Holidays: How to ‘protect’ 2022 travel bookings from sudden Covid cancellations | Travel News | To travel

A quarter (27%) of UK adults plan to go on holiday in 2022 more than in previous years, according to new research from hospitality industry experts from Mews. A fifth said they were planning long-haul holidays, while a third planned to take more holidays in the UK. However, following the surge in Covid cases following the Omicron variant, it is clear that the uncertainty of the pandemic is not completely behind us.

For those planning the vacation, this uncertainty could come at an unwanted cost.

That’s why it’s essential for those looking to book to protect their travel plans, but how exactly can you do that?

Make sure you have the right travel insurance coverage

Perhaps the most important part of booking a trip, even before the coronavirus takes hold, is getting the right travel insurance.

Antony Martin, managing director of Insurefor.com, told Express.co.uk: “The right insurance cover will ensure they are fully protected before their trip and thus avoid any financial loss.”

Although travel insurance covers everything from delayed flights to lost luggage, in the age of COVID-19, it’s arguably more important than ever.

Tim Riley, Managing Director of True Traveler, said: “There are two separate issues here. The first is canceling because you caught COVID, and the second is canceling because there is a travel restriction imposed in an area preventing you from traveling there.

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If you or a family member catches coronavirus before you travel, it’s essential that you check the fine print on your insurance policy.

Mr Riley told Express.co.uk: “Most travel insurers, including True Traveller, offer cancellation cover if you contract COVID before you travel. There is no obligation for travel agencies or airlines to offer flexible cancellation or change fees for any type of illness or injury, so this is one of the reasons why the Travel insurance is pretty much essential when traveling. If you’re not sure your travel insurance will cover COVID, ask them.

If a travel restriction, such as a notice from the Department of Foreign Affairs, prevents you from traveling, it is in the hands of your tour operator.

Mr Riley added: ‘The tour operator or airline must offer you a full refund or provide a free date change. This is the law under the Package Travel Regulations.

“However, if you are your own travel agent and, for example, you have booked your flights directly with an airline and your accommodation directly with the hotel, your airline will reimburse you, but your hotel cannot not, nor is it obligated to do so.

“That’s why, in these uncertain times, booking a package through a travel agent is the most sensible thing to do.”

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Look for a “pledge of protection”

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a wave of sudden holiday cancellations saw airlines, hotels and tour operators inundated with customer complaints.

Since then, many services in the travel and tourism industry have introduced “pledges of protection” that guarantee refunds or rebooking options in the event of unexpected cancellations.

Paul Melinis, managing director of river cruise and sightseeing tour specialist APT, told Express.co.uk: “For peace of mind against cancellations, booking in advance with a reputable operator who has flexible policies in place makes advance reservations risk-free. “

Managing Director of Elegant Resorts, Lisa Fitzell, added: “Travel advice is constantly changing at the moment and with a high number of Covid cases occurring here and around the world, flexibility is key.

“Very early in the pandemic, we introduced the elegant promise offering low deposits and the flexibility to change hotels up to protection against departures and cancellations if an important government advice changes so that customers can book their holidays in knowing that their reservations and money are protected.”

Getting a date on the calendar can also be crucial when it comes to saving money.

Mr Riley said: “Holiday and flight prices are currently very low, and as demand is weak, airlines and tour operators are still keeping prices low to encourage demand.

“Now is the perfect time to book, and after two years of uncertainty, there is huge pent-up demand, so prices will go up, and there will be little chance of last-minute discounts.”

He also points to airlines retiring older planes, such as British Airways which retired its entire 747 fleet, adding: “There is literally less capacity.”

However, when booking a trip, it is essential that you take out insurance at the same time to ensure full protection in the event of a sudden drop in circumstances.

About John McTaggart

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