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.
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.”
Tommy Lloyd, MD of Medical Travel Compared, issued a warning about travel insurance at this time.
“The latest government update about the Tier 4 travel ban and countries closing their borders to UK visitors is understandably going to make a lot of people apprehensive because the vast majority of travel insurance will become invalid, ” he said.
“The first piece of advice I would give to anyone affected by the latest announcement is to check that their travel insurance covers them for coronavirus related incidents. There are some COVID-19 specific travel insurance products on our panel that will cover you should you contract COVID-19 either before or whilst on holiday as well as provide cover should your holiday be cancelled.
“This ever-developing situation is a good example of why it is essential to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking a trip anywhere, even if it is a staycation. Generally, if you are in a Tier 4 area and booked travel insurance right now for an imminent holiday it is likely you would not be able to claim for a cancellation.
“However, your holiday provider and/or airline should provide you with a refund as FCO advice is now in place and claims should be pursued through them in the first instance. Travel insurance is a hugely important part of a holiday and is often overlooked or an afterthought.”