This time last year the UK was still reeling after being put into a national lockdown in March. Schools had only just closed, workplaces were quickly setting up ‘work from home’ stations for staff, and the Government was urgently trying to source PPE and coronavirus testing kits.
A lot has happened in the last 12 months, but equally we are still in the same state of limbo when it comes to international travel.
Right now, according to the Government’s Roadmap, the guidance is that people should not travel internationally until Monday, May 17. However, this could change depending on any data gathered between now and then.
Critically, a Global Travel Taskforce report is due out on Monday, April 12 which will advise the Government on the steps needed to slowly reintroduce international travel whilst minimising the risk that presents to the UK in terms of transmission rates and new variants of COVID-19.
Despite this, some of the main tour operators have already started releasing 2022 holidays with incentives like free child places, low deposits and attractive payment plans that could give holidaymakers 12 months-plus to pay for their holiday.
“A quick internet search will show you that the major tour operators are keen to capitalise on the pent-up demand for holidays,” said Rob Gower of Hardingstone-based travel firm Dragonfly Traveller.
According to reports in The Guardian, online holiday bookings have shot up in the last month with Turkey, Greece and Cyprus being the top destinations of choice for 2022. Golf and driving holidays are also proving to be popular. But is booking a 2022 holiday now wise?
“One advantage of booking early for 2022 – aside from the obvious financial incentives – is that you’re more likely to get the dates you want, such as school holidays, at a reasonable price,” said Rob.
“But early booking comes with risk. Flight times and prices could change as your travel dates get closer, as flight schedules are usually confirmed around ten months before departure. Another thing to consider is Brexit and its possible impact on foreign exchange rates, which could make holidays more expensive – even after booking – if new taxes are introduced or current thresholds increased. Also, make sure you carefully check the terms and conditions of any holiday you book, not just to see if you are protected against any impact from COVID, but also for hidden costs for if you decide to amend or cancel your booking. Some may also have penalties if you miss a payment in your payment plan. It’s worth remembering that even the more established tour operators have struggled financially over the last year, so there is also a risk that one may go into administration.
“Our advice would be to research carefully – compare offers and if the deal isn’t actually that great, hold off for now but save and budget for next year. If you do decide to book, book with a trusted company or ABTA protected agent like Dragonfly Traveller to minimise any risk.”
Rob Gower of Dragonfly Traveller works as a travel PA, building bespoke holidays and trips for customers. Call 01604 661100 or visit www.dragonflytraveller.co.uk to find out more.