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We all recognise that times have changed over the last six months and it now seems widely accepted that things will be different for quite some time to come. With these changes in mind, it is important for us all to think through our holiday choices before we rush out and make a purchase that could set us back a few thousand pounds.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a holiday destination in the age of coronavirus -
Check the Government Travel Requirements
It's always been standard practice to check Government advice when you are planning to travel far afield but nowadays it is not just visas and vaccinations that you need to check. You also need to familiarise yourself with what our Government are saying if you visit one of our neighbouring countries such as France or Belgium. Will you have to self-isolate on return to the UK? Are there specific virus hot spots that you should avoid? Or even is the Government recommending you don't travel to specific countries? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration.
Check you're Protected
Booking a package holiday will give you the greatest protection if the holiday can't go ahead or if a travel operator goes out of business, so this is a good option for those who don't mind paying a bit more and are risk-averse. However, if you are happy to do your own research and want a better value holiday with an affordable hotel and bargain flight then it can save you money to book each element of the holiday separately. If you do this, make sure you use your credit card, so you have some purchase protection from your card issuer.
There is always the chance that you or one of your party will fall ill with COVID-19 at the time you are due to travel, so before you book check your travel insurance to see how you are covered for this and also investigate the terms and conditions for the companies you are booking with.
Do your Resort/ Destination Research
You want to make sure that where you are booking has everything you want, so use the internet to do your research. Don't make any assumptions, but check out that the hotel, attraction or restaurant you are planning to visit has precautions in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and importantly, you want to feel sure that you will still enjoy going there.
Book Outside the Peak Periods
School holidays and national holidays like Christmas are the busiest times for travel, so for the sake of being able to maintain good social distancing and to feel safe, it would be sensible to book for quieter weeks.
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Consider Self-catering Accommodation
If you want to get away but are not ready to be around lot's of people, consider taking a villa or booking for a self-catered let. This way you can enjoy your own space and are free to suit yourselves in regards to food and mealtimes. With a villa, you'll normally have some private or shared space outside and can enjoy BBQ's and Al Fresco eating, without trying to fight the crowds for an all-inclusive buffet.
Then once you have chosen and booked your holiday, make sure you pack all those little extras that we need right now. I'm sure you'll remember sanitiser, anti-bacterial wipes, masks and tissues, but take a few items that you might not have thought about like a pen, a basic first aid kit and some snacks.
Don't bother changing up too much currency either, as most places want you to pay contactless with a card nowadays.
And if you've given thought to all these considerations then I'd say book where your heart desires. This virus is part of our lives right now and many are saying being mindful of it, is the new normal. Most people only get one really good holiday a year so you want to enjoy it and not be worrying too much.
Happy holidays friends!