Holidays are desperately needed by countless Britons who have been trapped in their homes for months on end as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A third lockdown has scuppered any immediate plans for a getaway, with travel banned for at least seven weeks. The travel industry has been thrown into “absolute turmoil,” Julia Lo Bue-Said, The Advantage Travel Partnership’s Chief Executive, told the BBC this morning.
Bue-Said urged holidaymakers to be careful with whom they book.
Jet-setters should research tour operators carefully – with a human at the other end of the phone always a good sign.
“I think it’s really important for anyone who’s looking now to really think about whom they work with,” she said.
“Do they know the company? Is there a human they can speak to what the other end of the phone? Really research whom they’re working with.”
Anyone who books a package holiday will benefit from protection.
“Customers are protected on the package travel regulation,” Bue-Said explained.
“It’s a bit complicated depending on how you book – but there are rules to protect you, there are laws that will protect you.”
Collaboration can also be vital at such a time to make sure you’re definitely getting what you want.
“Work with your agent, work with your holiday provider and make sure that you are talking to them about the approach that is appropriate for you,” the expert advised.
James Lynn, co-CEO and co-founder of travel debit card Currensea, has also shared his travel advice for upcoming holidays.
He encouraged travellers to book now for the warmer months.
“Now is actually a great time to book your summer holiday because flights and hotels are excellent value thanks to the January sales and uncertainty around the covid travel restrictions.
“With the PM saying in his address [on Monday] night that everyone in priority groups will have been vaccinated by mid-February, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel and I expect things will finally start getting back to normal after that.”
He continued: “However, there are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself.
“Check the refund policy on flights or accommodation before you book to ensure that the company will refund you fully, in cash, rather than with a voucher.
“If a company refunds you with a voucher and then goes bankrupt it can be incredibly challenging to get your money back.”