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Travel corridors have changed at a moments notice, leaving many Britons suddenly faced with the 14-days of mandatory quarantine, or the risk of a £1,000 fine if they chose not to obey. What’s more, vast swathes of the country have now had draconian lockdown measures reimposed on them, meaning they may have to cancel holiday plans.
With this in mind, many desperate holidaymakers might be rethinking booking an escape, despite the fact that they are still able to jet off to around 62 countries if they live in England.
The rules differ somewhat for those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland due to local lockdown restrictions, though travel corridors remain in place for around 56 countries in Scotland, 58 countries in Wales and around 56 countries in Northern Ireland.
Given the confusion, it is understandable that Britons might be concerned about their finances.
Luckily, travel expert Simon Calder shared what he believes to be “the gold standard” of booking a holiday with adequate precautions.
Speaking on the Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live the travel expert said: “If you have done what I would say is the gold standard of consumer protection and booked a package holiday then its absolutely terrific because you can accept a postponement knowing that with the refund credit note system you can either take a credit note for a holiday later on or actually rebook and your ATOL protection will continue which means if anything does go wrong with the company then you will get your money back.”
By taking a credit note or planning ahead for a future holiday, the travel pro believes customers can help keep the suffering industry afloat in the coming months.
“That is going to help the travel industry desperately,” he said.
“It’s desperately important we do what we can.”
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Of course, not everyone can afford to miss out on the cash in the wake of furlough changes and redundancies.
What’s more, Mr Calder actually advises holidaymakers to consider claiming a full cash refund if they have booked flights separately.
“For other bookings, certainly if you look at an airline, I’ve just had my flight for next month for Morocco cancelled on British Airways,” he continued.
“I’m not going to take a refund voucher for that from British Airways.”
“Cash, I’m afraid, is king and asking, as I am now entitled to do for British Airways, to get my actual money back puts me in a stronger position.”
Alas, when it comes to hotels, there is little protection if holidaymakers booked independently.
The travel expert said claiming a refund might be “tricky” as hotels are not liable to pay out simply because travellers do not want to quarantine on their return home.
“Of course the main thing you should do is talk to people and see what flexibility they can offer,” he suggested.
“That’s always going to be easier if you have gone through a proper human travel agent than perhaps an online travel agent.”
The travel expert also slammed the Government’s current methods of deciding which countries are removed from the quarantine-free list.
“The number of countries to which you can go away that the Government is happy about it rapidly dwindling,” he said.“We have this bizarre system that the number of countries that you can confidently book to is dropping almost by the day.”
He added: “You’ve got this wheel of fortune that spins every Thursday night at tea time.“The Department of Transport comes yup with the latest fallers as it were, and that’s more places crossed off the list and very sadly more jobs lost in the UK travel industry.”
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