How to book your holiday with confidence

Holiday-Planning

The landscape around Covid-19 is changing constantly, and whilst it is not recommended to travel right now, we are also looking to the future, helping customers book holidays for 2021 to have something to look forward to.  The world will start moving again one day, and this could be an opportune time to book ahead of the crowd. Safely of course.

What you need to know

With the current Coronavirus situation creating uncertainty surrounding travel, many of our travel providers are offering increased flexibility with holiday bookings, enabling travellers to book with confidence.

Whilst we have no control over the current situation and need to act responsibly with our advice which will always follow the official notifications, we are committed to offering as much support as possible.

How we are supporting our customers

We work closely with our suppliers, tour operators and travel providers around the globe to ensure we are keeping your finger on the pulse and to provide the most flexible booking options to give you choices whilst planning your holiday as well as additional support should your plans need to change.

There are many benefits to booking with us aside from our close relationship with our suppliers which means we are able to offer you the best prices and knowledge of where you are travelling to, as we are ultimately here for you. We create your perfect holiday, advising not only on the best hotels, resorts etc but also ensuring your travel documents, policies and holiday finances are correctly covered.  Your health and safety is our top priority.

We are ABTA and ATOL protected.

Are there any benefits to booking your 2021 holiday now:

  • More availability to choose where and when you go
  • Low deposits from as little as £100pp
  • Spread your payments, final balance due 12 weeks prior to departure
  • Flexible rebooking options
  • Amended cancellation policies – meaning you may be able to cancel closer to departure date and are fully financially protected

We are also on hand 24/7 for our clients with our in-house Emergency Support service, so if you need help, we are here for you no matter where you are, day and night.

That’s great but what exactly does this mean?

With so many rumours and unsubstantiated facts floating around currently, it is no wonder so many of us are confused. 

Here are some of the questions we have been asked by our customers:

How am I fully financially protected?

When booking your holiday through us, we create your holiday with a Tour Operator. The Tour Operator will hold an ATOL bond which protects you should a hotel/resort or airline cease trading. ATOL protection covers costs of refund and/or re-arranging a suitable alternative holiday.

However, in the scenario that the Tour Operator ceases trading then your holiday is covered through through us as your ABTA travel agent. ABTA also covers you in the likely event of us going bust also.

What will happen if I book a holiday and a pandemic hits the world again?

Should we enter a similar or the same scenario again, not only are we all better prepared to address this head on with procedures and policies now put in place, but again by booking with a Travel Agent you will be financially covered by ATOL and ABTA. With all our recent efforts and negotiations many of our suppliers now offer greater flexibility in their booking polices having learned from this current pandemic. Assistance and response has already been streamlined by the best.

I have heard that Travel Insurance will not be covering a pandemic anymore. Is this correct?

When planning or booking your holiday you must always research travel insurance and make sure you are satisfied with their cover.  You will usually find pandemics in the small print under Travel Disruption or Catastrophe Cover. If you are unsure, we are more than happy to assist you and although we don’t offer Travel Insurance ourselves we may be able to direct you towards reputable insurance companies who can assist with full details of their own policy terms and conditions.

You can also find out more here… Does Travel Insurance cover Coronavirus?

Tour Operators and other travel suppliers are issuing more flexible booking policies.  What does this mean?

Although many of our suppliers have issued flexible policies, all policies are different.  Therefore, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario.

Our expert travel consultants will talk you through your booking terms at the time of enquiry/booking and will make sure they address any concerns and answer any questions you may have.  We really are here to hold your hand, guiding you through every step of planning and booking your holiday.

How do I know if my travel destination is safe?

Yours and our first port of call will always be the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.  Here we find all the latest information and advisory notices for every country in the World. Local information we get from the destination itself.

Will social distancing be expected on aircraft and at hotels/resorts?

Whilst everybody is talking about social distancing and of course we all have the best intentions, it will most definitely be a personal decision. On aircraft IATA has already released studies to show the effectiveness of air conditioning systems to lend comfort. – How you can stay safe when flying.

Each carrier will behave differently in their interpretation of the rules, some applying distancing and some relying upon effective cleansing and anti-viral air purity.  We will always check with your preferred carrier to ensure you are happy with their service.  Hotels, likewise, will initially implement stringent cleanliness and distancing policies which will differ from one country to the next. Our consultants can identify the appropriate territories and destinations to suit your comfort.  Inevitably more people will drive to the ports and airports and use their own hire car or private transfers in resort, so demand for these services may well outstrip supply. 

Local public transport rules will apply in each territory relating to personal protection equipment (gloves, masks etc) and ultimately it will be your decision when boarding a bus to determine whether you choose to get on board and/or put yourself at risk, or not.

The big issue for airlines, hotels, resorts, restaurants and public transport will be that of traveller confidence.  Instilling confidence that any decision you make regarding their service being well informed will be their priority.  We will all inevitably face a full train carriage at some stage in the future and need to decide whether to step on board or not and, likewise the same will apply to restaurants, bars, cafes and public transport in resort where your own freedom of choice and common sense should prevail. 

Hotels and airlines will be producing standard operating procedures, guidelines to which they will adhere, cleanliness certification and in many instances social distancing policies which they would wish the general public to comply. However, it is unlikely they will have the appetite to legislate and deny boarding/occupation by any individual who may refuse to behave responsibly.

What happens if I become ill with COVID-19 whilst away?

Most travel insurance policies are now excluding COVID-19 so check your cover carefully in relation to both contracting COVID-19 whilst abroad and/or changes in Foreign Office advice that preclude you from travel once you have already paid your balance. You should not put yourself at risk by travelling to a destination against their advice of the FCO. If you do catch the COVID-19 virus whilst abroad, the same rules apply as now being, quarantine yourself, isolate yourself and seek medical attention. This will most likely be at your own expense and we will do everything we can to assist and support you.

Cancelled or extended holidays due to COVID-19 will be excluded by most insurers so do check your policy carefully for the comfort you require and where possible book flexible rates with suppliers so you can cancel at your discretion for whatever reason you may choose. 

Disclaimer
We are not medical or insurance professionals and whilst we endeavour to ensure all the information that we provide is as up to date as possible, it is nevertheless subject to errors and omissions for which we cannot accept any liability. E&OE.

Useful links:

ABTA – https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
GOV.UK – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

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