Ought to I ebook a vacation in 2021?
“It’s far too early” – said Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi when asked on Sky News whether it was too early for the public to book a vacation. “Absolutely”.
His claim was supported by other government ministers and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
Interior Minister Priti Patel said: “Too many people still come and go in our country every day.”
For the rest of winter, it is highly unlikely that meaningful holidays can take place. No one resident in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland can go on vacation. Even if we could, there are many barriers that destination countries impose on incoming travelers, especially those from the UK.
The Prime Minister said the “economic and social restrictions” on the lockdown would remain in place until at least March 8, 2021.
The Federal Foreign Office is warning of non-essential international travel to almost all countries, and the quarantine remains in place so that arrivals come from abroad.
With ministers trying to erase any glimmers of hope for the summer, peak bookings have shifted significantly from the usual month of August to October.
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TIME TO TRAVEL!
INDY /GO weekly newsletter
TIME TO TRAVEL!
The sales data submitted by TravelSupermarket to The Independent shows that the normal sales pattern prevailed in the week beginning January 11, with peaks at Easter, the holiday week in late May and August, with a small increase for the half-year October.
But a week later the pattern had changed significantly. Easter sales almost collapsed. While the appetite for the holidays at the end of May is still there, August actually shows a decline – with the strongest sales for the coming year in October 2021.
Even so, there is undoubtedly an appetite for travel by frustrated vacationers. After a terrible 2020 and a bad start to 2021, many companies are selling flights, package tours and cruises from Easter 2021.
Should you book now with the vaccination program running and the light signals at the end of a very long tunnel?
These are the most important questions and answers.
I will pay more
Probably. I forecast middle class prices for bargain vacations.
Due to the low inventory the company has sold so far, Britain’s largest vacation company, Tui, says prices are a seventh higher than in 2019 – the last “normal” year.
For example, Tui’s cheapest week in Benidorm, starting August 1st for a family of four, is £ 470 per person, including flights from Luton, transfers and self-catering accommodation. Previously, this type of vacation might have cost around £ 400.
Jet2 is expanding with a new base in Bristol in 2021. A week’s vacation to the Greek island of Rhodes, including flights and accommodation at Sunlight Studios, costs £ 661 per person for a couple.
Fewer seats will fly out of the UK in 2021, not least because older gas-guzzling planes have been removed from fleets.
Low capacity means higher prices, which is what all travel agents need to get out of the huge financial hole created by coronavirus.
In addition, travel options are greatly reduced – with the number of flights from regional airports being particularly affected.
Is skiing out of the question?
European ski resorts are collectively closed to UK visitors (including many that are closed to everyone) due to fears of the new variant of the coronavirus.
For British travelers, this is currently not relevant as the lockdown is expected to last until at least March 8th.
In addition, many airlines and vacation companies have written off departures by the end of March.
EasyJet’s Gatwick-Geneva benchmark route, which departs for a week on Saturday 27 March, has seats available for £ 236.
Neilson did a week in Sauze d’Oulx and stayed at the Edelweiss Chalet Hotel for £ 595 per person including flights from Manchester on March 21st.
Easter, which is relatively early in 2021 (April 4), also offers opportunities for skiing.
What about the summer?
If you plan to travel off-peak, you probably don’t have a huge financial need yet.
The spells that booking might work for now are mid-May, probably May 22-30. It’s always popular with many families trying to avoid the high prices of the main summer vacation.
The school summer holidays are the real high pressure and high price times for families. Schools are usually closed in Scotland in late June and in Northern Ireland in early July, while in England and Wales it is expected to be on or just before Friday 23 July, with a particular high point on the weekend of 31 July and 1 December August.
The last rise of summer is the last week of August for home flights.
Back in May 2020, The Independent noted that Norwegian was offering round-trip flights from Gatwick to New York JFK for just £ 280 over Christmas and New Years, which fell on December 24th and New Years Day 2021.
That flight did not operate and Norwegian has now announced that Gatwick’s transatlantic network will be closed.
While there are some cheap transatlantic trips on offer, British travelers are still banned from the US – with no indication of when this might change.
Meanwhile, Virgin Holidays is selling a week from Manchester to Orlando on August 15 for £ 1,431 per person for flights, accommodation and rental car, although an additional resort fee of $ 13 (£ 10) per night is payable.
When do the cruises start?
Some very small cruises take place around the world and are usually limited to a single country.
Marella, Tui’s cruise line, is selling air cruises to the Canary Islands and the Eastern Mediterranean from April 5th.
Leading UK cruise company P&O will not have any departures until the end of April. In the last week of this month there will be trips from Southampton to Spain and Portugal and from Malta to France, Italy and Greece. Or you can just start with a two-day trip from Southampton to Guernsey.
Can I be sure that the journey will continue?
You can not. This is always the case with every travel booking, especially when nobody knows when airlines and holiday companies will be able to resume operations. For example, some travel agencies can fail when they run out of money.
However, all of the above offers either the Atol Package Travel Rules or Section 75 coverage when paying for flights with a credit card. Your money is not at risk.
What if the coronavirus crisis worsens, doesn’t improve and I choose not to travel?
Many travel agents have flexible booking policies, but be warned that these are limited in time and may not necessarily apply to all trips for 2021.
Helen Coffey gave a lot of useful advice on how to “future-proof” a vacation