prime minister has led to a surge in holiday bookings. With such high demand, there is a likelihood of good accommodation selling out quickly especially in some of the most popular locations. 

Another benefit of booking right now is that you might be able to score a great deal. Such deals are likely to run out as the demand for holidays increases the closer we get to reopening.

At the same time, there are also some risks to be aware of if you book a holiday right now:

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  • The key dates for reopening could change, putting your holiday in jeopardy.
  • Other countries’ guidelines, including whether they’ll allow visitors from the UK, are subject to change. This could also put your holiday at risk.

You might need to meet special conditions, including providing proof of a Covid jab, to be allowed to enter some countries.

How can I protect myself if I book my holiday now?

The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself if you choose to book a holiday early.

1. Book your holiday as a package through a travel agent

The advantage of booking a package holiday is that it will be ATOL protected. That means you’ll be entitled to a full refund from the travel agent or tour operator if the holiday can’t go ahead because of reasons beyond your control.

2. Take out travel insurance

Travel insurance can help protect you from certain mishaps before and during your trip, including cancellations.

Exactly what’s covered will vary from one policy to the next. So before you part with your money, read the small print carefully to make sure that you’ll have cover, for example, if the holiday can’t go ahead because of Covid-related reasons.

3. Pay using a credit card

Paying with a credit card offers an extra layer of protection if something goes wrong with your holiday booking.

For example, if the holiday is cancelled and you’re having problems getting a refund, you might be able to get your money back by contacting your card company and claiming a chargeback or a Section 75 refund.  

Takeaway

It’s possible to book a summer holiday right now, but before you do, be wary of the risks and be sure to protect yourself.

And when it’s time to travel, think about picking up a travel credit card that doesn’t charge you extra for foreign transactions and cash withdrawals. This could help stretch your holiday budget further.

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