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Is it safe to book a holiday for 2021? UK travel advice and guidelines

Travel expert says it’s ‘encouraging’ to see destinations opening

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Brits are all desperate to know exactly when holidays will be allowed again, with summer 2021 only a few mont…

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Brits are all desperate to know exactly when holidays will be allowed again, with summer 2021 only a few months away, many are wondering whether or not they should be looking into flights and accommodation for a much-needed getaway. After nearly a year of tight restrictions and the travel industry struggling to cope, we're all hoping for that light at the end of the tunnel. Many have decided to throw caution to the wind and book lavish holidays regardless of restrictions, hoping things will go ahead.

However, this can often end in cancellations and huge delays when it comes to refunds. There's a number of different restrictions currently in place that pretty much state that travel of any kind isn't permitted, but there are a few exceptions. Here's all you need to know about booking a holiday in 2021...

Can you currently travel abroad from the UK?

Currently, all travel deemed non-essential is banned.

This means that holidays for those from the UK aren't permitted right now.

(C) getty woman on holiday (C) getty man drinking cocktail by pool

Exceptions include travelling for work when it is absolutely necessary to do so, travelling home from a job abroad or for those who are moving to a different country i.e for work purposes or if they're an international student. Medical appointments and caring obligations will also permit you to travel, although every country has its own guidelines and self-isolating requirements. Express.co.uk previously spoke to Nicky Kelvin from The Points Guy UK, Tom Bourlet from SpaghettiTraveller who revealed whether or not it's a good idea to head on holiday in 2021.

Kelvin revealed: "The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) still advises against travel to certain destinations - even if you meet that criteria for essential travel. "Therefore if you're looking to travel internationally, you must have a legally permitted reason to do so." He explained that although the guidelines aren't exactly set in stone, the decision of whether or not to travel abroad is currently down to the individual alone, and it's unlikely that the British government will actually stop you from travelling.

"Like the lockdown and social distancing requirements, it is up to each individual to do the right thing to help protect the NHS and stop the continued spread of the coronavirus so that we can return to normality and travel once this is all over," added the expert.

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Is it safe to book a holiday for 2021 from the UK?

It's important that anyone considering a holiday abroad in 2021 should be incredibly cautious when booking travel. Seeing as travel restrictions have been so hot and cold over the last few months, we could easily be stuck abroad if restrictions are momentarily eased here in Britain. Nicky explained: "If you do travel abroad, there is no guarantee you will be able to return to the UK due to the constantly changing travel restrictions and interruptions.

"This may be particularly difficult if you travel to a remote island versus mainland Europe, for example, where you could potentially just drive back to the United Kingdom if necessary." If you decide to book a holiday abroad for later in 2021 and when the time comes you are then unable to go because of border controls, you should get your money back or a voucher to rebook at a later date. Do note that refunds aren't always compulsory and it's crucial for you to check the terms and conditions before booking.

(C) getty family on beach

Mr Bourlet from Spaghetti Traveller recommended looking through reviews on how certain travel companies or online travel agents handled customers during the pandemic.

He said: "I know a number of brands who focused on refunding customers as quickly as possible, offering delays or alternative solutions, while others completely closed their customer service channels and ignored their customer base. "The digital footprint is visible for all to see, so make sure to read up before booking. "It could be argued that you will be safer financially if you opt for a package holiday rather than booking your accommodation and flights separately, providing it's ATOL protected."

Something which could prove incredibly handy is booking the whole holiday on a credit card, rather than a debit. This allows you to pay off the holiday in stages, and you'll also have more coverage in case anything goes wrong with your booking and you're waiting on a refund.

(C) getty children on beach

The fine print in insurance is something we've not always looked too far into in the past, but COVID-19 has changed this approach as everyone should be looking into all the finer details. Mr Bourlet added: "I haven't yet seen one travel insurance policy making that claim that actually covers for all scenarios related to Covid, so don't just believe it simply because you see the buzzword, this is simply a marketing tactic most of the time.

"You should make sure the travel insurance will cover you for any cancellation based on a requirement to self-isolate, even if this is as simple as the test and trace system claiming you've come in contact with someone that has Covid.

"You should also ensure it offers repatriation and medical cover in case you suffer from Coronavirus while abroad."

When is the best time to book a holiday for 2021?

If you're thinking about money, now is the best time to grab a great deal for the summer, with the experts suggesting you should book a holiday sooner rather than later.

Flight prices are already increasing as we get closer to lockdown ending and Brits are feeling optimistic about the possibility of a summer holiday.