Many Brits are booking time off work and then arranging last-minute holidays when they know which travel corridors are open to and from the UK to help them avoid a 14-day quarantine when they return home.
The Guardian recently spoke to a number of experts from the travel sector to find out what holidaymakers can do if they’d still like to venture overseas but minimise the risks of having to quarantine on their return.
Head of communications at Kuoni Rachel O’Reilly told the newspaper that “the government’s behaviour has encouraged a culture of late booking and people are realising that nothing is guaranteed”.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the UK travel trade association Abta Sean Tipton said that the current approach to opening and closing travel corridors has dented consumer confidence, but “people still want to go away”.
So, if you’re keen on the idea of having a break overseas, what can you do? The newspaper pointed out that your main options are to be flexible, both about when you travel and where you go, and to factor in potential rebooking if your original trip has to be changed.
However, the travel industry has also noticed a growing trend towards people booking trips, some of them a year in advance, to destinations where they can continue to isolate. This means holiday homes to rent are particularly popular, especially when they’re in remote locations.
Among the most popular destinations at present are the Maldives, Canada, Greece, Turkey, Mauritius and Barbados.
In many of these locations, bookings for next summer are already stacking up, which means if you want to visit a popular destination in a year’s time, you should consider planning and booking somewhere to stay in the coming months.
Mr Tipton also noted that the Caribbean is proving particularly popular, largely due to the fact that it’s difficult to travel to much of Asia or Australia at the moment.
There is, however, some hope for travellers who are hoping to avoid a two-week quarantine when they return to the UK.
The Daily Mail reported that Heathrow is trialling three different Covid tests that could be introduced for travellers arriving to the UK. One of them, which is a holographic microscope test that was pioneered for ebola, can produce results in just 20 seconds.
According to the newspaper, the airport is also trialling a throat swab, which provides results within 30 minutes, as well as a saliva test that can deliver them in ten minutes. For the purposes of the trial, all of those involved have also taken a PCR test to ensure accuracy. The results of the trial will be shared with the government.
Many within the travel sector are hoping that border testing can be rolled out to allow people to travel more freely and potentially avoid having to quarantine if they test negative for the virus.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive for Heathrow, reportedly told the Daily Telegraph that the airport has “put some of the most cutting-edge rapid testing technologies into action at Heathrow to see which offers the best solution”.