5 things you need to know before you book your next holiday

The news of the easing of international travel restrictions on Friday 17th September was fantastic and welcomed by both travellers and the travel industry alike. Many of us have felt in the past that the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps has created confusion with the restrictions he imposed and added to problems for travellers by changing rules and regulations at short notice, leaving travellers stranded or having to pay huge amounts to get home.

However, the latest announcements are much more encouraging, and it seems that government is finally listening to the travelling public and the travel industry. We are now moving closer to the pre-covid days of freedom to go where we want, when we want to. But we aren’t there yet and as we embrace these new possibilities there are still some things we need to be aware of.

In this blog I would like to summarise the changes that have been announced and five things you need to take in to account when you plan your long-awaited return to travelling.

There are changes to the ‘Travel Traffic Lights system’.  This is to be axed from the 4th October in favour of a Red List of countries not safe to travel to, and the Rest of the World; so much simpler and clearer.

From 4am on 22 September, eight destinations will be removed from the red list. So now we can travel to the following countries if you are double vaccinated without the need to isolate on your return to the UK:

• Pakistan
The Maldives
• Egypt
Sri Lanka
• Bangladesh
• Kenya

Also, from the 4th October there will be no need for fully vaccinated travellers to take a covid test before you return to the UK from non-red list countries, and later in the month the requirement for a PCR test will be replaced by a cheaper ‘lateral flow’ test on day 2 after you get back.

These are significant steps in the right direction, but before you go online and start booking hotels and flights, please consider the following questions.

5 things you need to know before you book your next holiday

1. Is your chosen destination really ‘approved for travel’?

The opening of the destinations list above is excellent news, however, at the time of writing this blog the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) still advises against all but essential travel to the whole of the Maldives based on the current assessment of covid-19 risks. The same is true of Sri Lanka and parts of Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

This advice will hopefully change in favour of travel in the coming days but there have been occasions during the last eighteen months where the advice coming from the two government departments have been giving conflicting advice.

So why is this important? Because, should you decide to holiday in a destination where the FCDO advise is against travel, you are likely to find that your travel insurance is invalid, which could be extremely costly should you fall ill whilst in the country.

I always check the advice of both departments before making a booking for my clients to avoid any potential problems.

2. Have you booked your covid-19 test through a reputable supplier?

During the pandemic there have been several complaints of covid testing companies being expensive and exploitative. The media reported many cases where purchased tests or the result had not turned up on time, causing chaos for the plans of holiday travellers.

I have built up a list of test suppliers who I believe to be trustworthy and reasonably priced, which I have been able to share with my clients.

3. Is your chosen holiday destination ready to welcome you?

Even though we now have a wider choice of countries we can visit you do need to be sure that your chosen destination really is going to give you the welcome you expect.

As an example, travellers to Sri Lanka, including fully vaccinated travellers, must currently undergo an ‘on arrival covid-19 PCR’ test (Day One) while staying at a quarantine hotel/ centre/ safe & secure certified level one hotel. Now this requirement may indeed change as this beautiful island starts to welcome visitors from countries such as the UK where a high proportion of people are vaccinated. But it is an example of what can happen if you don’t know how to check all the facts before booking.

I am constantly checking the entry requirements for destinations all over the world and ensure that my clients are fully informed before anything is booked. This is an essential part of the service I offer.

4. How do you know if your chosen resort adhering to all covid rules and requirements?

During recent months, holiday resorts have had to go more than the extra mile to raise standards of health and safety to make their environment safe for visitors. As you might expect some resorts have achieved this better than others but how are you to know which are the ones which will give you the safest environment?

This takes research and investigation as to the covid certification a particular resort might hold. This is not always easy to do and is extra workload when planning your holiday.

This is something I do on a regular basis as part of helping my clients choose the right resort for their holiday.

5. Are you sure that you really do have the ‘best deal’ or have you grabbed the first offer you’ve seen?

Whether you are considering an immediate getaway or planning for a holiday next year you want to be sure that you really are getting the best deal.

There are a lot of deals on offer at the moment and most of us are keen to get some holiday sun as soon as possible. But don’t rush to book the first deal you see.

As a Personal Travel Consultant, I have access to hundreds of holiday travel suppliers and many of them are ‘trade only’ suppliers, meaning that they give me trade prices, which I can often pass on to my clients. That means in many cases if you contact me first, I will be able to get you the holiday you want cheaper than you can, even after doing all the work of searching online.

I can also make sure that you have the right travel insurance that includes covid related issues, so you can relax and have the stress-free holiday you’ve been waiting for.

It’s really exciting that travel is opening up. But after waiting for so long, don’t risk it being less than you deserve.  Contact me before you book anything and take advantage of my knowledge, experience and contacts in the travel industry and in resorts and hotels around the world to ensure that you get the holiday you will remember for all the right reasons. What’s even better is that this will not cost you a penny!

Happy Holidays!

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