Holidays have become a matter of stress and confusion after travel restrictions were recently reimposed. The Foreign Office is now once again advising against non-essential travel to Spain. What’s more, travellers who do head to Spain will have to quarantine for 14 days on their return home.
Many Britons are very concerned about what the new rules mean for their future holidays.
Travel expert Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, shared his travel advice with BBC viewers today.
He revealed there’s a major mistake holidaymakers must not make if they’re wondering whether to cancel their upcoming break.
“It will depend on how you have booked the trip,” Boland explained.
“If it’s a package holiday that’s leaving quite soon it will almost certainly be cancelled.”
However you mustn’t cancel the package break yourself.
“What’s an absolutely crucial, is that you wait for the tour operator to do the cancelling, because if you cancel, and it seems very sensible to some people because the FCO said you shouldn’t go and the quarantine rules are introduced you think I’ll just cancel it,” the expert said.
“You will waive your right to a refund in many cases and over the past couple of months, we have heard quite a lot of heartbreaking stories where people have cancelled and lost large amounts of money, so please wait for the tour operator to cancel, then you will be able to claim a refund.”
Boland also shared his insight into what the news means for those who booked their flights and accommodation separately.
“If you’ve booked it DIY, flight and accommodation separately, you will be bound by the terms and conditions of those individual parties – the airline and the accommodation provider,” he clarified.
“You’ll have a little bit more luck with the accommodation provider – lots of online booking sites have very flexible terms so you may be able to cancel, claim a refund or rebook.
“With the airline, I’m afraid you’ll only be able to rebook, at best, and so what it will come down to is weighing up how much you will lose if you don’t go and how much you can kind of salvage if you re-book, if you’ve gone down that DIY route.”
As for those deciding whether they should go away to destinations which may well be scratched off the ‘safe’ list like Spain in the future, Boland explained there are a number of factors that need to be taken in consideration.
“What it really comes down to is your ability to quarantine,” the expert explained.
“There is no point and trying to guess which countries will be on or off list because it can change at a moment’s notice.
“If you’re not able to quarantine for 14 days at the moment, unless the government changes its approach, it is not a good time to book a holiday.”
However if you can quarantine and want to travel, make sure you take the right precautions.
“If you can quarantine if that’s possible within your your lifestyle and your job and you do want to go on holiday, regardless of the health concerns, book a package booked with a trusted tour operator or travel agent, book with a credit card and take out travel insurance,” said Boland.
“If you do those four things you will cover all eventualities and you will get your money back if things do go wrong.”
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