Holidays: Travel expert on what to do if you do want to go on holiday this year

Holidays are a game of roulette right now as travel restrictions chop and change. Today the government will announce whether any more countries have been added to the UK’s quarantine list. Last week the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland were added and it’s rumoured Portugal could be taken off the travel corridor list this week amid spiking coronavirus cases.

So, what should you do if you are looking to get away this year?

Lisa Minot, travel editor at The Sun, shared her travel advice with BBC viewers today.

“I think we have to accept that the government has made it clear we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she warned.

“They are going to change the rules, and will, very quickly, and you cannot guarantee (now it seems even from one week to the next) that you’ll be able to get away and come back without having to quarantine.”

Currently, a seven-day rate of 20 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 is understood to be a key threshold for whether a country is removed from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) ‘safe’ list.’

Minot advises looking into what the rate is in the destination you’re hoping to go to.

However, booking last minute is likely best as it’s nigh impossible to know how matters may improve or worsen.

“There are some countries – and keeping an eye on this magical figure of 20 is a good way to actually do it – but it means that anyone for who’s going abroad from now on, really, the only way you can do it is by going at the very last minute and that is devastating for the travel industry, and for the consumer,” Minot said.

Buying the right travel insurance is more important now than ever before but it’s vital you’re aware how much your policy actually covers you.

“It very much depends on when you booked [the holiday],” Minot explained.

“Most travel insurance policies now, anything post-pandemic, won’t cover you for cancellation for coronavirus so that is going to be an issue,” she cautioned.

“And actually, it’s not so much about quarantine, it’s about the FCO saying whether or not a country is advised against all but essential travel or not.

“That’s the one trigger that makes people like the big tour operators no longer actually run tours or packages to those particular places once it’s on the FCO list, and it also is the trigger for travel insurance as well.”

Antony Martin, Managing Director at shared with the best way to go about buying travel insurance.

“Check online reviews of the product,” recommended Martin.

“It is key not to always choose a policy based on price as many cheaper policies have very high excesses which can work out more expensive if people need to make a claim.

“It is important now more than ever for travellers to read and understand exactly what they are covered for to ensure they choose the policy that is right for them and will protect them from any COVID-19 related issues.”

An element of flexibility is always advisable too.

“Consumers should make sure they buy a travel insurance policy that offers free amendments, so if holiday plans change they can move their cover,” said Martin.

You also must buy the cover when you buy the getaway.

The expert explained: “It is essential for consumers to book travel insurance at the same time as they book their holiday to ensure they are covered both pre-departure and during their trip.”

Holidaymakers should also always check the FCO website before they book a holiday and again before they travel.

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