The news of multiple viable vaccines has given many a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, especially when it comes to considering a much needed holiday next year. According to travel money firm Caxton, a third of people are wanting a better foreign holiday in 2021, after missing out in 2020.
Now travel experts are advising that holidaymakers should book their flights now, as demand could soar when the travel restrictions ease after the vaccination programme is rolled out. However, the Express reports that there may still be some difficulties ahead, even after the vaccine.
While there may be some fantastic deals available to tourists right now, one question remains that many will be asking: is it safe to book flights now?
Tourists will also want to know what protection they have if their holidays are cancelled, especially if they have lost money in 2020 by slow refunds or being unable to obtain one. We have a look at whether holidaymakers should go ahead and book while prices are good, and what sort of protection they need to ensure they have.
Prices for flights are currently low, as firms try to encourage consumers to buy cut-price trips to keep companies afloat during the currently continuing coronavirus restrictions. But assuming the vaccination programmes are successful and overseas travel restrictions are eased, these prices will inevitably increase.
Many will still have concerns over whether they will be able to get a refund on any booked flights or holidays should they be cancelled, or if they will be charged extra if plans are delayed and they need to re-book on a new date.
However, there should still be ample protection for holidaymakers. When purchasing travel insurance, customers are protecting the cost of their trip because something prevents them from going or cutting it short if they fall ill when abroad.
It also covers their medical costs if they get sick or have an accident abroad and the cost of replacing any lost or stolen belongings while away.
Always ensure you buy your travel insurance from a reputable provider, but keep in mind that no insurer will be likely to issue refunds for COVID-19 related cancellations, but some are offering cover for if you get the virus while abroad or if you get it before you travel.
When booking, only buy flights or accommodation that you know you can get refunded on if you need to cancel at short notice. Pay attention to cancellation terms and conditions before booking, and see how a travel company has handled refunds in 2020 and whether they have treated customers fairly.
It might be worth paying a slight premium for using a firm that has good customer service.
Always pay by credit card, or debit card if you can't, for the extra protection they offer, as cash purchases are incredibly tricky to get refunds from.
However, if the current pandemic is still happening, then insurers won't pay out for cancellation claims if your travel or accommodation provider fails or cancels your holiday travel because of COVID, because the pandemic was a known event.
You need to ensure your insurance covers you for any illnesses, including COVID-19 while abroad, especially if the EHIC for reciprocal healthcare in the EU isn't extended after the end of 2020, which might happen if the UK fails to get a trade deal with the EU.
Each destination will have different rules concerning the coronavirus and who they let into the country, so check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
When - and if - a vaccine is rolled out, while we do not yet know details, it may be the case that holidaymakers will have to provide proof they've been vaccinated.
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