Road map out of lockdown: Kirklees travel agents welcome plans but issue warning to holidaymakers
Travel agents in North Kirklees have been hanging on every word of Prime Minister Boris Johnson hoping that holidays could be back on this summer.
Last week Mr Johnson branded holidays “illegal” in lockdown which went down like a lead balloon.
But now holidays could be back on the right side of the law by summer with overnight stays in self-contained accommodation allowed from April 12 and foreign travel from May 17.
Staycations are proving popular as doubts remain over overseas travel and prices are rising, according to Jo Richards, who runs Tivoli Travel in Mirfield.
“I think the majority of people will probably book somewhere in the UK this year,” said Jo. “But they won’t get value for money, I’m afraid.
“Bookings are filling up fast and prices are high. There was a glass lodge with a hot tub in Cornwall that was £595 for four days early in the year and went to £3,500 for a week in August – and it’s full now.
“People who have cottages will take advantage of the price rises and don’t have to go through agents. The advice is don’t pay in cash, pay by credit card so you have some security if something goes wrong.”
Jo also warned against booking through strangers on Facebook. “There will be scammers out there who will take people for a ride,” she said.
Jo said flexible booking was needed with staycations as well as overseas trips in case holidays had to be cancelled.
“If people think they have more security by booking in the UK they have another think coming. They have to be very, very careful and make sure they get flexible terms.”
Jo also urged people not to wait to book a staycation. “Everybody wants to go away but if you leave it until the last minute you won’t get anything,” she added.
Cornwall and remote parts of Scotland are hotspots with cottages, log cabins and even boats proving popular.
Jo suggested the Channels Islands as a “middle ground” between a staycation and a sunshine holiday abroad.
Helen North, who runs High Ridings Travel in Birstall, said Mr Johnson’s announcement meant “light at the end of the tunnel” but she remained cautious.
“I think people will be getting excited and we will see a surge in bookings but we just have to wait and see. It’s looking positive for travel but it will be reviewed in April.”
Helen was disappointed her shop couldn’t re-open sooner, though.
“We’re still classed as non-essential even though down the road you can go and buy a Krispy Kreme donut,” she added.