Katie Butler writes: Happy New year to you all!
This time last year I was writing this column behind closed doors.
Thankfully, as I write this week’s article our shop doors are open and we still have customers travelling overseas on holiday and visiting family.
We have had a great Christmas and enjoyed some extra time off with the way the bank holidays have fallen.
So, we are fully recharged and ready for what will hopefully be a busy start to the year.
It seems that many of you are already thinking about your holiday plans for 2022 and we are booking some fabulous holidays for the summer and 2023.
We don’t know what overseas travel will look like in 2022 but we do know that there is huge pent up demand for holidays for summer, next winter and right into 2023.
We expect that similar to last year and indeed 2020, that passenger locater forms will still be a ‘thing’ and that up-to-date vaccinations may make it easier to get in and out of countries.
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced pre-departure PCR tests for travellers returning to the UK are to be scrapped from 4am on Friday. He also said he is lifting the requirement to self-isolate on arrival in England until receiving a negative PCR test result. Instead, people can take a lateral flow test on day two – and if it's positive a further PCR test will be needed.
I really want to take a holiday in summer if I am able to. Should I wait to book?
Now is a really great time to book as there are many great deals on offer.
If you are looking at booking a summer holiday or even for 2023, we recommend that you choose a reputable travel agent, with ATOL and ABTA protection.
Someone who you can pick up the phone to, who can guide you through the important things you need to know right now about booking a well deserved holiday.
Speak to your travel provider about the flexibility of your booking.
Many operators are offering flexible booking policies and changes, so ask about this before you commit to a holiday.
If you are looking to hopefully get away this year and have not travelled overseas in the last two years, have you checked your passport?
New rules came into play following Brexit.
Check your passport if you are travelling to Europe as additional months that were added if you renewed early are no longer valid for Europe.
Your passport must also be less than ten years old on the day after you leave.
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over ten years may not count towards the minimum period needed.
The requirement from most European countries is to have at least three months left on your passport on the day after you leave, and most long haul destinations ask for six months.
We look forward to seeing you all this year.
We hope that once the Omicron variant is under control we can start to see restrictions lifted once again, as they were last summer.
This week Germany lifted the blanket ban on UK travellers, let’s hope this is an early sign of better times to come.
■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]