Summer holidays remain up in the air for many Britons, and a date has yet to be confirmed for the return of international travel.

Deciding whether or not to book your next break here in the UK or abroad as a lockdown lift can be difficult with so much uncertainty – but whatever you do, make sure you aren’t left out of your pocket .


Brits are eager to book on vacation after the lockdownPhoto credit: Getty

With the risk of travel restrictions and cancellations, we explain where you are when booking and how to avoid losing money planning your next break.

Can I go on vacation?

Stays abroad are not allowed under the current restrictions on coronavirus lockdown, even if they were relaxed this week.

In the final phase of the roadmap outside of the lockdown, shops are now allowed to open on the main street, and pubs and restaurants can serve guests outdoors.

For Brits looking to take a break, there is good news as self-catering stays in vacation rentals and caravans are now allowed, although they are limited to one household. Some campsites have opened that do not have shared facilities.

When can I go on vacation?

These are the most important data you need to know when booking a vacation:

April 12 – Self-catering holidays are only permitted for one household in England, including caravans and holiday homes. as well as some campsites without shared facilities.

April 12 – Day trips to outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks are permitted.

May 17th – Hotels in England allowed to reopen. Mixed groups of up to two different households or more than two households with the rule of six are allowed there and on holiday homes and campsites with shared facilities

May 17 – This is the earliest possible time international travel restrictions could be relaxed but the government has not yet made a decision.

June 21 – Vacation homes can be rented to groups of all sizes

Hotels and B & Bs will remain closed and these are expected to open from May 17th according to the current roadmap for exiting the lockdown.

In the meantime, day-trippers can visit outdoor attractions like zoos and theme parks.

But a question mark still hangs over the holidays as summer approaches.

There is still no set date for the lifting of the international travel restrictions – although we know for sure that it won’t be before May 17th.

When foreign holidays are given the green light, there is a traffic light system that sets out the rules and requirements for visiting destinations abroad.

What is the traffic light system and how will it work?

In “green” countries, passengers can travel and return home without quarantine or self-isolating.

However, you must have a negative test to return to the UK – the cheaper lateral flow tests are expected to be acceptable – and then have a PCR test within two days of your return.

The government has yet to determine which countries will be on the green list. However, it is believed that countries like Gibraltar, Malta, the Caribbean and the US could be on the green list due to their success in adopting vaccines.

In the “Amber” countries, ten days will be quarantined on days two and eight, as well as a lateral flow test to return to the country and two PCR tests.

“Red” countries mean a ten-day stay in quarantine at a managed hotel with a test before returning to the country and tests on days two and eight. Hotel quarantine currently costs £ 1,750 per person.

The cost of traveling abroad may include the cost of testing or quarantine here in the UK on departure and / or arrival and the country you are traveling to.

Should I book a vacation and can I get a refund if it’s canceled?

Whether or not you can claim a refund for a trip that you book now and that is later canceled depends on a number of factors – and you should be aware of all of these factors before making a purchase.

Check the terms and conditions before booking so you know where you stand as policies can vary widely between companies.

For holidays in the UK, which ones? says guidelines for self-catering accommodation vary, but should generally be on the vacationer’s side.

The competition authority intervened last year after some vendors refused refunds and believes that if you’ve paid money upfront for services or goods that the coronavirus pandemic has not caused you to be “generally eligible for a refund.” can be provided “.

However, this may only apply if the government is imposing lockdown restrictions – not if you need to self-isolate or receive Covid and cannot go on vacation.

It is best to check the supplier’s policy for such cancellations when booking.

The most flexible policies allow you to rebook for another time or get a refund at no extra charge.

For example, which ones? says the National Trust, which has 400 smelters, will give you your money back if you get Covid.

The consumer organization also says that for stays booked through Airbnb, it’s a matter of the individual host you book with, rather than a blanket policy across the platform. Check this before you book.

Consumer law states that airlines must give a full refund or a cash voucher if your flight is canceled.

This also applies to providers of travel packages. However, some providers offer additional flexibility to encourage bookings.

However, do not forget that there may be unknown additional costs associated with the traffic light system for travel, such as: B. Covid tests and quarantine.

Rory Boland, which one? The tour guide said: “Booking a UK vacation is less complicated and you don’t have to worry about testing costs and traffic lights, but you do need to consider the potential for national or local closures so book with a flexible policy.

“Booking with the cheapest provider is fine when things are normal, but as we’ve seen last year, it’s not. It’s not always about cheap or expensive, it’s about quality and that is one of the most important factors to consider .

“Which? Did some research on how different vendors compare, but also what customers say. Social media is good, especially Twitter because it’s public, but there are other websites too – you can quickly find out who is good.” [with flexible policies and customer service] and it’s worth five minutes of your time to save you potentially weeks and months of heartache. “

How can I protect my money?

Check how flexible your booking is, including different scenarios, e.g. For example, what happens if you cannot travel because of a lockdown, or because someone becomes sick or has to self-isolate.

Anna Sant, travel spokesperson for MoneySuperMarket, said: “Consumers can book securely with a package tour operator.

“This is a must if you want to be covered by the ATOL or ABTA schemes, which give consumers financial protection and flexibility in the event that something changes due to the pandemic.

She added, “Booking a vacation with your credit card is also recommended and is especially important if you find yourself in a situation where you are not getting the service you promised or expected.

“This means that under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act you can claim monetary value greater than £ 100 up to a value of £ 30,000.”

Travel insurance is generally a good idea for all travel plans as it can cover you for undiscovered issues like lost luggage.

Not all guidelines cover all situations related to Covid. Therefore, you need to review the policy in detail again.


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Which? says there are no policies that cover you for cancellations due to bans, and there is no guarantee of coverage if there are future bans.

Anna Sant of MoneySuperMarket said: “Not all policies are created equal so it pays to do your research to understand the benefits and safeguards. This is invaluable especially if you need emergency medical treatment overseas.

Before booking, it pays to read the latest FCDO advice for your chosen travel destination. Whether you are planning a trip to the UK or abroad this year, travel insurance is sure to save you a lot of money when you are on vacation something happens. “”

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