With any plans of a trip abroad effectively quashed this week by Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps - who said travel will depend on “everybody having their vaccinations” - you’ve probably considered cancelling your pre-booked holiday.
However, you might want to hold fire before cancelling your summer holidays just yet.
Nicky Kelvin, head of content for The Points Guy UK, says: “For now, the best advice is to sit tight. If you don’t already know, check now with the airline or company you have booked with to see if your booking is flexible or refundable. If it is, you can wait to see what happens and then be ready to cancel or rebook once you can be certain the trip won’t happen.”
Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?
Kelvin adds that if you’re booked in for a trip that isn’t flexible or refundable, then you should definitely wait to cancel.
“For most bookings, if the company cancels then you should be due a refund. This is most commonly seen with airlines where they will cancel a flight and the law requires them to issue a full refund (along with some other options like re-routing, depending on your preference),” Kelvin continues.
“On the flip side, if you decide to cancel, even if this is because you are unable to travel because of restrictions at home or abroad, this does not automatically entitle you to a refund. In these cases, it is prudent to wait until either the company cancels, travel restrictions change, or the company changes its policy regarding rebooking and/or refunds.
"If you are still stuck, you should check to see if your travel insurance will cover you if you are forced to cancel your trip.”
While many travel companies have introduced more flexible booking policies in the past year, often the only time an airline will issue a refund is if it cancels a flight or there is a very lengthy delay.
If you are dead-set on heading abroad this year, Kelvin recommends end of summer or early autumn bookings - but to make sure your booking is as flexible as it can be.
“Regardless of when you try to book for, ensure all bookings are fully refundable or flexible, ensure that you have adequate insurance and finally, only book with ATOL or ABTA protected companies (for packages) where relevant and make bookings on a credit card to ensure you a fully protected in case the company you have booked with goes bust,” he adds.
While the UK adult population isn’t expected to be completely vaccinated until autumn, booking a last-minute trip abroad could be the best way to play it this year.
“We have already seen some fantastic flight, hotel and holiday package deals over the past months, for bookings as late as the end of 2021. We are likely to see more of these offers as the world slowly starts to open up,” Kelvin says.
“However, as we saw in summer 2020, it is also likely that certain ‘safe’ hotspots where it becomes possible to travel will crop up, and prices may rise to get to these places. This could continue to be an issue until there is a critical mass of available destinations.”
Prices are also expected to rise for staycations as this could be our only option for a summer break. Luckily, we’ve already rounded up the best UK destinations to head to this summer as well as the seaside cottages to book.
Watch: Why Britons will get an extra bank holiday in 2022