Updated 20th January 2022
With the uncertainties surrounding overseas travel, many of us are currently looking to holiday in the UK. Whilst you may be keen to book a holiday, it is likely that you will have questions and concerns surrounding future covid-related restrictions and cancellation policies. Whilst individual holiday home owners will have their own policies and procedures in place, this article aims to address some of the questions you might be asking.
When, where and with whom can I go on holiday in the UK?
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own rules and regulations surrounding the coronavirus outbreak including where, when and with whom you are allowed to stay. Whilst there are no current restrictions in any of the four nations it is possible that new local or national rules will be reimposed if necessary. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the relevant guidelines.
On 19th January the UK Government announced the end to Plan B coronavirus restrictions in England. People in England no longer need to work from home and from 27th January Covid passes will no longer will required at large events and it will not be compulsory to wear masks.
Self-catering accommodation is able to open and there are no limits on group sizes or the number of households that are allowed to holiday together.
In Wales all holiday accommodation is able to open but there is a limit of up to 30 people who can meet and stay together indoors. The Welsh Government has recently announced that it is moving from Alert level 2 back to to Alert level 0 over the next few weeks and from 28th January there will be no restrictions on the number of people who can meet indoors.
The current advice in Scotland is to not meet up indoors with more than three households. From the 24th January the current restrictions, including the guidance asking people to stick to a three household limit on indoor gatherings, will be lifted. You can find further information about travelling too and from Scotland here.
What happens if I need to cancel my holiday due to Covid restrictions?
When you book your holiday, check what the owner’s policy is regarding restricted travel, future lockdowns and cancellations. You are booking directly with the owner who will have their own terms and conditions so it is important you check with them.
Should you need to cancel, please do this directly with the owner. Owners should try to be as flexible as possible during times of government Covid lockdown and are likely to offer you the option to move your holiday or take a refund.
I want to go on holiday but I am worried about catching the virus. How do I know it is safe?
If you would like to get away on holiday but you are feeling uneasy about staying away from home, speak to the holiday home owner about what extra measures they are putting in place to ensure their property is as safe as possible for their guests. Whilst all owners are likely to have a comprehensive cleaning and changeover regime it is likely that new policies and procedures will vary. It is impossible to 100% guarantee that anywhere is COVID free, but most owners are going above and beyond to ensure their holiday homes are as safe as they can possibly be.
If you would rather stay at home for now, but would like something to look forward to, now is a great time to book something for the future. Make sure you check the owner’s cancellation terms and conditions and in particular what their policy is if you cannot travel due to future coronavirus restrictions.
What changes can I expect to my holiday during these Covid times?
Hopefully very little! Most owners will be doing everything they can to make your holiday as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. However, it is worth bearing in mind that in order to thoroughly clean and disinfect their properties, owners are likely to have made some small changes. For example, check in time might be slightly later and ‘extras’ such as books, games and DVDs that are hard to disinfect on each changeover, might be limited or removed. If you have any questions or concerns about any possible changes speak to the owner.
It is also worth bearing in mind that it is possible that some attractions will still be closed when you go on holiday. If there is something in particular that you are hoping to visit it is worth checking that it is open. It might also be a good idea to book some attractions, activities and restaurants in advance as numbers could still be limited.
If I need to cancel my holiday can I claim on my travel insurance?
It has never been so important to ensure you have adequate travel insurance. Unfortunately, some holiday makers have found that their current insurance does not cover them during a pandemic. However, there are insurance companies that provide cover for some Covid related cancellations (for example, Axa, Avanti, Staysure, CoverForYou, Trailfinders, Post Office and Holidaysafe to name a few but there are also many more). Whilst it is always important to check the small print of any insurance cover carefully, it is worth noting that on the whole policies tend to only cover cancellations if you, or anyone in your family, have actually tested positive for coronavirus. Insurance companies are always amending their small print, but even more so at the moment, so it’s worth really double checking what you are covered for before you sign up.