Lockdown means that any immediate travel is on hold, but there are still important things that can be done to prepare for the moment restrictions are lifted.
Many experts forecast it will be May or June before holidaymakers can jet to the sun – but the more optimistic travellers are hoping for an Easter getaway.
Holiday Extras – the UK specialist in add-ons such as airport parking, airport hotels, lounges and travel insurance – has outlined a series of tips for potential travellers to make the most of the waiting time.
Here is some of the most important advice:
1. Pick a destination
Lockdown is the perfect time for any traveller to do some research into their bucket list of top 10 destinations, to make sure their next holiday is one to remember. Holiday Extras’ Deckchair Index is an up-to-date list of every country that is open to UK travellers, and lists anywhere that holidaymakers can visit once the lockdown ends.
2. Take advantage of a lockdown deal
Travel companies still need bookings despite lockdown, so there are some great deals to be had. Take this chance to book ahead and get a great price. With restrictions changing almost daily, many options come with complete flexibility giving any holidaymakers peace of mind when booking.
3. Use up last year’s travel vouchers
When travel came to an unexpected halt last March, some people took vouchers for their cancelled trips. Checking if any of these work for an upcoming trip could save some cash or even contribute towards a future booking.
4. Book time off at work
Predictably, once travel opens up again everybody will want to get away for a much-needed break. Book time off now and get ahead of the inevitable rush.
5. Organise a Covid test
To fly almost anywhere at the moment, including back to the UK, a negative Covid test is required. Holiday Extras has a comprehensive guide to the tests required for most major destinations. Once travel resumes, there’s likely going to be a huge demand for tests. Booking ahead of time again means avoiding unnecessary delays.
6. Do passports need renewing?
With rules for passports for trips to Europe having changed since Brexit, checking passports now could help avoid a last-minute rush for renewal. Passports must have at least six months remaining before they expire, so visit the UK government’s passport website for latest details.
7. Brexit changes
There are a few changes that may affect UK travellers, and now is the best time to learn about them. These include:
- Changes to pet passports
- Driving in Europe that may require new paperwork in some of the non-EU Schengen countries
- New regulations on goods they can be taken to a destination country – including some fairly strict rules on meat and dairy products
8. Work out travel to the airport
Hotels near the airport are worth investigating to help with early or late flights.
It also pays to book airport parking in advance. Prices get higher as the date approaches, with prices paid on arrival often 70 per cent more expensive than pre-booked prices. Summer prices are currently up to 25 per cent cheaper, so booking early definitely has advantages.
9. Check when an EHIC card runs out
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is being replaced by the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), a functionally-identical bilateral deal between the UK and the EU.
Any EHIC cards that are in date will still work in Europe, and if it has run out, apply for the new GHIC. Visit the UK government’s GHIC page for full details.
10. Sort out travel insurance
A good travel insurance policy is essential. As soon as a trip is booked, it’s recommended that holidaymakers arrange their travel insurance in case they need to cancel. However, some policies do not protect those travelling against UK Foreign Office advice.
Specialist provider battleface covers passengers who are travelling to destinations against Foreign Office recommendations.