The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

The key dates are fast approaching as to when we will get further information relating to how and when foreign travel may resume.

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 2:30 pm
TOTAL TRAVEL: Getting ready to welcome customers back in.

Many of us are itching to get away on an overseas holiday when it is safe to do so, and there has been much continuing speculation causing both customers and ourselves much confusion. The government is due to report back very soon on its plan for overseas travel, however, nothing is yet confirmed, so if you have a holiday already booked, our best advice is to wait to hear more from the government.

As members of ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents), this week we caught up with ABTA themselves and bagged their top tips for booking a holiday with confidence.

Book a package holiday.

Booking a package holiday provides the best form of protection for your travel plans, as your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations. This means you have a right to a replacement holiday or a full refund if your holiday is significantly altered by a change in the situation at your destination.

Check the Foreign Office advice for your destination and sign up to the alerts.

You can keep up to date with the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) travel advice for the country you are visiting. Simply put into Google ‘FCDO’ and the country you are visiting, this will bring up all the details of the advice for your chosen destination, including rules relating to coronavirus.

Book early for the most choice and best prices.

There is massive pent-up demand for holidays, so by booking ahead of others you’ll be able to take advantage of the best deals such as free child places or room upgrades and secure the accommodation and resort of your choice.

Note that flexible booking policies are available.

On top of the existing protections that come with booking a package holiday, many ABTA Members are also offering additional benefits or flexible cancellation and re-booking policies, such as allowing you to change your arrangements free of charge at a later date if needed. Ask your travel provider about the flexibility of your package before you book.

Make sure you have the documents you need.

Many destinations, including those in the EU, require you to have at least six months left on your passport, so check it will be valid for your travel dates and allow plenty of time to renew it if necessary.

Along with other non-essential shops, this week we are busy preparing to re-open our doors and welcome our customers safely back into our shop. In addition to non-essential shops, self-catering accommodation in England are also able to re-open from Monday, April 12, and we wish all local businesses the best of luck on their re-opening and hope like everyone that it will be the last time we are forced to close our doors. We are eagerly awaiting the government updates on overseas travel, of which by next week are confident we will be more equipped to answer your specific destination questions.