Holidays: Travel expert reveals how to prepare for future holidays amid COVID uncertainty

Holidays can be very hard to plan at the moment as travel restrictions continue to chop and change. The UK government has changed its stance on a number of countries including Spain in recent weeks and removed them from its ‘safe’ list. Many travellers worry that booking a trip could see them in a sticky situation should travel plans have to be axed.

Travel expert Simon Calder today shared his travel advice with Britons on the best way to go about booking future holidays.

Unfortunately, he pointed out, there’s no way of predicting what destinations will and won’t be off-limits in months to come.

“Many of us want something to look forward to –  it’s been an absolutely dismal year so far but I’m afraid we genuinely don’t know what’s going to be happening next week let alone next year,” he told ITV viewers on Good Morning Britain.

If you’re confident with booking, make sure there’s plenty of flexibility.

“There’s plenty of people in the travel industry who depend on people making forward bookings and if you’re prepared to do that, to commit  – as long as there’s a bit of flexibility built in that’s absolutely terrific,” said Calder.

“But I’m not going to say whether or not you’ll be able to go to, for example, Australia, to the US, to Dubai or even across the Channel to France – we simply do not know I’m afraid.”

Luckily, despite this uncertainty, there are still ways to protect yourself.

With the right protections in place you can book but remain comforted in the knowledge you will be covered should the holiday be axed.

Calder explained that it’s not the best time to book a holiday by yourself.

Instead, go through a proper travel company.

“Book with a human travel agent who will be able to guide you through it,” explained Calder.

“Increasingly companies are offering a degree of flexibility because they understand people want to have the chance to be flexible.”

The travel expert continued: “Certainly if you book a proper package holiday that is going to give you an awful lot more rights than having a DIY trip.”

For some people, though, they might feel more comfortable simply waiting and seeing what the lie of the land is later.

Calder said: “If you can just decide, well I bet there’s going to be plenty of empty airline seats and hotel beds and therefore I’m going to put off my decision until it’s a little it clearer.”

The good news is, whether your trip is cut short or obliterated altogether, in many instances those who booked some types of holiday are protected.

“When it comes to holidays, customers need to understand that they are financially protected if they have booked an ATOL protected package,” explained Craig Ashford, director of communications for travel agency TravelUp.

“This now means that they can be offered a Credit Voucher which will carry that ATOL protection for when they next book their holiday.

“This is a great support for many travel companies and travel agents and I would urge those in a position to take a credit voucher to do so.”

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