How to book a holiday during the Covid pandemic | Money

Check the cancellation conditions

It is essential to check what will happen if you have to cancel transport or accommodation, whether you book the various elements yourself or opt for a package. Many may offer free cancellation, but read the fine print carefully – there will be a deadline for this, and it could be several weeks before your holiday starts.

Read the flexible policies carefully. Qin Xie of hey money talks says flexible booking should mean no admin fees or losing your deposit if plans change. “What’s included in flexible booking obviously depends on who you’re booking with, but changes are usually to travel dates and/or destinations.”

If you’re just booking a vacation rental, book through a third-party site that has a clear refund policy and accepts secure credit card payments. Your contract is still with the company or person to whom you paid the money. For example, if you book through Airbnb, you must contact the company for a refund, whereas with Vrbo, you will need to contact the owner.

Tracey McLaughlin, blogger at thinking about money matters, is a member of the Air Miles program and uses it to book vacations — it offers more flexibility than paying for flights with a credit card, she says. “Air Miles gives us the option to cancel our booking 24 hours before travel for just £35,” she says. “All accommodation etc. are also booked with free cancellation up to 24 hours before.”

Protect your payments

Put your holiday on a credit card, if possible – under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act this protects you from purchases over £100 and will cover your costs if a holiday agent you are with you booked bankrupt. To qualify for coverage, be sure to book and pay directly with the holiday company, rather than using a third-party payment company such as PayPal.

Paying for a vacation with a credit card gives you certain protections. Photography: 7Michael/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Atol Financial Protection Scheme (Air Travel Operator’s License) covers inflight holidays and is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Under this program, if your travel agency fails, you will be entitled to a refund or a replacement vacation if you have not yet travelled, or accommodation and return flights if you are away. ‘foreigner. Flights booked directly with airlines are not protected by the Atol programme. Keep the certificate that was given to you when booking.

If you buy a coach, rail or cruise vacation from an Abta member, your money will be protected by the association’s financial protection scheme. If your travel agency goes bankrupt and your holiday can no longer take place, you will be entitled to a refund if you have not yet traveled or to hotel and transport costs if you are abroad.

Consider a Vacation Package

Travel agents have access to the latest up-to-date information, airline and vacation offers and are very knowledgeable about altering vacations and alternative destinations, giving you extra peace of mind.

Silhouette of a landing plane with a cloudy background after sunset.
It may be cheaper to purchase flight and accommodation separately. Photography: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

It may be cheaper to purchase flight and accommodation separately. However, if you book a package, you have increased protection under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. The travel organizer or operator must inform you clearly and without undue delay of any changes to the package. You then have the option to cancel without penalty if the holiday changes significantly.

Linda Reynolds of personal travel agent says, “DIY vacations can be problematic right now. I heard of people showing up at hotels in Canada and the hotel was closed and locally there was no alternative in their price range. Check that your hotel is open. A quick look at their website or email to confirm your arrival should help.”

Subscribe to an insurance

You must always take out insurance at the time of your reservation. Check with the supplier that it covers your needs – if you know you want to ride a jet ski, for example, does it include it? Be sure to research details of Covid cancellation, medical expenses and repatriation.

Check the quarantine rules of the country you are traveling to – some, for example, will require you to change hotels if you test positive. Ask your insurer what it will pay if you need to extend your stay because you are quarantined and unable to travel.

Umbrellas on a beach of the Adriatic Sea in Durres
Take out insurance when you book a vacation. Photograph: Gent Shkullaku/AFP/Getty Images

If you need to travel after your annual insurance expires, be sure to renew it before you travel.

If the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) puts in place a warning for your destination during any gaps in your policy you will not be covered.

Keep up to date with the latest news

Check the FCDO website regularly for entry requirements in the country you plan to visit and keep an eye on UK entry requirements. The government website will indicate which Covid test is required and the time frames before leaving and returning.

Emma Wild travel consultants stresses the importance of complying with the entry requirements of your destination. “They all vary, so make sure you/your agent are fully briefed on what to do”

The FCDO constantly reviews its travel tips for each country or territory to ensure it contains up-to-date information and advice on the issues most relevant to Britons visiting or living in that country. You can also sign up for email alerts to get updates as they happen.

Prepare all your papers

When it’s time for your break, make sure you’ve booked all the Covid tests you need – and shop around before you do. Rory Boland, the travel editor of Which?, said: “The Covid testing system for travel has been running for a year now, and travelers are still exposed to suppliers who either fail to deliver tests on time or advertise prices that are not available.” Check reviews on sites such as Trustpilot or try the comparison website

Reynolds advises you to make physical copies of everything. “In addition to your booking documents, print out a copy of the health forms, attestation if applicable, passenger locator form and confirmed test results,” she says. Don’t rely on airport wifi to download your vital documents.

About Laurence Johnson

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