The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel
Katie Butler, owner of travel agents Total Travel, answers your questions about the latest rules and advice for holidaymakers
It has been amazing to look after customers face to face, but frustrating that we unfortunately are unable to answer a lot of questions we are being asked, as we simply are waiting for the Government to announce further detailing around the traffic light system and testing. Early May is when we expect the next official travel announcement and this will include details on whether any countries will make the green list, and of course further information on test requirements.
I am due to go abroad this summer, what if my destination is deemed as amber and I am unable to self-isolate?
We do not yet know how the tour operators and airlines will play out travel to amber destinations. What we learned last year is that many holidaymakers were able to self-isolate on return from holiday, and we are not yet sure if the airlines will still fly to an amber destination. What we do expect if you have booked a package holiday and your destination country is indeed amber or red, then you will be given the option to change your holiday as it gets nearer to your departure date.
I have seen on the news that Spain want to welcome holidaymakers in the next six weeks, does this mean my summer holiday will go ahead?
Spanish tourism secretary Fernando Valdes said he wanted UK holidaymakers to “restart holidays” in six weeks. He told The Telegraph: “We are desperate to welcome you this summer. We’ve been having constant conversations with UK authorities.” However, of course just because a country is happy to have us travel on holiday, it will be down to traffic light categorisation and if the airlines will be allowed to fly.
Will there be ‘travel corridors’ again like last year?
It looks extremely likely that the re-introduction of travel corridors will resume once we are able to travel again, asked on a webinar hosted by Airlines UK and Conservative Home if the policy would be used again this year, Grant Shapps said: “The simple answer is yes, I want to do that again.” In addition travel corridors to islands with lower Covid infection rates than their country’s mainland are likely to be implemented again this summer.
So what is booking and what’s not?
Of course not without surprise, the demand for UK holidays or what we now know as ‘staycations’, is extremely high, with availability very slim for bank holiday weekends and school holidays. We are still actioning lots of date changes for overseas holidays, predominantly for late summer, winter and 2022. So many of you are hoping to get away overseas this summer, but are cautious around the costs of testing. We imagine that once flights do actually resume and destinations are categorised, that it will be very similar to last year with an influx of late bookings to places open with the least restrictions.
So, will the resumption of overseas travel really happen from May 17?
We expect you will be able to travel to some holiday destinations from this date, but of course all will be revealed once the traffic light categories are official in early May.
■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email [email protected]