Should you make, break or amend family travel plans during the time of Coronavirus? Many families were looking forward to Easter holidays and May half term escapes. But now COVID-19 health concerns, social distancing and quarantines are leaving people confused as to how to manage upcoming travel.
Never fear, we’ve asked a family travel expert for advice on how to adapt your travel plans. Rebecca Berzins, a travel counsellor and mum based in North London is here to help…
Should everyone cancel all Easter travel plans abroad?
The FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) have advised British nationals against all but essential international travel for the next 30 days meaning most Easter holidays are cancelled. However I would urge people to reschedule rather than cancel. Afterall, you are definitely going to want to go away again once all this is over and rescheduling now means that you won’t miss out on securing the same holiday you’ve been looking forward to so much!
Plus, I guarantee that demand will likely sky rocket once things calm down and travel restrictions are relaxed so rescheduling now means you won’t miss out on getting the best price.
What is the best way to get your pre-booked holiday refunded or move it to another date so you don’t lose your money?
I really hope that people booked with a travel agent. In which case all they need to do is contact their agent who will take care of all the necessary amendments and/or cancellations for them.
Passengers due to travel within the next 30 days whilst the FCO are advising against all but essential travel abroad are able to re-arrange their trip for a later date. If that’s not possible then they may be offered either a credit note for a future trip or a refund depending on the circumstances.
However if the holiday was not booked as a package with an agent then cancellations and amendments will be subject to the airline and suppliers individual policies. Any cancellation charges/losses will need to be claimed for via Travel Insurance.
Is it wise to book a plan B holiday staying within the UK? Any advice on planning a socially-distant getaway?
If you’re still keen on taking a Spring holiday then staying in the UK seems like the most sensible idea in the current climate. Hiring a cottage – rather than opting for a holiday park – will be the safest way to practice social distancing. I’d choose one in a secluded location but with a few good local take-aways, a large garden and somewhere where long country or costal walks are an option. Plus pack lots of board games!
I don’t just arrange trips abroad and have access to a great choice of UK breaks so would be glad to help.
If people have holidays booked for May half term or summer school break do you suggest leaving as is for now, or try to cancel/rearrange now?
For now people need to hang tight on making decisions about amending or rescheduling their breaks for later in the year. No one knows how long the current restrictions will be in place for. Amendments and cancellations are only being worked on for bookings due to travel within the next 30 days as a priority.
If somebody wishes to amend or cancel their trip for later in the year then standard cancellation and amendment fees apply at this time.
Is now a good time to book holidays for later in the year? How far in advance do you recommend?
I am still taking holiday bookings but most are now for those looking to travel much later in the year – October Half Term and Christmas are the most popular. Lots of people are already looking forward to February Ski Trips, plus the release dates of some packages and flights for Summer 2021 have been bought forward meaning Summer 2021 holidays are already on sale for some destinations too. I would encourage people to support the travel industry and book now to get a great price and secure availability.
Published on 19/3/20
RELATED CONTENT: October Family Holiday Tips with Travel Counsellor Rebecca Berzins