‘Look carefully at what you are booking’: Northampton travel agents’ advice as holiday restrictions ease next week
The travel experts say it is important to understand the amendment terms of the trip and how flexible the booking is
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, so do strict rules on international travel.
However, there are still a lot of complexities surrounding jetting off on holiday in the coming weeks and months, with the Government's traffic light system for countries, testing regulations and quarantine restrictions coming into force from Monday (May 17).
So Chronicle & Echo has spoken to Northampton-based travel agents to ask what their advice is for anyone who is itching to travel or is thinking about booking a break soon.
Donna Cody, who co-owns Northampton-based Ben and Co which is a Not Just Travel franchise, is advising holiday-makers to look for flexibility, but is also optimistic that more countries will be added to the green list by July and August.
The travel agent said: “For anybody wanting to get away as soon as possible, they need to make sure they are booking with flexibility.
“If the country you’re travelling to is on the green list, it will go ahead, but if it’s on the amber list it is more confusing.
“Most companies will allow free changes if the country is on the amber list.
“If you are about to book, make sure you are aware of the amendment terms. Speak to someone and know what you are booking.
“The costs for PCR tests have also started to come down, which is a positive, but the ten days quarantine is a major issue for most people that they need to think about.
“I understand why the Government is being cautious - why throw it all away for nothing?
“But I am optimistic that by July and August Greek Islands and Canary Islands and maybe even Mainland Spain will be added to the green list.”
Despite the restrictions easing, Donna says within the travel industry, around 60 percent of bookings for this summer are UK seaside trips.
She is also advising jet-setters to look ahead to next year as she says there are some great deals to be had right now.
Fellow Northampton-based travel agent, Philippa Goodyer-Hill from Goodyer Travel, also backs the advice to make sure you are fully informed.
She said: “Our advice would be to talk to somebody. Speak to a travel advisor or use a local travel agent because it is complicated.
“We welcome that the Government is opening travel up in a cautious way, which is the right thing to do, but people need to be aware of testing and quarantine.
“If they are booking something for the summer, they need to understand how flexible the package is and we would still recommend booking package holidays at the moment.
“They also need to understand how much flexibility they have themselves if things do change.
“Look carefully at what you are booking and it is really important this year that people take advice.
“We have seen more enquiries, but people are still cautious and I think they will be until it restarts and we can see how it works.
“When people start travelling next week hopefully it will build confidence.”
For the full list of the traffic light countries, visit Gov.uk.
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